12 Monkeys is an adaptation of the original 1995 film, Twelve Monkeys, starring Brad Pitt, Bruce Willis, and Madeleine, but, even so, the show’s first season was spent setting up new worlds, new theories on time travel, and new versions of the familiar characters.
Now, series showrunner Terry Matalas is looking forward to playing in those worlds that were created in season 1 of 12 Monkeys, as are series stars Amanda Schull and Aaron Stanford.
The Stakes Are Higher As 12 Monkeys Resumes, Says Showrunner
Terry Matalas, Amanda Schull, and Aaron Stanford came together for a round table interview in which the stars and showrunner teased an exciting new season, very much unlike what fans experienced with season 1 of 12 Monkeys. In fact, Matalas says the first season will seem like a prequel season, as the story arcs for the second installment begin to unfold. In fact, Terry suggests the rules of time travel have been changed for the newer episodes, enabling the 12 Monkeys writers to create unexpected situations and twists that will drive an even more compelling tale.
“It’s all about good storytelling. If you’re confusing viewers, you’re not telling the story well. It is a thinking show, and not the kind of show you can do your laundry while watching,” says the 12 Monkeys showrunner. “There is that conceit, but you have to, when constructing it, it’s about making emotional sense of your characters. Are the stakes reflecting on the drama of the character’s choices? Then the time-twisty puzzles are the cherries on top. There’s the ability to do any number of kinds of stories, and that’s what’s so great.”
Amanda Schull, who plays Cassie Railly, says the setting and time periods are a part of a bigger evolution, particularly for her character. As she begins to travel through time herself, Schull says her 12 Monkeys character must adjust to the changing realities. As she experiences Cole’s world for the first time, she starts out wholly unprepared, but adjusts quickly in order to survive.
Displaying an almost a completely opposite personality from that of Cassie, Aaron Stanford’s 12 Monkeys character, James Cole, started out as a tough as nails, emotionless killer, but his journeys throughout the first year of 12 Monkeys have helped him to evolve into a more thoughtful and more caring person. Stanford says Cassie has had a positive effect on him and that Cole is beginning to understand that there are sometimes better ways to accomplish a goal than blunt force.
“The big turning point for him is, at the end of Season 1, he makes the choice to save a life, Ramse’s, instead of taking another life,” says the 12 Monkeys star. “And he finds that is the one thing he’s done that has really made any difference. So, he’s come around to a whole new way of thinking, and that’s where you find him at the beginning of Season 2.”
12 Monkeys Expands Its Scope
Again, it was Matalas that reveals the really juicy bits about season 2 of 12 Monkeys, telling fans that the next installment will see Cole and Cassie traveling back and forth in a 100 year time span. This time span begins with 2043, when a deadly virus obliterates 93.6 percent of the world’s population, and reaches as far back as 1943, so that’s a pretty big period to explore.
“These different time periods are a really great place to explore these characters emotionally,” said Matalas.
The 12 Monkeys executive producer also suggested there might be some softer moments between Cole and Cassie by suggesting that the disco era will be “a very romantic place to be”.
“The core of the show is really the relationship between these characters and the romance,” adds 12 Monkeys‘ Matalas.
Writing for 12 Monkeys is possibly more difficult than writing on any other show. Terry says that the writing process on the show includes being wary of what’s already been written and taking care not to run into oneself, due to the time travel elements in 12 Monkeys.
The season 2 premiere of 12 Monkeys is set to air on Monday, April 25 on Syfy.
[Image by Syfy]