When the second season of Snowpiercer begins, it will be a literal collision of cultures as the train and Big Alice continue their course together.
As the cast and producer of the series explained during their New York Comic Con Metaverse panel on Thursday, Season 2 will represent the clash of two cultures: the growing democracy aboard Snowpiercer and the more authoritarian regime of Big Alice. “We decided early on that the end of Season One would be the appearance of a second train,” executive producer and showrunner Graeme Manson explained. “It gave us the opportunity to build up the myth of Wilford.” While the character was a front Melanie (Jennifer Connelly) used to maintain order on her train, Sean Bean joins the series as the bonafide Mr. Wilford. But thanks to the series lengthy production, Bean was cast for Season 2 before the show ever aired and was able to lend his voice to Wilford whenever Melanie needed to make an announcement as her alleged boss.
“He has a lot of anger,” Bean said. “He’s quite charming, but he’s not a very nice man.” As it happens, he also feels betrayed by Melanie, which means Big Alice‘s invasion of Snowpiercer is just as personal as it pragmatic.
Rowan Blanchard joins as Alexandra Cavill, a member of Wilford’s coterie with a key connection to one of the show’s leads. “It fascinated me that she has been an adult her whole life, but there’s been this need for her mom even though she has a lot of resentment toward her,” Blanchard said. That mother happens to be Melanie, which means a whole new level of problems as the two trains clash.
Nevertheless, Wilford and Big Alice‘s arrival may not be the calamity it would’ve been had it happen earlier. As Connelly put it, the events of the first season may have prepared for this fight. “We meet her in Season Two and she’s her true self, doing what she knows how to do best.” She also suggested her new circumstances will reflect a belief system she thought she set aside to run the train.
For, Layton (Daveed Diggs), Season 2 represents a big change as his attempts to save humanity newly colors his understanding of life on Snowpiercer. In the early parts of the new season, he comes to understand Melanie’s choices and even “respects” her in some fashion. “She’s the only person who can hold this thing together,” Diggs said with a laugh. Meanwhile, his attempts to set up a more democratic system on the train will run headlong into Wilford’s own plans.
“[In] Season Two, Layton is given the chance to create a democracy … and then Wilfrid’s train arrives,” said Manson. “It’s the very timely examination of authoritarianism coming up against a fledgling democracy and it puts Layton and Melanie on the same page. It’s a nice change to their relationship.” It also fulfills an idea he had from his first day on the series: to see the lead characters switch roles.
Snowpiercer returns January 25th on TNT.