Screenshot from Snowpiercer television series
Jennifer Connelly plays a big role in the TV adaption of "Snowpiercer." (Image via Google Images)

‘Snowpiercer’ TV Adaptation Will Build on the World of the Bong Joon-ho Film

The TNT adaptation will possibly build on the themes of climate catastrophe and class warfare seen in the original.

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Screenshot from Snowpiercer television series

The TNT adaptation will possibly build on the themes of climate catastrophe and class warfare seen in the original.

Although TNT may not exactly be one of the first networks to come to mind when thinking of memorable, original series, that could possibly change this summer with the channel’s upcoming dystopian thriller series, “Snowpiercer.” The show will be a reboot of the 2013 film of the same name that is based on the 1982 French graphic novel “Le Transperceneige.”

The premise of the story revolves around a post-apocalyptic new ice age where the last of Earth’s survivors inhabit a constantly moving train that is separated by class — with the wealthy and elite occupying the front cars while the lower class are forced to struggle in the back compartments. The show will be expected to explore themes such as class warfare and survival of the fittest the same way its predecessors did.

Parasite” director Bong Joon-ho — who was at the helm of the aforementioned film — will be coming aboard as one of the executive producers. The show will star Daveed Diggs and Jennifer Connelly, among others, in a rebooted narrative set on the train that starts years after the entire world becomes a frozen wasteland.

Seeing as this new adaptation will be a television series, there will be a chance to explore different characters the way the Snowpiercer film was not able to do, by adding layers that were not previously seen. The movie itself focused less on world-building and more on the individual storylines, such as the protagonist, Curtis Everett  — the leader of a revolution that has the tail passengers make an attempt to take over the train — and the different obstacles he and his followers go through. This includes facing eccentric, better-off antagonists such as the sadistic Minister Mason (played by “We Need to Talk About Kevin” actor Tilda Swinton) and creator of the train, Wilford (played by Ed Harris of “Apollo 13” and “The Truman Show”).

The show will have its own stellar cast at hand that will include “Hamilton” actor Diggs as one of the struggling members in the tail end. Connelly (known best for her performance in “A Beautiful Mind”) will also play a major role as an antagonist akin to Swinton’s, where she will be the voice for the train that does whatever it takes to keep everyone in line by any means necessary.

What might also be a great change for the plot is its possible pacing. Where 2013’s “Snowpiercer” was full of action that drove the majority of the film (as well as the characters), the television series has the chance to place more focus on character development and an exploration of the themes that help show how the world came to be.

If given the chance, it will be able to let viewers observe each character from each train car, allowing them to take a more in-depth look at the passengers and having the viewer wonder which ones are worthy of sympathy and which ones need to be taught a lesson or two. If there are plans of an uprising from the poor passengers, that might not be the main premise this time. At least not right away if the series really wishes to dive more into the world the film had introduced to audience members.

The themes will also have the chance to be better analyzed. Class warfare will still be centered in the series as the separation of passengers in different train cars is what sets the plot in motion. Violence is also to be expected as it helps show how desperate people can become if pushed too far and how it keeps certain people in power. What can be studied more, however, are the themes that involve nature and humankind’s attempts to use technology to combat global warming. Natural processes can also be seen as a form of symbolism for the way the “natural” balance of the train is tested throughout. 

As said before, the director of the “Snowpiercer” film, Bong Joon-ho, will be contributing to this reboot as an executive producer. It may not be directing, but he can still have a say on how the show. Bong can continue to explore the differences between classes and the politics of survival the way he had in the film adaptation and his 2019 thriller, “Parasite.”

There can still be the chance for fans of his work to see this along with his knack for experimenting with tone shifts between dark drama and black comedy. What could be a fresh take, however, is the politics that is mostly hinted at in the film that can be explored in much more depth as the series also lets viewers study the (literal and figurative) mechanics of the train and other small details that help create this world. Which can also lead to themes that discuss the importance of climate change and the effects of global warming the way the film had not been able to do.

The “Snowpiercer” television adaptation is set to air on TNT on May 17 with two seasons already ordered. It will also eventually be available to stream on Netflix for worldwide distribution.

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