The Passage TV Show In The Works: What We Know About The Adaptation Of Justin Cronin's Story

the passage book cover

Fans of Justin Cronin's popular sci-fi trilogy The Passage are likely eager for updates on the planned adaptation for the story. It was originally supposed to be a movie, but has since been shifted to a TV show, which was recently ordered to series by Fox. We've put together as much information as we could dig up on the topic.

What Is The Passage?

Published in 2010, The Passage is the first book in a trilogy by Justin Cronin, which follows the start of an apocalypse triggered by government experimentation that leads to a vampire-like outbreak. The story begins with the start of that mayhem, then jumps decades ahead to what's left of humanity as they attempt to maintain some semblance of civilization and avoid death or infection by terrifying virals. More on that in a bit.

Wasn't The Passage Supposed To Be A Movie?

Yes, The Passage was originally lined up to be made into a movie. As of 2011, Matt Reeves was signed on to direct, and a script was in the works. As it often takes years to develop a book to the screen, it's not entirely surprising that updates were few and far between. At some point, the status of the adaptation's medium changed. Back in May 2016, author Justin Cronin mentioned in an interview that the planned Passage movie was actually being eyed for a "major television event" through FOX studios. And, from what Cronin says, it sounds like he thinks TV is the right format for the story.

So, The Passage Will Be A TV Show?

Actually, yes. In November 2016, Fox gave The Passage a pilot production commitment, and while that pilot didn't see the show getting to air the following television season, it clearly intrigued those at Fox. That pilot was retooled, with some cast and character changes, and reshot. This is the pilot that got The Passage a spot in the Fox lineup for sometime during the 2018-2019 TV season. Friday Night Lights' Liz Heldens and Felicity co-creator Matt Reeves are among the executive producers, along with David W. Zucker and Ridley Scott (through Scott Free Productions. Reeves is also on board to direct.

When Will The Passage Air?

This could change at any time, but, right now, Fox is planning to begin airing The Passage at some point in the fall of 2018.

Each pilot was presented to Fox, and those at the network then had to decide whether or not they wanted to move forward with it. Given the sci-fi and post-apocalyptic elements, budget was likely a big factor in Fox's decision as to whether or not to send this adaptation to series. Luckily for fans of the book trilogy, Fox decided, upon watching the revised pilot, that the project was right for its fall lineup.

What Is The Passage About?

The book begins at the start of the end of the world as we know it. A government experiment leads to a vampiric viral outbreak, which drastically depletes the population. Cut to the future, a century or so later, when humanity is clustered together in random places, trying not to get attacked by virals (the people who were turned by the virus). At the heart of the story is a girl named Amy, who could be the key to saving humanity. Other characters factor in, and Cronin takes his time to fill us in on their backgrounds throughout the books.

And, that's about as specific as I'll get on the plot. By the pilot's description, it sounds like the concept of the show would be similar or the same as it is in the book. Of course, there's always a chance (a likely one) that character, timelines and other subplot elements will be adjusted to suit the adaptation. These things are rarely page-for-page adaptations, after all. Fans of Justin Cronin's trilogy have gotten lucky again, because May 2018 actually brought us a trailer for the new show, and, from the looks of it, this adaptation will be a bit different. Take a look:

Is The Passage Better Off As A TV Show?

Honestly, I think it is. The Passage author Justin Cronin takes his time in introducing new characters and laying out their stories to give us a sense of who they are, and what motivates them. A TV series would ideally give Liz Heldens and the other writers the opportunity to pay a relatively similar amount of attention on the characters, so that the series can be a thriller, a horror, and a story of human survival all at once.

Who Will Star In The Passage?

If you're eager to learn who's lined up for the key roles, we've got you covered. In the pre-rampant virus time period, Bradford Wolgast, the FBI agent tasked with tracking down young Amy and bringing her in, is played by Pitch and Saved by the Bell vet Mark-Paul Gosselaar. Amy is portrayed by Saniyya Sidney of Fences, Hidden Figures and American Horror Story. The series has also cast Brianne Howey as Shauna Babcock, Vincent Piazza as Clark Richards, Emmanuelle Chriqui as Dr. Lila Kyle, Jamie McShane as Dr. Tim Fanning, Zach Appelman as Agent Phil Doyle, Caroline Chikezie as Dr. Major Nichole Sykes and Henry Ian Cusick as Jonas Lear.

Kelly West
Assistant Managing Editor

Kelly joined CinemaBlend as a freelance TV news writer in 2006 and went on to serve as the site’s TV Editor before moving over to other roles on the site. At present, she’s an Assistant Managing Editor who spends much of her time brainstorming and editing feature content on the site. She an expert in all things Harry Potter, books from a variety of genres (sci-fi, mystery, horror, YA, drama, romance -- anything with a great story and interesting characters.), watching Big Brother, frequently rewatching The Office, listening to Taylor Swift, and playing The Sims.