’12 Monkeys’ Set Visit: What We Learned About Season 2

Syfy’s time traveling thriller 12 Monkeys is set to return on April 18 with its second season. The series’ first season left off with a dramatic change to the status quo as Dr. Cassandra Railly (Amanda Schull) was sent off to the future, 2043, by James Cole (Aaron Stanford) after suffering a gunshot wound. Cole and Ramse (Kirk Acevedo) find themselves stuck in the past, as their relationship is on the rocks after the events of Tokyo. In the future, Jones is dealing with a new threat in the form of 12 hooded figures who have come for the time machine, but a wounded Railly appears as they are about to take it. It’s safe to say, things are not looking well for Team Splinter with how events left off.

The Workprint was invited to visit the set of 12 Monkeys last November for a chance to peek behind the curtain of the upcoming season and talk with the showrunner, Terry Matalas, and cast members: Aaron Stanford, Amanda Schull, Kirk Acevedo, Emily Hampshire, Todd Stashwick, and Barbara Sukowa.

12 Monkeys

The Emerson Hotel

  • The base of operations will be changing this season. Gone is the book store that Railly found herself in last year during present day, but replacing it is a much richer and grander experience – The Emerson Hotel.
  • Matalas told us, “With the bookshop gone, we knew we wanted another location for them to gather. We thought what would be cool would be a hotel, that we will first see in episode two. They have a permanent suite in that they bought out way back in the 1940s and they have had it for a hundred years. When they first find this hotel suite, it will have all these relics and information from adventures they haven’t had yet because they are time travelers bouncing through time. It is kind of like the Grand Budapest Hotel throughout the century. What’s fun about that is it kind of mirrors what happens to a lot of these great hotels in New York or other big cities in the 1940s where it was the place you wanted to be, but in 2016 it has ATMs, hookers, and crack. It shows off the passage of time and the deterioration that happens throughout. It’s pretty spectacular place.”
  • Jennifer Goines will be the one to lead Cole to the Time Traveler suite in the Emerson Hotel.
  • When Cole first arrives, he will find passports from the 1960s, information on the Berlin Wall, dossiers from the 70s from this police thing. “They are all these little hints,” Matalas tells us. “Some of the things we really loved to do on this show is to get ahead of all the stories really, really early. We can drop all the easter eggs of all the things to come from the first episode.”According to Matalas, the first episode will even tease the second season’s finale.
  • Eagled-eyed viewers will be able to spot a Back to the Future easter egg in the lobby of the Emerson Hotel.

12 Monkeys

What to expect from Time and Time Traveling in Season 2

  • How is the series handling the timeline when changes occur? Is the previous timeline erased?The answer is both yes and no. “There are consequences for doing that. Not everything changes. Somethings are for lack of a better word, constant,” Matalas said.”People who are tangled to that change, sometimes time will change around them. Specifically if you’re a part of this mission, you’ve got Jones’ injections, and you kind of act outside of time. This season will deal with the consequences of that happening.”
  • There will be a big passage of time that occurs. The future this season will be 2044, not 2043. Season two will start off in 2043, but will actually jump through the passage of time quite a bit this season. The story will also jump back a century with the cast traveling as far back as the 1940s.
  • Cole will not be the only time traveler this season. Also, you shouldn’t expect time traveling together to lead to comfortable situations.”They are not all getting along,” Matalas shares. “If you have seen our show you’ll know there are some serious personal issues between our characters by the finale. At the top of the season, it is pretty significant between Cole and Cassie. They are going to be worlds apart, but are still on the same journey and mission.”
  • Season two of 12 Monkeys will finally find us learning how time works. This will be especially tough for Jones who will learn that she needs to throw away all she knows about time from quantum physics and look at it a different way. Time, what time wants, how it works, and how time and human beings may work together, is a big part of this season.
  • Schull shared that the time travelers this season will be headed to the 40s, 50s, 60s, and 70s.

12 Monkeys

The Army of the 12 Monkeys

  • The 12 hooded figures that we saw at the end of last season have a name – The Messengers.  Within the first fifteen minutes of the new season, we’ll see what their plans are for the time machine. It’ll be the beginning of taking a look at their agenda.
  • Matalas on the new threat this season: “This season the plague is still something that happened in history, but the threat is much bigger than the plague. Last season we teased that the Army of the 12 Monkeys, they seem to have access, to be connected to time travel as well. They seem to know things about the future. They have a villain, The Witness, who runs the organization and knows how this all will play out. But it also seems like his goal wasn’t just the plague. This season we are going to find out what that was. We’re going to find out what the Army of the 12 Monkeys wants to do with time. It’s pretty big.”

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There will be a major death in season two that someone won’t be able to come back from.

Emily: We filmed a scene where a major character died yesterday. Died for reals.

Amanda: Time travel can’t help this character. There are a few rules that can’t be broken with time travel, certain people, and causality. It definitely has its parameters.

Jennifer Goines

  • Expect to see many different versions of Jennifer Goines this season. “We will actually see a sane Jennifer this season at one point,” Emily Hampshire shared with reporters. “I can’t tell you how that happens, how long it lasts, or why, but that it will happen this year. Also there is a lot more of Old Jennifer this season that we touched on last year, but this year she plays a really big part in the show.”
  • Emily on new interactions: “I get to have a scene with Jones. How would Jennifer Goines and Jones get together? I can’t tell you, but it happens. Also we revisit some relationships from last year that didn’t work out so well. Amanda and I have a bunch of stuff together this season and I can’t tell you anything that happens in it, but it includes one of her favorite scenes of the season.”
  • Season 2 Agenda: “I think Jennifer’s thing in season one was a lot of dealing with other people saying she was crazy and dealing with trying to find out who she was in the world outside of the mental institution. This season there is a lot of Jennifer finding out that her crazy might not be crazy and she might be a lot more connected to things ands stuff I can’t say.”

