News

Snowpiercer’s 'Unhinged' New Villain Brings Fresh Threats and Forges Surprising Bonds, Say Daveed Diggs and Jennifer Connelly

Sean Bean steps aboard as a showy and chaotic Big Bad in season 2 of TNT's post-apocalyptic drama series.

by | January 25, 2021 | Comments

Sci-fi series Snowpiercer has exercised a proven tactic in upping the genre stakes as it moves into its second season: It’s added Sean Bean to the mix.

According to series star Daveed Diggs, who plays underdog hero Andre Layton in the returning TNT series, Bean’s sinister character is a different kind of villain.

“The charisma that he exudes is a very difficult thing to fight,” Diggs told Rotten Tomatoes about Bean’s Mr. Wilford.

The charismatic villain is the man whose company built this high-speed train before the Freeze turned the planet into an uninhabitable ball of ice. Up until now, we were led to believe Wilford was dead; season 1 revealed that Melanie Cavill (Jennifer Connelly) controlled the vessel, while perpetuating the appearance that Wilford was alive and running the train. By the end of season 1, we discover that Wilford was indeed still alive and all this time had been plotting a vengeful course back to Snowpiercer aboard a supply train named “Big Alice.”

In a politically tremulous atmosphere on Snowpiercer after a revolution and casualties, the hard-fought new world order erupts into chaos once again when Big Alice and Snowpiercer meet.


Daveed Diggs, Sean Bean and Jennifer Connelly in Snowpiercer, season 2

(Photo by David Bukach/TNT)

There’s a joke that makes fun of the number of times Game Of Thrones alum Bean has died on-screen (think GOT, GoldenEye, Lord of the Rings, and more). That’s all in the past, though; if Bean’s performance as the new big bad in Snowpiercer is an example of anything, it’s that the actor is wonderfully alive in this deliciously evil role.

“Sean brings such an incredible energy to the character,” Diggs explained.

Connelly added: “His performances are so fearless. They’re so unhinged. He seems to be having a blast playing that part. He’s a showman.”

The stage has been set, and now that Wilford is back, he’ll definitely be gunning to take back what he believes is rightfully his: Snowpiercer, the train that Melanie took from him all those years ago. So he’s not exactly wrong, but his coup attempt won’t be so simple.

“Make no mistake, he is really not out for the wellbeing of the train,” Connelly said. “Melanie knows that. And that’s the reason why, ultimately, she took the train from him. She knew he didn’t have the train’s, and the passengers’, best interests in mind.”


Sean Bean and Jennifer Connelly in Snowpiercer season 2, episode 1

(Photo by David Bukach/TNT)

It was an arduous uphill battle for Diggs’ Andre Layton throughout the first season, as he laid the groundwork for the “Tailie revolution” (the uprising of those in Third Class). The fight for equality amid the array of racism, classism, and sexism put Layton in a strong, albeit unexpected, position of leadership. But now that he’s gained some semblance of the power, the way forward is as complex as it is uncertain. What exactly is the best way to deal with a megalomaniac, anyway?

“He is used to appealing to this idea of what is the right thing to do, in terms of winning people over to his side,” Diggs said. “But now, what he’s met with on the train is a bunch of people who’ve been promised a whole bunch of things by somebody who looks like they are the beneficiary of a whole bunch of those things. In a battle of hearts and minds, that’s a tricky foe to come up against.”

With a pause and a laugh, Diggs added: “Wilford is not actually concerned with people, but people still love him. How hard is that? And how familiar is that?”

Wilford’s introduction to the series throws a lot of things off-kilter, but it also helps to forge new partnerships that were unthinkable just one year ago. If there’s truth to the phrase, “the enemy of my enemy is my friend,” then the partnership of former foes, Layton and Melanie, makes complete sense. After all, their common goal is to protect the train, and its citizens, no matter the cost.


Daveed Diggs and Jennifer Connelly in Snowpiercer episode 203

(Photo by David Bukach/TNT)

“Adding Melanie into that fold as someone that Layton ends up caring about is a dangerous thing to do on an emotional level,” Diggs added. “Then, the realization that, if Layton’s new government is one that respects the science of the thing, which is really what Melanie represents, and what she understands better than anybody, she could, in fact, actually build the train.”

