Based on Dan Simmons' titular novel, which in turn is based on the real-life disappearance of the crew of the HMS Erebus and HMS Terror while they tried to find the elusive Northwest Passage in the mid-1840s, the 10-episode series features a pretty stellar cast.
Jared Harris plays Captain Francis Crozier and he's joined by Tobias Menzies as Captain James Fitzjames, Ciarán Hinds as Sir John Franklin, Paul Ready as Dr. Henry Goodsir, Adam Nagaitis as Cornelius Hickey, Nive Nielsen as Lady Silence, Ian Hart as Thomas Blanky and Trystan Gravelle as Henry Collins.
SYFY WIRE's Tara Bennett sat down with Harris and Menzies to chat about the upcoming series during which both actors opened up about their characters, the show's themes and what to expect from The Terror and its quasi-elusive monster.
"One of the themes of the whole series is the hubris, the imperialism idea that they could go out and conquer the whole planet, the whole world. One of the things that they did from the offset that [doomed] the whole thing to failure was they thought they were going to discover it and they wanted it to be an Englishman who discovered it. So they crewed the ships up with English people who were largely inexperienced and had no idea of the circumstances that they were going to be in," Harris said before delving into Crozier's heavy problems with alcohol.
Menzies then spoke about playing a character like FitzJames, who starts off with a bit of hubris but quickly loses his cool as the series progresses, and how he starts off as Crozier's complete opposite.
"In a way, I'm a sort of mirror image of the Crozier character — we sort of start on opposite ends," Menzies told us. "He's a naval hero that's a product of… early Victorian. He's also gained all the fruits of the Navy compared to someone like Crozier, who's been overlooked. I've had huge sorts of advancements and so we are inclined to dislike each other at the start of the story. FitzJames' journey there, in this place, in the Arctic which — in a way for all the characters — strips away the façade and everyone finds out what's underneath that."
About the "monster" of the series, Harris teased, "What was most interesting was to honor the Inuit culture about it. They're not even supposed to say the name of it and we aren't supposed to know about it. It's such a sacred thing and it's so dangerous."
As per usual, there's much more to unfold in our exclusive interview, so set sail!
Additional material by Nathalie Caron.