After a long, embattled early life, the TV adaptation of Snowpiercer is finally real enough to have a panel at San Diego Comic-Con and an actual trailer that you can see. Without getting too deep in the weeds, let Vulture deliver a professional assessment of this first footage: Snowpiercer looks pretty goddamn cool. The series is based on a French graphic novel by Jacques Lob and Jean-Marc Rochette, and was previously adapted by South Korean director Bong Joon-ho into a feature film. It focuses on the last remaining refuge for humanity, which comes in the form of a train that speeds around the world so as not to freeze in place — a constant threat from the new Ice Age that has swallowed the world and killed nearly everyone in it.
In the series, Daveed Diggs plays Andrew Layton, a member of the steerage class who are confined to the tail of the train. But because of his experience as a detective before the world froze over, Layton is allowed special permissions to access other cars — which, in this world, means other tiers of the train’s caste system. Jennifer Connelly co-stars as Melanie Cavill, the icy and mysterious head of hospitality who, by the looks of the trailer, wears an array of fabulous looks and gives ominously calm-voiced updates to all the passengers. At today’s panel they were joined my castmates Alison Wright, Lena Hall, Mickey Sumner, and Steven Ogg. Also with them was showrunner Graeme Manson, a name familiar to fans of Orphan Black. (Manson was not originally attached to Snowpiercer when it got green lit, and his takeover for original writer Josh Friedman was a source of some very public drama.)
In addressing how the new series treatment will differ from the acclaimed film by director Bong, Manson said where the movie was a Raid-style linear march from the tail of the trail to the front engine, the series will be able to jump around the rail-bound ark, spending time with characters in each of the compartments so audiences can see how everyone lives. (The joys of long-form storytelling!) He also described the role of the graphic-novel text as “a place we can go for great ideas.” In that original iteration of the story, Snowpiercer made stops and people occasionally disembarked from the train, expanding the world. Manson said that would be an option for the series as the run goes on, and we know it will, because TBS has already renewed it for a second season, despite the first episode not premiering until next spring.
Based on the trailer and another exclusive first look at some footage for SDCC, here are a few things you can expect from Snowpiercer. There will be blood. There will be close-quarters combat. There will be class warfare. There will be musical numbers courtesy of Lena Hall’s character (the madam of a brothel). There will be avalanches. There will be constant threats to the survival of the human race, which really is sitting on the razor’s edge of oblivion all of the time, and yes, before you ask: There will be hot hookups. Sounds like a wild ride!