One thing Melanie didn’t account for when she stole Snowpiercer was the problematic system that was already in place — and as Connelly explained, it was one riddled with a whole bunch of societal issues and corruption. That foundation absolutely encouraged her own heinous behavior in season 1, and it’s what ended up sparking the Tailie uprising that put Layton on her radar.

“The train called for change, and I think there was a hell of a lot about that system that she didn’t agree with, and she didn’t like,” she continued. “I don’t think that, in reality, her politics were so far off from Layton’s. He was sort of a catalyst for her to recognize that she was sort of tuning out so much, and it was at such a great cost.”

As Diggs points out, that choice comes with a fair share of repercussions: “This person who had been an enemy for so long has to become someone that Layton is choosing to side with over people who have been friends of his. And that’s tough.”

It’s a challenging move but the partnership strengthens them both, and that support structure is something Melanie needs going into these new episodes; not only does Wilford represent a threat to the health of the train and its people, his re-emergence brings back a whole load of unresolved trauma from Melanie’s past.


Rowan Blanchard and Jennifer Connelly in Snowpiercer season 2

(Photo by David Bukach/TNT)

Melanie’s long-estranged daughter Alexandra Cavill (Rowan Blanchard) is also along for the ride. Melanie believed Ali was dead — having left her behind when she took over the train. But after seven years, here she suddenly is, very much alive and under the tutelage of Melanie’s greatest adversary. Talk about a complicated reunion.

“All of that stuff plays out; all of that grief, and loss, and fear, and relief, and joy, and love, and dread,” Connelly said. “I think for Melanie, she sees her daughter, and of course, she wants to resume that relationship. But she’s also mature enough to recognize that’s not the reality of their dynamic at this point. She has to earn that trust back. And it’s not going to be that simple.”

Snowpiercer season 2 premieres on Monday, January 25 at 9 p.m. on TNT.



On an Apple device? Follow Rotten Tomatoes on Apple News.

