8:00 am EST, July 21, 2018

SDCC: Humanity is its own undoing on FOX’s ‘The Passage’

By Selina Wilken | Edited by Stefanie Lis

Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Henry Ian Cusick, Saniyya Sidney and more promote new FOX show The Passage at SDCC 2018.

The Passage on FOX tracks the end of the world as we know it, as a genetically engineered vampire-virus spreads through the human population.

One 10-year-old girl, Amy Bellafonte, holds the key to humanity’s survival, even as the infected begin to experience mysterious side-effects from the disease.

The series is based on the book of the same name by Justin Cronin, which begins with the discovery of the virus and ends far into the post-apocalyptic future. Whether The Passage ends up chronicling the same amount of time of course remains to be seen!

At San Diego Comic-Con 2018, Hypable spoke to the cast and crew of The Passage, and attended the main panel moderated by Sarah Rodman.

In this video, showrunner/EP Liz Heldens and director/EP Jason Ensler talk about their approach to adapting Justin Cronin’s novel and how their supernatural creatures stand apart:

Actors Jamie McShane and Henry Ian Cusick discuss their characters’ relationship and how The Passage compares to The 100:

And finally, Mark-Paul Gosselaar talks about his love of Justin Cronin’s original novel, and Saniyya Sidney introduces her character Amy:

Read on for a recap of The Passage panel at SDCC:

Everything we learned about ‘The Passage’ at SDCC 2018

The Passage pilot screened ahead of the short panel featuring cast members Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Saniyya Sidney, Henry Ian Cusick and Jamie McShane, along with showrunner Liz Heldens and director Jason Ensler. Author Justin Cronin also appeared.

The pilot episode, which is the only episode that has been filmed so far, chronicles the early days of what will eventually lead to the end of the world.

‘Patient Zero’ (McShane) contracts a mysterious virus which initially appears to cure all diseases, but soon turns him into a dangerous, blood-sucking creature.

Seeking to use the infection as a cure for all ills — but without the vampiric side-effects — a group of scientists begin experimenting on death-row inmates, with more or less success, before realizing that they need a child for their experiments to work.

Main character Amy (Sidney) narrates the story of how she and Mark-Paul Gosselaar’s character Brad find their way to each other, which begins with him abducting her and ends with them going on the run to save Amy from the medical experiments that she would be subjected to.

At the panel following the pilot screening, Gosselaar gushes about the novel, of which he considers himself a “fanboy.”

Gosselaar says, “I remember first meeting Justin; it was like meeting the biggest movie star. I just asked question after question, I wanted to know everything!”

Henry Ian Cusick is asked whether his character, one of the scientists conducting the experiments, is a good or a bad guy.

In lieu of giving a concrete answer (where’s the fun in that?), he says, “Well, those are the best kind of characters. There’s no good or bad. He’s partially responsible for bringing the virus to this world, and in the process he loses his best friend.”

In the process of trying to find a cure for his friend’s illness, as well as turning the virus into a viable vaccine, his character “starts experimenting on a child, which is obviously wrong. And that’s the place my character is gonna go, and that’s a really interesting thing for an actor.”

Finally, Justin Cronin is asked what his feelings on the adaptation series are: “Marvelous, disorienting, deeply cool.”

The Passage premieres February 2019 on FOX.

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