12 Monkeys

James Cole

Aaron Stanford told reporters that we’ll find Cole looking for redemption this season and how traveling through different time periods changes his character.

“He comes from a very hard life. I think he’s sort of been beaten down by that life and he’s lost a portion of his humanity. He’s looking for some form of redemption. He’s ready to taken any life he needs to take as well as give his own life, if necessary. I think that his own doesn’t have a lot of value to him at the start. As he experiences different time periods, different realities, different people like Cassie, it changes him, and he begins to value life and see that there is something to it and it changes him fundamentally but by the end of season one he has this newfound compassion and that’s where it starts off for season two.”

Dr. Cassandra Railly

  • According to Schull, Railly is much more aware of the risks and how they needed to be tackled in order to accomplish the mission. “This year she lives in a world where the risks are much more imminent and present. She is much more savvy on how to approach things and takes on more of a physical approach.”
  • Railly’s goals still remain the same as she adapts to her new surroundings. She is still a doctor and her quest from the moment she met Cole is to eradicate this virus.“Once she gets to 2044 she realizes all the different factors that play into this particular danger and this threat,” Schull told reporters. “She has to kind of eliminate all the threats which makes it a much more challenging mission overall. She tackles all of those things in 2044 and has to do them in ways she could never have imagined herself doing in season one.”

12 Monkeys


  • Sukowa stated that Jones will find herself very much conflicted in season two. “On one hand she wants to pursue her mission, on the other she has all these new relationships so she really has to decide her allies, where she’s going to go, what’s going to serve her mission that is her main trajectory.”
  • More backstory on Jones is coming.  “I’m not sure what to say about her husband, but I think the real thing that broke her was the death of her daughter and that is something that fuels her mission. But also she has shut down a lot through that. I think she is one of those people who has changed completely from a young person to an older person. I think we will learn a little more why that is and understand it more. But she does it, so interesting things are happening with her.”


  • Kirk Acevedo’s Ramse will remain more or less the same according to the actor.”He knows who he is. He knows what will make him content. When you discover that, you’re not going to change as much. The other characters are always in flux. Oh there’s a virus. This guys from the future. For me it’s not that difficult to play.”
  • Acevedo on the tumultuous relationship between Cole and Ramse – “There’s still tension between the two. Brothers fight. Brothers also kill each other.”

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Todd Stashwick’s Deacon will be seeing much more develop this season after being made a series regular. Stashwick revealed that Deacon’s interactions with the rest of Team Splinter will change his outlook on his actions.

“We pretty much pick up right where season one ended where Cassie is stuck in the future and that immediately creates a dynamic with myself who is stuck in the facility with Jones and Cassie, and Deacon has to go, ‘Well am I with the Blue Man Group or am I with the people who I see bit more humanity in?’ The irony that Deacon is looking for humanity.”

“I think initially Deacon was an opportunist. I think couldn’t have cared less about what the gray faced people wanted to do. It was just going to get him a chance to get himself into the facility. Once he crossed into that threshold and realized it was time travel and meeting Railly has a profound effect on who he is and his point of view. He certainly had a way of doing things before and suddenly as he gets deeper in and really starts developing other relationships he didn’t have before, his priorities shift. His methodology might shift. I’m not saying they declaw him, but we might see his soft, fuzzy belly. You will get to see a lot more aspects of a guy who was just a sarcastic bastard in season one. Still a sociopath, but a sociopath with more emotional options. We will reveal glimpses as to why the way he is and what led him to be this. As much as they are showing backgrounds of Jones we didn’t see before, we are also peeking behind the curtain of Deacon as well.”

“I am Amanda Schull”

A fun tidbit to come out of the set visit was Emily Hampshire’s story about her big speech at the end of season one. Hampshire, who had a fear of speaking in front of giant crowds, shared this story.

Emily: So I, Emily Hampshire, am nervous to give big speeches. Very, very, very nervous. Like super anxiety, breakout in hives. And Amanda being a really good person and just being Amanda, was being perceptive and noticed that I was really freaking out about doing this thing. She told me her mom used to say to her that “You’re Amanda Schull, you can do anything.” And I thought that was the most amazing. So behind stage, before I went out, I was like “You are Amanda Schull, you can do anything!”

Amanda: Not the point of that story.

Emily: It gave me confidence and I went out and did it. I was really nervous about doing that scene, but I just went out and was feeling like I was Amanda Schull. And so I did it like that.

12 Monkeys

Theme of Season 2

Matalas opened up a little bit about what viewers can expect from the overall theme in Season 2 of 12 Monkeys.

“The main theme of this season, when you walk away is, there are many endings and the right one is the one you choose. The other one I can’t say. There is quite a bit going on this season. Last season was about in a lot of ways, fatherhood. It was Jennifer Goines dealing with how her father hated her. How Ramse was a father and didn’t know how the mission afflicted with that. Cole witnessing the death of this father.This season is all about mothers and motherhood and what that means – from our villains to our heroes.”

12 Monkeys returns for Season 2 on Syfy on April 18 at 9 PM. 

Bilal Mian
Bilal Mian
Bilal is the Editor-in-Chief of The Workprint. Follow him on Twitter @Bilal_Mian.

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