'12 Monkeys' Boss Teases More Time Travel in "Epic" Second Season

12 Monkeys S01E07 Still - H 2015
Ben Mark Holzberg/Syfy

12 Monkeys S01E07 Still - H 2015

The CW's Legends of Tomorrow isn't the only time-traveling game in town.  

Speaking at NBC's Summer Press Day on Friday, 12 Monkeys showrunner Terry Matalas said the Syfy adaptation of the 1995 film will expand far beyond the present and the apocalyptic future heavily featured in season one.

"The scope spans hundreds of years, so it does feel a lot bigger," he told reporters. "This season is pretty epic in scope."

The series centers on a time traveler, Cole (Aaron Stanford), who travels from 2043 to present day to stop the release of a deadly virus that will kill 93.6 percent of the world's population.

The second season will see Cole and the rest of the team travel to the '40s, '50s, '70s and even briefly all the way back to World War I, among other eras. "These different time periods are a really great place to explore these characters emotionally," said Matalas, who called the disco era "a very romantic place to be."

With this increase in time travel with come an increased understanding about time travel — something that holds true on the show and behind the scenes as the writers attempted to deftly jump from one period to another.  

"When you're mapping that out, you have to make sure you're not running into yourself," Matalas said. "It’s a complicated writing process. It takes a lot, but we have a lot of fun doing it."

As for the characters themselves, Matalas said that virologist Cassandra (Amanda Schull) "is a lot tougher this season," which resulted in boxing lessons for the actress and a few bruised knuckles. Cole will also come back changed, and particularly a more optimistic leading man.

"He wants to save everybody. He becomes a hero and a leader," Stanford said. "He does believe in hope and that things can change for the better."

Newly promoted series regular Todd Stashwick, who plays Deacon, said many of the characters will return somewhat altered from season one. "They really take the characters that they establish in season one and turn them upside down in many ways," he said. "You get to see the softer side, the more compassionate side [of Deacon]. … He makes alliances and relationships that are unexpected."

The characters' changes, and other season two adjustments, will make it easy for new viewers to dive into season two. "We catch you up pretty quickly," says Matalas.

Although fans old and new will likely be lured in by the time travel, the "characters need to make you reach for the popcorn," Matalas said. "The core of the show is really the relationship between these characters and the romance."

12 Monkeys returns April 18 on Syfy. The season two premiere will be made available on Hulu, Syfy.com, the Syfy app and On Demand beginning April 4.