When TNT adapted the Snowpiercer graphic novel for television – which had previously been made into a movie by Bong Joon Ho, of course – the main advantage was that they could show so much more of the 1,000 car, 10 mile long train. The production designers created around 20 of the cars in stunning detail, custom making every element, including the furniture.
The train is the beating heart of Snowpiercer. Every surviving human being on Earth lives aboard the train, after the globe has frozen. The rear of the train contains a slave-like prison population, and the front of the train contains the rich and powerful. Some of the cars in the TV series feature other elements, such as a two-floor club called the Night Car, a greenhouse full of plants and flowers, and an artists’ quarter called the Chains, which has a market which looks like something out of Blade Runner.
As production designer Barry Robison explained to Architectural Digest before the first season launched in 2020, and before he knew that we’d now be expecting a Snowpiercer season 4 – “In a 10-episode series, we could really delve into small details on something glossed over in a movie.”
In the thriller series, we also see the second and third class areas – not just first class and the tail section, which is all we really see in the movie. This means that there’s a more gradual build-up to the outrageous luxury of the first class area.
Robison explained about the materials used in the train; “We wanted it to be very analog,” In fact, the network’s orders for the sci-fi series were somewhat surprising. He was forbidden from using chrome in the build because “it looks too sci-fi.” In favor of chrome, a material that Robison did chose to work with was copper. “We used copper throughout the train, but in first-class it’s polished and refined with high, high lacquer.”
The best moment for Robison came when the one of the best directors ever, who was behind the 2013 science fiction movie Snowpiercer actually visited the set and gave it his blessing. “Bong Joon Ho came to see the train and was very complimentary. That’s the ultimate—no question about it.”
While we wait for Snowpiercer season 4, check out our guide to the best horror series and fantasy series. We’re looking forward to House of the Dragon season 2, Wednesday season 2 and Demon Slayer season 4.