Fox's upcoming post-apocalyptic vampire thriller series #ThePassage has become quite a topic of interest in recent months. Based on the book series by Justin Cronin, the network's new show first gained some momentum when word that #RidleyScott and #MattReeves becoming executive producers on the project was announced. But it's the casting of #MarkPaulGosselaar in the lead role that currently holds much more of my interest. Gosselaar is best known for his breakout role in his teen years as Zack Morris on Saved By The Bell, but he's since gone on to have a successful TV career as an adult with shows like NYPD Blue and Franklin & Bash under his belt, along with the recently canceled Pitch. It looks like he's taking on the biggest—and possibly the most atypical—role of his career with The Passage.
Breakdown Of The Passage Novels And TV Adaption
Gosselaar will play an FBI agent who goes on the run with the story's central character, Amy Bellafonte (Saniyya Sidney). Gosselaar's character identity has yet to be revealed but if we look at the novels for insight, it becomes fairly clear he'll be playing Special Agent Brad Wolgast.
For a quick backstory, The Passage was originally conceived as a trio of novels by Cronin. The story follows 10-year-old Amy as she navigates a post-apocalyptic world after a rampant virus created in a government lab infects the human race.
What's interesting about The Passage is that it takes place in two different timelines. One timeline is of an age before the virals began spreading, and the other is about 93 years into the future. Before the viral outbreak takes place, the timeline follows Amy's escape from Project Noah, a covert government program experimenting on people with a new "serum". The term serum is used loosely here because it's more like a virus than anything that would help someone.
When the virus is given to Amy, she's placed within the same cells of The Twelve others who were given similar strains of the virus. After spending some time with them, Amy grows an immunity to becoming infected with separate strains of the virus. All this takes place imminently before one of The Twelve orchestrates an escape from Project Noah. During all the commotion, Amy is then rescued by the FBI agent who brought her to the facility in the first place, Agent Wolgast (Gosselarr). The two then go on the run and attempt to make their way to Canada.
In regard to the rest of the cast, Gosselaar will also be joined by #BJBritt (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D), #GenesisRodriguez (Tusk), #BrianneHowey (The Exorcist), and #JenniferFerrin (Hell On Wheels), all excellent cast additions to the series. Character descriptions also accompanied announcement of The Passage being developed. Here's a brief breakdown of the descriptions:
Character Tie-Ins To The Novels And Some That Don't
Genesis Rodriguez is set to play Alicia Donadio, a friend and potential love interest to Peter Jaxon. B.J. Britt will be in the role of Peter Jaxon, who will apparently partner up with Alicia for some badass vampire killing action, in an attempt to prevent the virus released by Project Noah from infecting all of humankind.
Alongside them, Brianne Howey has been cast in the role of Shauna, a condemned murderer who has escaped Death Row. The name Shauna doesn't correspond with any of the characters from Cronin's novels, but if we take the indication of Shauna being on Death Row as a nod to the novels then she's likely an adaptation of one of The Twelve.
In the novels, The Twelve were a group of convicted criminals on Death Row who were subjected to various strains of a viral contagion. Unlike a virus that kills, the virus given to The Twelve bonded with their bodies, imbuing them with psychic abilities. After learning how to use their abilities, one of them concocted an escape plan to free himself and the others.
Now that we know the origin of the virus outbreak in The Passage centers around a group of Death Row inmates who were subjected to it, it's probably a safe bet to conclude Brianne Howey is playing one of The Twelve. That said, her character's name may have been altered to throw clever fans off.
Which Character From The Novels Is Brianne Howey Playing?
Any casual fan of the novels would immediately recognize a specific name from them and then deduce how pivotal a role said character would be on The Passage. Then again, the logical explanation is that Howey will be another inmate on the Death Row block who's simply around when The Twelve are taken and experimented on with the virus. However, until we learn more about Howey's character, this is all purely speculative.
As for the last remaining character to have been identified, Jennifer Ferrin will be playing Sarah Fisher. A nurse working in a hospital in midst of the viral outbreak killing people all around her. Sarah will also apparently team up with Peter and Alicia to stop the outbreak, giving us reason to believe Sarah is probably a key player on the science front, when it comes to stopping the outbreak from reaching all of mankind.
No other cast have been announced but be on the lookout for actors being named as Michael Fisher, Theo Jaxon, Tim Fanning, and Giles Babcock on the series, being major characters in the novels who we can safely say play some part on The Passage.
Are you excited about The Passage novels being adapted into a tv series? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.
The Passage's release date is TBA but it's expected for the 2017-2018 television season