Syfy’s 12 Monkeys is in an… interesting situation. The show has already been renewed for a fourth and final season, but season three—which premieres tonight, May 19, at 8:00 pm ET—is going to air in its entirety over the course of this weekend! We talked to star Amanda Schull, who plays Cassandra Railey, about this unusual release and what’s next, now that her character is pregnant with the messiah of her greatest enemies.
io9: Where is Cassie at the start of this season?
Amanda Schull: Cassie is lower than we have ever seen her at the start of season three. She is alone, stranded from any family, carrying the prophet of the people she despises most in the world. What’s even worse is that she now knows that it is her very own child who is the architect of the destruction of the universe; something she has been desperately fighting to prevent.
It seems like your character has had the most dramatic arc from a skeptical, present-day doctor to a hardened warrior in the post-apocalypse. Where’s she’s going next?
Schull: Cassie is incredibly adaptable. She is able to navigate every time period in which she finds herself, and does it pretty seamlessly! I think season three finds Cassie the most at odds with herself. Of all the scenarios and times she has lived, the most terrifying is the one in which she is the mother of the Witness.
What does being the mother of the Witness, the leader of the Army of the 12 Monkeys, mean for Cassie?
Schull: She worries the soul of her own flesh and blood is destined to be evil. She is terrified that she created the most evil creature known to man.
Beyond the normal time travel action and doom prophecies, the idea of family seems to be at this season’s center.
Schull: Cassie is without family at the start of the season. She is being held hostage by her enemies with the possibility of never being with family again. I think that leaves her a lot of time to think about who her family has become over the last couple of years and what she will do to protect them.
Cassie also spends a lot of this season thinking about all the things she could change with time travel. Why now? Can she actually be successful?
Schull: Cassie realizes what is at stake this season from a perspective that she never has had before. She is now a mother. To be more precise, she is the mother of the Witness. That reality causes her do things and make choices that she would never have made before.
Even though the events of season three are extremely serious, there are still some great moments of comedy in this season. Do you have a favorite?
Schull: There is a sequence in the eighth episodes between Cassie and Cole that portrays them in a light they don’t always get to show. I think in a very short amount of time we get to see the playfulness and love between the two of them amidst all the high stakes drama in which they are submerged.
Another fun time was the ‘80s episode that we did, [episode five]. From the moment we all saw each other in our costumes it was a nonstop laugh fest.
How do you think whole season being released over three days will change the viewing experience?
Schull: Audiences are accustomed to binge watching television now. We like the immediacy of a whole season released in one day to be able to watch at our leisure. I think that our show in particular is very binge-friendly. Our plots and twists and cliffhangers will be easily carried from one episode to the next with less downtime than the standard seven days.
How does the knowledge you’re heading into the final season affect the energy of the show? And what can you say about where season four picks up from season three?
Schull: I have lived every moment and every episode as if it were the last one. The fact is that you never truly know when your last opportunity will be to live in the skin of these amazing characters through these fantastic stories. I think having this be the final season has really encouraged the writers to go for broke, stretching their imaginations and ambitions for the show.
What was it like to have Back to the Future’s Christopher Lloyd on the set of your time travel show?
Schull: Everyone was very excited to have Christopher on the show. I was lucky enough to get a couple of scenes with him, and he was absolutely fantastic.