During Comic-Con International in San Diego, this year's panel for the Syfy series "12 Monkeys" opened to a roar of applause from an audience familiar with the show's first season. Natalie Abrams, senior writer for "Entertainment Weekly," served as moderator for the panel, which included co-creators Terry Matalas and Travis Frickett and stars Aaron Stanford, Emily Hampshire and Barbara Sukowa. Season one of the series, which is based on the 1995 hit film starring Bruce Willis and Brad Pitt, stars Stanford as James Cole, a time traveler sent to stop a virus that has wiped out 93% of earth's population.
After screening a season one summary trailer, Abrams asked the panel the big question: "Now that you have exhausted all the material from the film, is there anything from it that you're still pulling from?"
Matalas gave insight, saying, "Yes actually. Insanity plays a very big part of season two -- particularly people we may perceive as insane but may not actually be insane."
When asked about the balance of source material versus original ideas in the show's first season, Matalas replied, "It was a mix and match, since we were such huge fans of the movie. We can't exactly do the movie over again and we needed to step out onto our own, so we mixed it up a bit."
Frickett, chimed in, building on his collaborator's sentiment. "Plus if we did the movie where Bruce Willis' character dies at the end -- sorry, plot spoiler for you guys -- we would have a very short season."
Bringing back the topic of insanity, Emily Hampshire, who plays Jennifer Goines, was put on the spot when asked about her favorite part of playing the character. "It's that I get to do anything," said Hampshire. "I get to be the CEO of Markridge and then inside an insane asylum, so it's just all play!"
Matalas added that Hampshire's character, Jennifer Goines, "plays a very, very big role. It does seem that she's going to release that plague, but we are going to learn she is so much more than just crazy. We kind of hinted at that last season."
Frickett also commented on the character, teasing her importance. "Jennifer is also the only character that, when she's older, she's in the future and she knows a lot and that's because she plays such a large role in what's happening."
Matalas and Frickett also made sure to let fans know that Cole, the time-traveler played by Stanford, is neither the precursor nor the skeleton of the virus. Stanford excited fans in the audience, saying, "A lot of bread crumbs are dropped. Those bread crumbs may or may not lead to the places that you think they will."
Moderator Abrams then asked about Cole's mindset in season two. "A lot happened toward the end of season one that fundamentally changed the way Cole thinks along with several of the characters," said Stanford. "Cole is a different man; he has made his choice and he chose life."
Season two will also bring recurring series characters further into the spotlight. Katarina Jones (played by Barbara Sukowa), Deacon (Todd Stashwick) and the aforementioned Jennifer Goines will all be integral parts in the season 2 story line. "[Katarina Jones'] main focus will still be the mission," said Sukowa excitedly. "The mission will always be in her head but time travel will bring her some surprises, getting in contact with parts of herself she didn't know before."
Matalas gave another teaser for season two that may be related to Sukowa's character. "We are bringing on Michael Hogan from 'Battlestar Galactica'!" The room erupted in shouts and screams at the mere mention of the sci-fi veteran, who played Colonel Tigh on the sci-fi series.
Frickett gave a spoiler to Hogan's role by saying, "He's playing a scientist that no one has met before." Matalas quickly interrupted to tell Frickett he may be going too far in divulging secrets to season two. The audience wasn't complaining -- but it looks like we will just have to wait for 2016 when "12 Monkeys" returns to Syfy for its second season.