You would think that a show taking place entirely on a train would run out of places to go in pretty short order, but Snowpiercer has proven us wrong again and again in that respect. The TNT series about a great ark on rails gliding through the frozen wasteland of Earth spent its entire first season expanding on the inner-workings of its post-apocalyptic society and the many conflicts within that society, all buidling to a massive, revolutionary clash that seemed set to change the train forever. Then, just as a new power structure was beginning to take hold, Snowpiercer surprised us yet again with the reveal of a second train, and the arrival of the mysterious and charismatic tycoon behind Snowpiercer, Mr. Wilford (Sean Bean).
Ahead of Season 2's arrival, and the conflicts it will inevitably bring, the Snowpiercer cast assembled at New York Comic Con Thursday for a virtual panel teasing what's to come now that there are two trains, a new villain, and many more complications. Showrunner Graeme Manson was joined by returning stars Jennifer Connelly and Daveed Diggs, newcomers Sean Bean and Rowan Blanchard, and moderator J.D. Heyman of Entertainment Weekly to talk about what's to come, and to drop the reveal of the first teaser footage from Season 2.
Check it out:
In the teaser above, we get a better glimpse of the arrival of Wilford on Snowpiercer after cutting through the back of the train at the end of Season 1. Clad in a beautiful suit and sporting a cane, Wilford promises he has come to right a "reprehensible wrong" and retake the Eternal Engine. Layton (Diggs), of course, stands in opposition to him in the wake of winning his own revolution in Season 1, but both men can agree on one thing: The Revolution has just begun.
In discussing his character during the panel, Bean painted a picture of a truly dangerous new player on the train, someone who's willing to push things as far as he needs to in order to achieve his ends.
"He's quite charming, but he's not a very nice man, if you have to live with him or be in his presence," Bean said. "He's a bit of a psychopath. I guess they're quite charming, but they're backstabbers. He's that kind of character, and he's not afraid of kind of displaying his cruelty because he thinks that's clever and it's for the greater good."
But Wilford isn't the only new cast member we'll meet in Season 2. As the Season 1 finale revealed, we'll also get to know Alexandra Cavill (Blanchard), the long-lost daughter of Melanie (Connelly), who's grown up under Wilford's wing.
"It fascinated me that she has always been like an adult her whole life, but there's still this need because of so much stuff that wasn't nurtured around her during her youth, for her mom, and this calling for her mom even though she has a lot of resentment towards her as well," Blanchard said. "The first scenes were kind of intense, but I think that Alex also wanted to be taken very seriously the second she encountered these other people who have kind of had a nicer life than her."
As Manson told SYFY WIRE in an interview earlier this week, Snowpiercer Season 2 is setting up a "battle of wills" of sorts between Layton and his reorganized train society and Wilford, who both Manson and Bean describe as an authoritarian figure with no qualms about imposing his will. For Diggs, reflecting on the topical nature of the show, it's a chance to really explore certain key questions even more in the show's second year.
"I think what the show's revealed itself to be is a piece about a society that is constantly reinventing itself," Diggs said. "The people have to constantly reassess how they govern themselves based on necessity, based on actual survival, and reinvent that over and over again. And the things it brings to light are: 'What is this idea of democracy? How does that function during crisis? How much stock do you want to put in our leaders? In what way is our underground economy valuable for different kinds of systems?' There's a whole bunch of systems analysis going on, which is not really what you think of so much in your sci-fi, but it's in there, and I find that stuff really fascinating, and I think useful just to get to watch, to watch people grappling with that in a real human way."
For Connelly, reflecting on Melanie's major shift as a character over the course of Season 1, things got even more timely in Season 2 in a way that hits especially hard in this moment in history.
"I think that [Melanie's change] reveals kind of the ideals that she actually believes in that she had given up on, to tell you the truth," Connelly said. "And you see in Season 2, for example, there's an argument between her and Wilford. I won't give too much away, but she's having an argument with him. He is fighting for order and she is fighting for science, which also feels really timely in a way that I hadn't thought of when we were filming it."
Snowpiercer returns Jan. 25 on TNT.
Click here for SYFY WIRE's full coverage of New York Comic Con Metaverse 2020.