'Snowpiercer' on TNT: How the TV Spin-Off Differs from the Bong Joon-ho Movie

TNT will the first episode of its long-anticipated Snowpiercer spin-off on May 17, when the show will premiere at 9 p.m. EDT. This comes seven years after the original movie, directed by recent Oscar winner Boon Jong-Ho, first came to cinemas and slowly became a cult movie.

The TNT version of the story, which is set on a train traveling a dystopian world ravaged by an ice age, however, features some major differences from the movie. For one, the new series focuses on a new set of characters, replacing people like Chris Evans' revolution leader Curtis Everett, Song Kang-ho's security features designer Namgoong Minsoo and Tilda Swinton's imperious Minister Mason.

In the TNT Snowpiercer, Hamilton star Daveed Diggs leads the cast as former homicide detective Layton Well, while Requiem for a Dream actor Jennifer Connelly plays voice of the train Melanie Cavill. Also starring in the TV version are Frances Ha's Mickey Sumner, Ouija's Annalise Basso and Red Sparrow's Sasha Frolova.

snowpiercer tnt
Daveed Diggs and Jennifer Connelly in the TV version of 'Snowpiercer' TNT

The changes in cast are not the only changes in the TV version. Series star Benjamin Charles Watson told Digital Spy the new version is "going to be a bit darker and grittier," while child star Jaylin Fletcher said in a Radio Times interview: "The TV show has its own storyline, and it has some pretty good surprises!"

Diggs said of the differences to Variety: "That's the big difference between the TV show and the film. In TV you have so much more space to explore this thing."

Initially, the show also seems to be going in a different direction, with the early episodes setting off the possibility that there is a serial killer on the train. Diggs said: "So one of the bits of misdirection in the show is that it's a murder mystery: That is the inciting incident, but it ends up being a show that is a lot more about the politics of scarcity and how does this society function with limited resources; what are the complications of class in that setting?

"Certainly in those first few episodes I'm solving a murder, but what I end up getting embroiled in is a revolution, and the ramifications are so much bigger. "

Early reviewers have also noted a number of key differences. A Polygon review noted, "the show is... more heavy-handed with its allusions to real-world class struggles than the film version." In an AV Club review, we learned that the TV show will go into more detail about what happened to the world that caused the passengers to head to the train.

One thing that the two versions of Snowpiercer share, however, is a troubled production history. The TV version has taken five years to make it to the screen, and has seen two showrunners, networks and pilots in that time. The original movie also had its own troubles, with director Bong coming into conflict with Harvey Weinstein so much that the disgraced producer buried the movie after editing it heavily.

Snowpiercer premieres on May 17 at 9 p.m. on TNT.