The Nightflyers Panel featured showrunner Jeff Buhler, Gretchen Mol (Agatha Matheson), Eoin Macken (Karl D'Branin), David Ajala (Captain Roy Eris), Angus Sampson (Rowan), Jodie Turner-Smith (Malantha Jhirl), Jeff Vargas, and Gene Kline, producers on the series.
Buhler first went into the premise of the show, saying "Nightflyers is a journey to make contact with the first alien race out there." The novella is used as the framework of the show.
"An object is discovered flying past our solar system,"Buhler said. "The premise stepped back a bit from the complexity of that world (Martin's Thousand Worlds universe), and is 75 years from our future, just over the horizon of where we are. Trying to keep everything really grounded in that way, and then we have some fun."
SYFY went all out in creating the set for the ship, and the cast was quite impressed with their new surroundings.
"Not very often that you get to go on a film set and say woah, this is incredible," Ajala said. "You want to be able to do something very interesting and you're excited about."
"We worked really hard to build as much of the world as we could," Buhler said. "A lot of the special effects are done practically, many of the things you use green screens for we had big LED screens."
The studio then played a video message from George R.R. Martin, who is busy working on several projects, including Winds of Winter. He introduces the first clip.
Hit the next slide for the full footage description.
The clip opens in space, trees and other earth-based debris fly through the sky. Inside the ship, someone is struggling to grasp different parts as the artificial gravity is off. A bloody hand turns it back on. Agatha is wounded, talks into her recorder and is reporting they have several casualties. Someone starts whistling, and she quickly hides. A man named Rowan enters the room, keeps whistling, and has an ax that he bangs on the table trying to lure her out. She's hiding underneath. He keeps destroying things and walks out of the room. She stays hidden but then says 'this is a warning, not a distress call. Do not come to this ship. Do not bring the Nightflyer back to earth'. She then tries to send the recording device back in a tube but drops the cover, making noise. She hurries to send it in the biowaste disposal unit, but as it is sending an ax comes through the wall. Rowan throws her down and the device says airlock opening. He drags her through the room and she grabs a surgical blade and stabs him in the leg, hits the button and sends the message. He takes the blade out of his leg, chasing her as she runs for something, and then sees her reflection. She grabs a rotating drill and brings it to her neck, with blood splattering on the windows. It then pans out to the outside of the ship to reveal the logo.
"To clarify that is the first few minutes of episode 1," Buhler said. "Not a spoiler. Welcome to the Nightflyer. There's a lot of unwrapping to get to the center of that mystery."
"That teaser is what was pitched," David Bartis said.prevnext
Getting To Know The Crew
One of the most important people on the Nightflyer is Melantha Jhirl, someone whose expansive skillset will come in handy when trying to get to the bottom of this mystery.
"Melantha is basically this really incredible woman who has spent her entire life not only training to be an astronaut and live off-planet," Jodie Turner-Smith said. "Earth is dying, but she was also introvert genetically engineered to live off planet. Her call is to get onto the Nightflyer, and as you saw in that clip it turns into a bloodbath."
"She is brought on as a second in command because she's been trained for space travel," Macken said. "The team is hand picked by D'Branin, so he brings them on to go and find these aliens. He picks people he can work with. From the start, the whole thing is kind of complicated, but Karl's obsessed with meeting these aliens."
Those aliens would be the Volcryn, an ancient race of aliens who predate just about everyone and have managed to live off the radar of most civilizations in the years since. This crew isn't exactly used to this type of thing though.
"The crew of the Nightflyer, they are used to building colonies," Buhler
said. "They go from Earth to Mars to the Moon. They use those giant domes you saw to help people live off-planet, so when he accepts this mission is far different than his normal goals."
A Hologram Captain
While D'Branin put together the team, the captain of the ship is Captain Roy Eris, though no one on the ship actually sees him in the flesh, as he is represented by a hologram.
"With Captain Aris being elusive, there's a whole backstory to his past," Ajala said. "One of the most challenging things for him is that he struggles with human interaction. He is a hologram, so it makes very passable things hard. You can't touch people even if you have affection for them. I think this journey and partnering up with Karl D'Branin lets him do something different and outside of his mother's shadow."
"We're not astronauts, we have no idea what to do in space," Macken said.
While things on Earth are bad, this isn't your typical post-apocalyptic setting.
"What's wrong with Earth. Not post apocalyptic Earth where no one can live," Buhler said. "Look at all the things that are happening right now. The idea was to paint a picture of earth where life isn't working anymore. it's not an apocalypse but it also isn't sustainable. Maybe there's something the Volcryn know that can help us turn it around and save our world. Should the human race be rushing to make colonies and spread the human race throughout the galaxy or is there some other way to solve these problems."prevnext
One More Clip
Another teaser clip plays.
Karl is looking at his daughter blowing on a flower. He says "we are going farther than anyone has ever known." She asks "why does it have to be you", and he says "because I found them. Our world is dying, but maybe we can save our families, our home, and the Nightflyer is our only chance." Shows the ship as they launch into space. Various members of the team can be seen struggling and bleeding, "there was something, it was alive". Shows all the cast individually, then segues to Karl seeing his little girl, but somethings wrong. "Do not bring the Nightflyer back to earth." Then someone says "I don't know what you are but I will find you." SYFY logo.
"When Nightflyers picks up, we are already past the point to survive as the human race," Jodie Turner-Smith said. "Our last ditch effort, we've already had for years others colonizing off-world, but the amount of people on Earth and the amount of places we can live as an environment is very small. We have to figure out a way to transplant the human race, and maybe these aliens can do it."
"We leaned heavily on the shoulders of the greats, and we weren't shy about pulling the themes and even some of the imagery," Buhler said. "There's a lot of 2001 in here, a lot of The Shining. The lenses were used to shoot Alien, I believe they were the actual lenses."0comments
Ajala was scared to say too much or else give away a spoiler, and while he didn't spoil anything he did give us an amazing hashtag.
"I went through the list our PR guy gave us and all I can say is my name is David," Ajala said. There are two things I did in preparation for this role, and one was that I was as supple and relaxed as possible. That included Yoga and break dancing. There's a lot of very cool stuff that I get to do, and it's going to sound very ambiguous, but otherwise, I'll give away spoilers." Thus the #ChocolateInSpace hashtag was born.prev