*Continuing to update this post over the weekend.*
Snowpiercer season 3 premieres on TNT in the US on 1/24/22 and then on Netflix internationally the next day. As in the first 2 seasons, episodes will air weekly and there appear to be 10 episodes in the season. Metawitches recaps of seasons 1 and 2 are HERE. I’ll add links to recaps for season 3 as the season airs and of course they’ll be featured on the home page. Snowpiercer was renewed for season 4 when production wrapped on season 3. Production on season 4 has already begun.
Let’s start with TNT press releases and videos, then move on to photos, articles and analysis. The season 4 renewal announcement also included a reminder of how season 2 ended and a preview of what’s to come in season 3. Daveed Diggs’ video announcement follows the print announcement:
LOS ANGELES – July 29, 2021 – TNT’s just celebrated the wrap of season three production on its hit drama series “Snowpiercer” with the announcement of a season four pickup. Produced by Tomorrow Studios, “Snowpiercer” seasons one and two are currently available to binge on the TNT app, with season three set to premiere on TNT early next year.
“Snowpiercer” premiered as the #1 new scripted drama on all of ad-supported cable in 2020. The second season reached 21 million viewers across linear and digital in L+7 viewing, ranking as a Top 5 cable drama.
“‘Snowpiercer’ has been an incredibly successful series for us that continues to capture the imagination of viewers, grow audience and maintain strong ratings,” said Sam Linsky and Adrienne O’Riain, co-heads of scripted original programming for TBS, TNT and truTV. “All of our seasons embark on an emotional, unexpected ride and the well-plotted storylines will continue to evolve and remain relevant to audiences. We’re excited to keep the train running into season four.”
At the end of “Snowpiercer” season two, Layton (Daveed Diggs) and Ruth (Alison Wright), who were banished to Big Alice’s compost car, plotted to take back Snowpiercer. With the help of Javier (Roberto Urbina) and Alexandra (Rowan Blanchard), Layton and Ruth made it back to Snowpiercer and rallied with their supporters. Josie (Katie McGuiness) destroyed the Aquarium car separating Snowpiercer’s head from the remaining 1,023 cars. With Layton in command of a 10-car “pirate train,” he and his team rushed to Breslauer Research Station to find Melanie (Jennifer Connelly).
Season three picks up with Layton (Diggs) and his inner circle commanding a small pirate train in search of Melanie (Connelly) and a possible warm location to restart civilization, aided by a newfound survivor. Back on Snowpiercer, Mr. Wilford (Sean Bean) is consolidating power, foiled only by secret allies of Layton’s hidden on the train, committed to the cause.
Emmy® nominee Archie Panjabi and Chelsea Harris join the season three cast, with Mike O’Malley being elevated to a series regular. “Snowpiercer” season three also stars Oscar® winner Jennifer Connelly, Grammy® and Tony® Award winner Daveed Diggs, Sean Bean, Rowan Blanchard, Emmy® nominee Alison Wright, Mickey Sumner, Iddo Goldberg, Katie McGuinness, Tony Award winner and Grammy nominee Lena Hall, Annalise Basso, Sam Otto, Roberto Urbina, Sheila Vand, and Steven Ogg.
“Snowpiercer” is executive produced by Graeme Manson, Aubrey Nealon, Marty Adelstein and Becky Clements, Matthew O’Connor, Ben Rosenblatt and Scott Derrickson, and the original film’s producers, including Bong Joon Ho, Miky Lee, Jinnie Choi, Park Chan-wook, Lee Tae-hun and Dooho Choi. The show is produced by Tomorrow Studios, along with CJ Entertainment. ITV Studios handles international distribution.
This description was part of the season 3 premiere date press release:
At the end of “Snowpiercer” season two, Layton (Daveed Diggs) and Ruth (Alison Wright), who were banished to Big Alice’s compost car, plotted to take back Snowpiercer. With the help of Javier (Roberto Urbina) and Alexandra (Rowan Blanchard), Layton and Ruth made it back to Snowpiercer and rallied with their supporters. Josie (Katie McGuiness) destroyed the Aquarium car, separating Snowpiercer’s head from the remaining 1,023 cars. Season three picks up with Layton (Diggs) and his inner circle commanding a small 10 car “pirate train” in search of Melanie (Jennifer Connelly) and a possible warm location to restart civilization; while back on Snowpiercer, Mr. Wilford (Sean Bean) is consolidating power, awaiting Layton’s return.
