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How Syfy's '12 Monkeys' differs from the movie

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12 MONKEYS TV MOVIE

Syfy’s 12 Monkeys reboots Terry Gilliam’s 1995 film about a time traveler struggling to prevent a plague apocalypse. But expect some changes. (Syfy’s version stars an intense Aaron Stanford instead of a creepy spider-eating Bruce Willis, for starters.) Below, showrunner Natalie Chaidez helps us keep our Monkeys straight:

Major setting: SAME. There’s dystopian future where a man named Cole is kept in confinement by mysterious leadership and also a modern-day big city.

Hero’s mission: SAME. Cole is sent back in time to stop a plague that decimates humanity: “It’s taking on grand questions like fate and destiny and free will,” Chaidez says.

Cole’s character: DIFFERENT. In the movie, Cole’s past is a mystery, and he’s a pretty odd guy; now he’s wracked with guilt and seeking redemption for killing people to survive the apocalypse (also, he has hair).

Time-travel glitches: SAME. In both stories, time travel is untested and not entirely reliable.

Future storyline: DIFFERENT. The future was only glimpsed in the film, but in the series there’s a whole storyline and significant characters in the future. Specifically, there are other factions who are interested in the time machine who pose a threat to Cole’s mission. Plus you get a strong sense of Cole’s past. “The series really opens up that post-apocalyptic world, which was only glimpsed during the movie, to see what he’s really done.”

12 Monkeys mysteryDIFFERENT. In the film, the mysterious 12 Monkeys group turned out to be a red herring. Here its more important and its purpose will be explored gradually during the series.

Supporting cast: DIFFERENT. Cole still abducts a doctor named Railly and meets an insane person named Goines. But Railly (Amanda Schull) is virologist in the series instead of a psychiatrist love interest and she more actively helps Cole. While Goines is a female math wiz (Emily Hampshire) instead of a googly-eyed male animal activist (Brad Pitt). “Pitt’s performance was so iconic, the series had to do its own twist. She’s a bit of mercury on screen that wiggles and waggles and you can’t figure out what she’s going to do next.”

12 Monkeys the series debuts Jan. 16 on Syfy. 

For more, check out EW‘s annual forecast issue giving you the scoop on all of 2015’s hot projects:

Dylan McDermottEW has the scoop on 116 things that you’re going to be talking about this year—so why not get a head start now? Grab the forecast issue and impress your friends with your newfound powers of prediction.

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