12 Monkeys Panel at SDCC: Love, death, and the rabbit hole of time

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12 Monkeys, SyFy Channel’s time-travel drama based on the 1995 movie of the same name, had a strong beginning in season 1, and is now revving up for season 2. Co-creators Terry Matalas and Travis Fickett, and stars Aaron Stanford, Amanda Schull, Barbara Sukowa, Emily Hampshire, Kirk Acevedo, and Todd Stashwick were on-hand at SDCC to tease what’s to come in the new season. Here are some highlights and spoilers from the panel:

“Insanity plays a big role in season 2. People we think are insane may not be,” Matalas told fans. [x] The series has dealt a lot with mental health already – we first meet Emily Hampshire’s character, Jennifer Goines, in a mental hospital. James Cole (Aaron Stanford) also starts the series coming across as someone who could be delusional. Both characters suffer from trauma and mental health issues, but aren’t delusional – they’re right about the virus that gets unleashed on humanity in the future. Season 2 seems poised to continue exploring these themes. There’s also an effect on Cole, mentally and physically, from “splintering” (time travel jumps). “Cole becomes more damaged and loses a piece of himself every time he time travels,” Aaron Stanford explained. [x] The series explores the dilemma between protecting the good of the many vs. saving the few – and explores whether it’s possible to help both. Aaron Stanford said that Cole “is a different man,” when season 2 begins. “He made his choice at the end of Season 1.” [x]

Doing a TV version of a well-known movie can be challenging. The 12 Monkeys team seems to have captured what was intriguing about the original film, while putting their own mark on the characters and story. “We couldn’t do the Terry Gilliam aesthetic. We needed to step out onto our own,” said Matalas. [x] Fickett said that he and Matalas made Season 1 “as if we might never get to make another frame of television.” He added that season 2 will be “more emotional” than Season 1. [x] [x]

Hampshire talked about relishing the versatility of portraying Jennifer as the show jumps from time period to time period. “I get to play a different Jennifer Goines in every episode.” [x] She’ll play “a big role in S2,” Matalas said. “She’s going to release the virus.” [x]

11224334_1593377700932608_5046728728072363228_nThere will be more facets of Dr. Cassie Railly as well. In Season 2, Cassie will be able to time-travel, and we’ll see a future version of her. [x] “That’s going to be a big part of the show now,” Fickett added. [x] Matalas also teased that “We’re gonna go further back and this time Cole may not be traveling…alone.” [x]

Kirk Acevedo will also be back as José Ramse, and the friendship between Cole and Ramse will be tense but will endure.”It’s complicated. But they won’t quit each other.” [x]. The actor hinted that Ramse and Cole will both be naked at some point in season 2. [x]

We’ll see Deacon, played by Todd Stashwick, again. Stashwick said the producers told him to think of “a sociopathic Han Solo” for Deacon in season 2.  [x]

In casting news, Barbara Sukowa, who plays Dr. Katarina Jones, has been upped to series regular, and Michael Hogan (Battlestar Galactica) has joined the cast. The producers were coy about details on the character. [x] [x]

Sukowa said she enjoys the mysteries of the time-travel aspect, but it can also be confusing. “Circling the rabbit hole of time is very dangerous, I have my own theories.” [x]

Matalas and Fickett already know what the final scene of the series will be – and it will make audiences cry. [x]

What is 12 Monkeys about, ultimately? “Death,” said Fickett. “Love,” said Matalas. [x]

Check out the new promo for 12 Monkeys from SyFy Channel here:

Excited about the new season? Got any time-travel theories? Feel free to share in the comments.

Author: Dot R

Dot has been bouncing around various fandoms for many years now writing essays, episode reviews, commentary, and reporting news and conducting interviews, among other things. Along with being a Marvel, DC, Star Wars, and Supernatural fangirl, she’s also a fan of fantasy and science fiction television shows, everything from Farscape to Killjoys to 12 Monkeys to X-Files to Wynonna Earp. Currently Fangirl at Large covering numerous geek culture related topics, convention news, casting spoilers, show news, and interviews.

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