Official extended promo video announcing the season 3 premiere date:
Official mid-length promo:
Season 2 highlights video:
Season 3 episode 1 is titled The Tortoise and the Hare, a reference to the story from Aesop’s Fables about a race between a speedy but overconfident rabbit and a slow but consistently persistent turtle who wins the race. Last season, Melanie and Layton underestimated Wilford and by the end of the season both Melanie and control of Snowpiercer were lost. The pirate train is fast, but Wilford is overconfident, so it’s anyone’s guess how this round will end. Here is the episode synopsis from TNT:
While Wilford emphasizes his rule aboard his icy train, Layton’s pirate train continues its dangerous quest for warm spots, and comes across something entirely unexpected.
A few early release promotional photos- the rest are at the bottom of the post.
TNT shared a series of exclusive photos of the new character played by Archie Panjabi withTVLine.com:
Panjabi is playing Asha, a character who “will make Season 3 super-exciting,” executive producer Becky Clements of Tomorrow Studios previously told TVLine. “It’s kind of a collision of all the things we discussed, coming together.”
Some secrecy still surrounds the character, though Panjabi tells TVLine that Asha — having believed herself to be “the last person on Earth” — “has managed to survive under extreme conditions.” As such, the actress says, “When she is discovered by someone from the train, her survival instincts kick in.”
…Elsewhere on the Season 3 casting front, Mike O’Malley (who plays Roche) and Chelsea Harris (as Mr. Wilford’s right-hand advisor Sykes) have been promoted to series regular.
ETA: Exclusive clip from Screenrant.com. Ben is in trouble and the pirate train crew debates how to save him! The following 3 clips from 301 are arranged in order.
Daveed Diggs on The Tonight Show on 1/17/22. Includes a clip at the end from episode 301. Also, check out Daveed Diggs’ EPIC outfit:
CBS Mornings interview with Daveed Diggs. Includes a new clip at the beginning of the interview. More talk about Snowpiercer than the Fallon interview, but his outfit is much less exciting:
More from TVline.com- Snowpiercer Video: Daveed Diggs and Rowan Blanchard Preview Overheated Season 3, Tease Melanie’s Return– this is a fun video interview that discusses how the relationships between the characters on the pirate train have changed after the 6 month time jump. The article mentions that Ruth and Pike will work together on Snowpiercer to keep the rebellion going.
Interview with Alison Wright, who plays Ruth, in Mainstreet-Nashville.com.
At the end of season 2, Ruth helped with the rebellion that created the pirate train, but got caught up in a fight over her uniform with Kevin and missed the separation, so she’s now stranded on the main train.
Alison Wright: Well, we pick up with a little bit of a time jump when we begin Season 3, and we’ll see the new world that she’s existing in. Of course, she’s stuck on the train that she does not want to be on with her frenemy, Kevin, who she electrocuted with a cattle prod, and Mr. Wilford, who she has completely betrayed. And because, well, she knows everybody else is on that pirate train, so when we start we find her a few months down the line, and we’ll see her existing as best she can and trying to stay hidden from Mr. Wilford.
…[She believed] that Mr. Wilford was this good person — he saved humanity. She was full of blind faith and did anything that was asked of her without really thinking about it too hard.
And then it’s kind of amazing that she got to meet this man who she thought was all these wonderful things and find out that he wasn’t and how wrong she’d been. He is not the person that she dedicated her life to. It’s shocking for her to try and fathom that and figure that out and what to do now when the curtain is pulled back and you realize the person you dedicated everything to is a monster. And realize that this is not a man she can align herself with anymore, and then she’s sort of alone and what does that mean?
Snowpiercer has a habit of adding up the pieces of its puzzles in a way that’s perpetually surprising and I love it for that. I’m not going to make many guesses about what this season will bring, but I will have a little fun dreaming up what I’d like to see.
Ben is in trouble and they debate leaving him behind. THIS IS NOT OKAY. And not just because he’s one of my favorites. Besides being the sole remaining senior engineer and voice of reason, which should be enough to put him on anyone’s zombie apocalypse team, he’s also emotionally important to both Wilford and Melanie- as important as Alex and Miss Audrey.
You have to watch S2 closely to realize that Ben’s also been used as a pawn and that neither of them wants to risk his life, but it runs all through both seasons. Melanie kept Ben tucked up in the engine where he wouldn’t ever incur the wrath of the people and become a target for execution- she carried that burden alone. Wilford checks in on him constantly, disguising his concern with insults. He taunts Ben, but he and Alex are in a different category from the rest of the senior staff. They are his children, either biologically or spiritually (Alex might be his grandchild), which means they are leverage. You don’t give up your leverage in a war.
In the clips, Ben is outside the train, walking through a field of snow and falls through a rotting roof, leaving him unconscious. Layton and his crew argue over saving him, with Layton and Icy Josie deciding to go outside while the train leaves to perform some maneuvers, then doubles back, tripling the danger of the situation. This is how we lost Melanie!!! The spot they’re in is warming, so maybe it’s not as deadly to leave people behind for a while, but Ben looks like he’s bundled up for super cold temperatures.
