Snowpiercer season 2 premiere: Just how villainous is Sean Bean's Mr. Wilford?
Showrunner Graeme Manson breaks down the sci-fi series' return.
On the season 2 premiere of Snowpiercer, audiences got their first look at Sean Bean's Mr. Wilford, the man who commissioned the titular train and has now returned to claim what he believes is his property. The arrival of Wilford, and his strongman Icy Bob (Andre Tricoteux), was alarming news for many Snowpiercer passengers, including the train's new leader, Layton (Daveed Diggs). It also made for pertinent viewing at this particular point in American political history.
"Season 2 expands on a lot of themes that we were working with on season 1 — authoritarianism versus the drive for democracy in the face of survival," showrunner Graeme Manson tells EW. "Just when Layton has the ability to get his fledgling democracy up off the ground, over the hilltop comes the greatest authoritarian of them all."
Below, Manson talks more about the season premiere, Bean's villainous Wilford, and what viewers can expect further down the track.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: So, Mr. Wilford seems like a full-bore baddie.
GRAEME MANSON: Yeah, he's rather a delicious villain, Sean. But as the season wears on, like most villains on our train, he's got shades of gray as well — even Mr. Wilford, the sociopath.
What kind of discussions did you have with Sean about the role?
We talked about combining a psychopathy with great intelligence. Sean's from Sheffield originally, and I liked the idea that he came from working-class roots, and was a man who worked himself up and is very self-made. And he is the smartest man in the world. He was the smartest man in the world before the world froze too. So he's a dastardly opponent and he's a hedonist, which is fun.
I did enjoy him removing the cucumber slices from his eyes and eating them.
Yeah, yeah. He loves that bath.
We also learned that she's known Jennifer Connelly's character, Melanie, since she was 17.
Yeah, he is a sort of a father figure. I think some of the friction between them is that Wilford the great impresario, yes he is the smartest man in the world, but he will take all the credit as well. And Melanie is a brilliant engineer — I think she had far more to do with making Snowpiercer a reality than the ego of Wilford would ever allow credit for.
We were also properly introduced to Melanie's daughter, Alex (Rowan Blanchard). Presumably a lot of the season will concern the fight over her between Melanie and Wilford?
For Melanie to see her again is one thing; to see her again and to realize she's been under the wing of her nemesis, it just raises so many questions about how she's been influenced against her mother. Alex is very much put in this position between the mother she's been missing and the only father figure she's ever known, and it's at a critical time in Alex's young life. She's brilliant like her mother and has great scientific and technical knowhow, but she's also at that point in her young life where she is becoming herself and shedding her influences. Where Alex, and how Alex, exactly will land is a big big big part of the season.
We also met some of the other crew on Wilford's train. I was particularly struck by the two doctors, who seem to have been left to their own devices for too long, maybe.
Yes. The doctors Headwood. They're a couple of the rare privileged characters in Wilford's world. But they're a pretty fun and strange scientific couple, and what they're up to in their lab will be quite a discovery for us.
What's up with Icy Bob?
[Laughs] Oh, that'll remain to be seen. At this point, all we know is that they've got a great gorilla of a guy over there who can withstand the cold far more than any of them can. How has this man become one of Wilford's weapons? That's a story we'll be finding out.
What can you say about the rest of the season?
More to go! We're seeing Melanie and Mr. Wilford head-to-head, but the man that's glommed onto the back of the train is certainly someone who Andre Layton is going to have to deal with too. So that's a really fun thing to look forward to.
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