12 Monkeys: Four Ways Syfy’s TV Series Will Diverge From The Movie

By David Wharton | 7 years ago

DeathCole isn’t haunted by visions of his own death
In Gilliam’s movie (and La Jeteé, the 1962 short film that inspired it), Cole has been obsessed with a childhood memory where he witnessed a man shot to death in an airport. One of the most unforgettable sequences in the 12 Monkeys movie is the climactic finale, with Cole (Bruce Willis) and Kathryn Railly (Madeleine Stowe) racing through an airport, trying to stop a man from boarding a plane, after which he will unleash the deadly disease that will birth Cole’s dystopian future. That sequence ends with Cole being shot dead, and in his final moments making eye contact with a young boy nearby…his younger self.

It’s a brilliant bit of closed-loop narrative and a powerful scene, one underlying the film’s grim take on time travel: there’s no changing the past, there’s only witnessing it happen. (The Doctor might have called the whole thing a “fixed point in time.”)

Film Divider says there’s no trace of the incident that so impacted young Cole in the pilot, and “the show’s narrative drive is entirely about Cole heading back in time to investigate the virus that wiped out six billion people.” So it sounds like the series doesn’t have Cole (played in the series by Aaron Stanford) predestined for doom…or if he is, they’re at least not revealing that right out of the gate. Which brings us to another major change…

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