The building he falls into is almost completely hidden in the snow. Could this be where the new character, Asha, lives? The snow that encloses the building would serve as insulation to help keep it warmer than air temperatures on the surface, especially if it’s built over a geothermal fissure like Melanie’s research base in S2. But the hole Ben put in the roof would act like an open window, allowing the cold air into Asha’s sanctuary. She’ll be forced to move out if the rot is so bad that the roof is about to collapse or if the hole can’t be sealed.
Even a rotting roof suggests warming- the deterioration would come from exposure to moisture, either continuously or a freeze-thaw cycle.
Ruth is also in trouble and possibly in hiding or maybe just trying to stay out of Wilford’s way. Alison Wright could be speaking metaphorically when she says Ruth is hiding, but we’ve seen characters go into hiding on the train before. We’ve never watched someone hide long term, though there have been hints that it’s possible.
At least one character, the man who broke the cattle/butcher car window early in season 1, disappeared into the vents and was presumed dead. He was later sighted as part of an elaborate trading scheme, but other than that, we haven’t heard from him. (I admit, I don’t scour crowd scenes in every episode for him.)
I would dearly love to discover a modern Hole-in-the Wall Gang in the hidden corners of the train and have Ruth join them. Facilitated by Pike, who would clearly be the guy that knows them but doesn’t rat them out to anyone, in exchange for looted delicacies. Ruth would become the new sharpshooter, known as Dead-Eye Ruthie, obvs.
There’s a 6 month time jump, which has given everyone time to create fabulous new looks. With Snowpiercer’s supercharged engine now pulling only ten cars, the pirate train runs hot. Big Alice wasn’t meant to pull more than 1,000 cars, so Snowpiercer needs to conserve energy and runs cold. This means that Wilford lives in his 1920s full length fur coat, emphasizing that he is still king, and the folks on the pirate train have developed casual beach looks, showing their rejection of social class. Josie has embraced her new super soldier identity, complete with exposed cyborg hand and arm. Layton’s socialist inner circle makes decisions and relaxes in the engine together, a far cry from the hermetic seal Melanie kept around the train’s power structure.
The rest of the production design is as cool as ever. What is that amazing tree in the promos? And look at the attention to detail that’s been given to Asha’s look, from her cricket bat and the duct tape patch on her climate suit to her facial scars. Though I could watch this show with the sound off and be happy because of the incredible visuals, I wouldn’t want to miss the intriguing stories these previews tease (or the show’s soundtrack).
Roche is getting out of the drawer. Will he be secretly released by the rebels and go into hiding with Ruth (my OTP!), forgetting about the wife who betrayed him? Or does Wilford get lonely and let him out? Maybe the train needs a new detective? Wilford’s Snowpiercer is likely to be as chaotic as ever, lacking the order and discipline that allowed Melanie to be aware of almost everything that happened on her train.
Jennifer Connelly and Melanie will be part of the season in some way, but it’s not clear if that will be through flashbacks and dream sequences or if the survivors will find her alive. The big speculation is around Asha. Even though the promo materials say she’s alone, maybe she was only alone until she and Melanie ran into each other.
The plot might be moving closer to the books. The TV series has veered far from the book series and the 2013 film, but both end with a warming Earth. Both also take a side trip into dark, sciencey subplots before they get there, exploring extreme classism/slavery and eugenics/genetic engineering. These elements were introduced into the show in the first two seasons, but Asha’s introduction has me wondering if the show is going to explore something similar to books’ genetic engineering and kidnapping storyline. She could be a recruiter or an escapee who’s lying.
Executive producer Graeme Manson explored similar themes on Orphan Black. There were some aspects of those themes that OB touched on, but had to leave behind before fully examining them. This could be another chance for him to pick up those threads.
According to IMDB, Kristian Bruun is joining the cast and according to the S4 renewal press release, Roberto Urbina (Javi) is returning for S3. The last time we saw junior engineer Javier de la Torre, he was mauled by Wilford’s dog Jupiter in episode 210 as punishment for helping Layton and Ruth escape from Big Alice’s compost area. It’s not currently known whether he’s alive or dead, but Snowpiercer needs engineers and with the loss of Icy Josie, the Headwoods need a new victim to experiment on. Still, news of Javi’s return could be a mistake- there is at least one other mistake in the press release, where they call Chelsea Harris (Sykes) a new cast member. She was recurring in S2 and bumped up to regular status for S3. Kristian Bruun played the clone Alison’s husband Donnie on Graeme Manson’s previous show, Orphan Black, and June’s doctor on The Handmaid’s Tale. His Snowpiercer character is named Stu Whiggins. No other information on him yet.
The rest of the Episode 301 promotional photos:
Images and videos courtesy of TNT, some via TVLine.com or SpoilerTV.com.