AutoMatters & More: ‘Snowpiercer’: A Wild Train Ride on TNT!

A Snowpiercer graphic novel
A Snowpiercer graphic novel
(Jan Wagner)

Get ready for a wild ride when “Snowpiercer” premieres as an eagerly anticipated, high-budget television series on TNT. The “Snowpiercer” franchise also includes several critically-acclaimed French graphic novels and the Bong Joon Ho feature film masterpiece (“If the engine stops running … we all freeze and die!”).

Here is a link to the official teaser:

“Snowpiercer” is set on a unique, 1001 car train that that was built to provide an entirely self-contained, long-term place to live. Its construction was necessitated by mankind’s failed attempt to correct climate change. Earth had thus become an absolutely uninhabitable, frozen wasteland of ice and snow (minus 119 degrees Celsius!). Snowpiercer perpetually circumnavigates Earth as it transports its passengers – the last survivors of humankind. As the series begins, the passengers have been on Snowpiercer for seven long years.

The Snowpiercer timeline
The Snowpiercer timeline
(Jan Wagner)

The passengers of Snowpiercer represent a microcosm of society, pushed to their limits and beyond by their never-ending close confinement, limited resources and a class structure that is far from equitable. Their three guiding ideals are “work, honor and order.” Themes include class warfare, social injustice and the politics of survival.

The stellar cast of “Snowpiercer” includes Oscar winner Jennifer Connelly, Tony Award winner Daveed Diggs, Emmy nominee Alison Wright, and Tony Award winner and Grammy nominee Lena Hall.

We learn from TNT’s description of their characters that “Melanie Cavill (Jennifer Connelly) is Snowpiercer’s formidable Head of Hospitality, wielding political power and access to the very top. But Melanie is haunted by her secrets, and morality has become a moving target. In the fragile balance of survival, she makes hard decisions and struggles with doing terrible things—even for the right reasons.”

Daveed Diggs and Sheila Vand
Daveed Diggs and Sheila Vand

(Justina Mintz / TNT)

“Andre Layton (Daveed Diggs) has spent almost seven years locked in the train’s ‘Tail,’ a leader to his people and a revolutionary to the core.”

“Ruth Wardle (Alison Wright) is Melanie’s fastidious right hand in Hospitality. Fanatically loyal, she’s a dedicated enforcer of the Order that defines class on Snowpiercer.”

“Miss Audrey (Lena Hall) is the alluring, deeply intuitive madame of the Nightcar, the train’s cabaret and brothel.”

We can gain further insight into “Snowpiercer” from watching the series’ panel at San Diego Comic-Con 2019 – a panel that included the series’ creator and several of its cast members:

During that panel, Mickey Sumner said that her “dream job” is her role as Brakeman Tess, a member of the train’s police force, “because I got to be super physical. They trained us so amazingly well. It was just so fun. I got to box and I used an axe! I’m really quite lethal with an axe now!”

Executive Producer/Showrunner Graeme Manson explained this by saying “one of the things about Snowpiercer is there are no guns, or there are very few guns on Snowpiercer, so all the fighting is really hand-to-hand and really claustrophobic because you’re on a train … so there’s a lot of fighting.”

Daveed Diggs added: “There are days when it was just like I cannot kill somebody else today. It wears on your soul after a while, killing that many people with your bare hands.”

Alison Wright and Jennifer Connelly
Alison Wright and Jennifer Connelly
( Justina Mintz / TNT)

The sets, computer generated effects and practical effects combine to provide a very real and intense sense of actually being in a moving train. According to Graeme: “This is a very technically challenging show. There’s a lot of great CG. It’s really top notch.
“Our sets are really quite amazing. We can link five train cars up together and you can walk all the way down. (We) had to (remove) a whole wall in the studio so that (the) five train cars can have the length.
“The train cars were all jostling because there (are) big grips shaking the cars. These guys (the characters) are trying to walk, and everybody’s doing this (demonstrates moving side-to-side) as they’re walking down the train. You can actually bend the tail too, (with) some guys on a forklift pushing it this way and that way, so if you look down the thing you can see, like when you’re riding on those long subways.” It is as if the train is actually going around curves in the track.

“Snowpiercer” premieres on TNT at 9 p.m., May 17. To see the official trailer, go to:


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Copyright © 2020 by Jan Wagner – AutoMatters & More #641