'The Passage' Will 'Expand' Book Universe, Showrunner Reveals at SDCC 2018

Even the biggest fans of The Passage trilogy will find something new in the upcoming FOX series, showrunner Liz Heldens explained to reporters Friday at San Diego Comic-Con.

The show, which premieres in February 2019, follows a group of scientists as they experiment with a virus that could either cure all diseases or bring about the end of humanity as we know it — with a side effect of vampirism and a splash of psychic powers.

It focuses on 10-year-old Amy Bellafonte (Saniyya Sidney), who is chosen to be a test subject for the virus, and Brad Wolgast (Mark-Paul Gosselaar), a foot soldier who goes rogue while trying to protect her. Based on the trilogy by Justin Cronin, Heldens told reporters Friday that the series will both stay true to the books and also offer something new for people who have read it.

"The beauty of TV is we can take a deeper dive into some of the characters, get to know the 12 more, and we can take our time a little bit. And so I think we’re going to expand some of what’s there, but if you’re a fan of the books you’re going to be really happy with the show.”

She added that for fans of the original series, it will be exciting.

“Oh you’ll recognize some things. We’re putting some twists and turns in, so if you’re a fan of the book you’ll still be surprised,” she added.

The show will get deeper into Project Noah, she added, with "some scares and hard left turns in there."

For Gosselaar, every bit of his performance as Wolgast was taken from the books, which earned him Cronin's blessing.

"It’s very rare as an actor that you're given the blueprints to your character and have the author come to the set and explain to you how he came up with the character, what he was thinking when he was writing the character," he told reporters. "And then to give you the blessing, which he did as well, to be like, 'You know what, you’re my Amy, you’re my Brad.”

Sidney added that while her depiction of Amy is definitely based on the books, playing the little girl here to save the world was deeply personal.

"When I play Amy, I play her from my heart, and I'm not gonna focus on [specific traits],” she explained to reporters.“I can play her in a different way."

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The Passage premieres on Fox in February 2019.

Photo credit: FOX