The producers behind Syfy’s upcoming apocalyptic drama, “12 Monkeys,” distanced the series from the Terry Gilliam film during Monday’s Television Critics Association press tour.
“It’s a complete re-imagining,” said co-executive producer Terry Matalas. “We’re all big fans of the original film and we didn’t want to just re-do what the movie does. Everything from the top-down changed. While the story has a lot of the same themes, it wouldn’t make sense to tell the same story again.”
The 1995 film took place in the future, which is devastated by disease, a convict (played by Bruce Willis) gets sent back in time to gather information about the man-made virus that wiped out most of the human population on the planet.
The television series is described as following the journey of a time traveler (Aaron Stanford) from the post-apocalyptic future who appears in present day on a mission to locate and eradicate the source of a deadly plague that will eventually decimate the human race.
That description sounds a lot like the series Syfy bought, but the producers explained that they do play with several of the film’s tenets.
“We didn’t want to just re-do the movie,” Matalas said. “We changed the rules. In the movie, you can’t change the rules of time. Here, you can.”
One reporter mentioned that continuity can be more difficult over the life of a series compared to a film and TV viewers can be very vocal about problems with continuity. The producers said they’re ready.
“So many hours of time travel arguments, you guys won’t believe,” showrunner Natalie Chaidez joked.
“By the time it gets to you, hopefully we’ve vetted every little bit,” Matalas added.
“12 Monkeys” is set to debut in January 2015 on Syfy.