Tag Cloud

ESPN dark universal monsters dramedy Funimation 94th Oscars VICE Fall TV Mudbound Epix Paramount mcc Ghostbusters 24 frames The Walt Disney Company science fiction Legendary new zealand marvel cinematic universe vs. Teen Superheroes book french Drama Family Calendar Box Office BAFTA young adult Certified Fresh 20th Century Fox Comics on TV Emmys all-time Extras directors italian Film Festival 2016 jamie lee curtis 2015 facebook stop motion black SXSW Image Comics Emmy Nominations cops Lifetime Acorn TV NYCC lord of the rings sopranos discovery unscripted Musicals target Comic Book legend GoT Martial Arts doctor who HBO Max 1990s Writers Guild of America Action marvel comics Super Bowl BBC America concert stoner Fox Searchlight Mindy Kaling dceu best asian-american VOD disaster Film hidden camera A24 Brie Larson Binge Guide documentary obi wan E! Nat Geo YouTube Premium Pop TV comics TV Ovation dogs X-Men OWN ID Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Hulu SXSW 2022 indiana jones hispanic kong The Academy theme song Food Network reviews crime thriller Nickelodeon Women's History Month dragons comedies cancelled television WarnerMedia The Walking Dead television Vudu social media Premiere Dates Amazon Studios crime crime drama Ellie Kemper Marathons romance Red Carpet james bond Set visit Netflix Christmas movies satire cancelled latino See It Skip It ABC Family blockbuster rt archives cars Britbox Elton John Year in Review Tomatazos revenge chucky casting superhero TCA Winter 2020 Comedy Central dreamworks HFPA YouTube Red trailers ITV indie Shondaland australia MGM deadpool streaming Best Picture zero dark thirty animated teaser high school 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards Comic-Con@Home 2021 renewed TV shows popular Hear Us Out christmas movies police drama mob video Fantasy HBO Creative Arts Emmys Black History Month critics strong female leads YouTube TV renewals ViacomCBS telelvision king arthur TV movies Disney Plus binge rt labs critics edition 71st Emmy Awards Classic Film breaking bad Biopics stand-up comedy prank 90s Spectrum Originals 73rd Emmy Awards IMDb TV PBS gangster TNT Podcast natural history adaptation Crunchyroll king kong medical drama children's TV FXX slasher nbcuniversal olympics critic resources Fargo Sneak Peek 93rd Oscars Marvel Television Bravo Spike HBO Go Rock CBS All Access fast and furious Stephen King genre E3 Trailer cancelled TV shows CW Seed DC streaming service green book Kids & Family trophy TCA Awards Avengers BBC YA BET die hard kids twilight festivals OneApp Universal Pictures talk show war Infographic SundanceTV AMC Plus international Walt Disney Pictures art house singing competition cults Black Mirror WGN witnail Oscar FX 72 Emmy Awards travel comic book movies hispanic heritage month richard e. Grant Rocketman pirates of the caribbean APB live event basketball Lucasfilm Rom-Com San Diego Comic-Con 79th Golden Globes Awards Photos Animation TCA DirecTV Adult Swim Video Games movie Reality AMC japan biopic BET Awards Captain marvel streamig documentaries kaiju nature 2017 Universal Character Guide emmy awards hist The CW boxing Pop superman South by Southwest Film Festival USA Network based on movie toronto cinemax psycho NBA Best and Worst SDCC politics child's play BBC One video on demand Syfy anime action-comedy free movies docuseries Tubi Country Sci-Fi Prime Video Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Paramount Plus tv talk Turner political drama nfl comic feel good Comedy Trivia 2020 RT History Awards cartoon black comedy TruTV royal family VH1 rotten golden globe awards franchise Freeform Heroines Valentine's Day A&E worst movies GIFs Discovery Channel Arrowverse Chernobyl USA Mary poppins El Rey Shudder LGBT parents batman MSNBC monster movies DC Comics Sundance Now versus FX on Hulu archives films Mary Poppins Returns Hallmark Christmas movies spider-man reboot TBS slashers Neflix Rocky Interview Crackle razzies technology Fox News halloween tv remakes MTV werewolf Masterpiece transformers sitcom romantic comedy Exclusive Video Pacific Islander independent Star Wars TCM sequel Holiday The Purge 99% Sundance TV canceled TV shows cats scorecard thriller scene in color Lifetime Christmas movies leaderboard Sony Pictures what to watch PlayStation RT21 Superheroe comic books 45 diversity Mystery true crime Schedule Summer spanish TIFF toy story Broadway blockbusters Instagram Live Trophy Talk First Look Countdown halloween suspense 4/20 jurassic park Academy Awards cancelled TV series women Oscars Cosplay scary posters blaxploitation New York Comic Con Starz wonder woman CMT Alien FOX Disney streaming service Dark Horse Comics Amazon Prime composers boxoffice Endgame mutant Baby Yoda President Hallmark sequels Election rt labs mockumentary Pride Month supernatural Disney+ Disney Plus hollywood Best Actress ABC Signature Christmas Horror Travel Channel crossover Reality Competition Columbia Pictures Holidays serial killer classics 2019 The Witch historical drama adenture Turner Classic Movies Quiz Cartoon Network Disney fresh movies Warner Bros. Television Critics Association docudrama japanese GLAAD Netflix The Arrangement Logo worst Peacock canceled game show spinoff Song of Ice and Fire criterion news spain foreign CNN vampires robots Disney Channel dexter CBS LGBTQ Hollywood Foreign Press Association golden globes Tumblr Amazon Prime Video heist movie series Musical live action football Spring TV MCU game of thrones Marvel Studios DC Universe new star wars movies psychological thriller Grammys Tokyo Olympics comic book movie name the review Winter TV finale American Society of Cinematographers aapi adventure book adaptation 2021 zombie Star Trek scary movies comiccon Nominations mission: impossible award winner south america TV Land Lionsgate saw laika elevated horror Best Actor Thanksgiving period drama ghosts Apple TCA 2017 Marvel sag awards obituary rotten movies we love miniseries rom-coms Watching Series new york godzilla DGA IFC streaming movies 2018 cooking zombies Pet Sematary Best Director National Geographic sports Apple TV+ Pirates know your critic Pixar First Reviews Esquire justice league Opinion joker harry potter space Music Television Academy anthology quibi biography aliens NBC Wes Anderson 007 screen actors guild spy thriller Polls and Games ratings Showtime Winners Cannes a nightmare on elm street TLC Tarantino Toys Mary Tyler Moore spider-verse Paramount Network festival spanish language dc Tags: Comedy screenings venice IFC Films Amazon Western PaleyFest History 21st Century Fox Apple TV Plus debate TV One ABC Awards Tour Anna Paquin Sundance