'Nightflyers' creator Jeff Buhler says there's more mystery to unravel, finale is 'just the beginning of where we would go'
In the first 5 minutes of the pilot, Buhler eliminated the big hoopla about who's dying and what turns out to be the horror element by revealing some important character deaths
To say that Jeff Buhler's SyFy series-adaptation of 'Nightflyers' diverges from the original book by George R R Martin would be a gross understatement, because the show diverges pretty significantly from the source material. But the root plot is the same, even though the subplots showcasing the progression of events seem to differ quite a bit.
Yet, this is exactly where Buhler's personal expertise comes into play because not only does he put up an equally riveting plot towards the culminating horrors of the space adventure, he also keeps viewers intrigued to the very end with a sense of mystery that most adaptations failed to execute.
In the first five minutes of the pilot, Buhler eliminates the big hoopla about who's dying and what exactly turns out to be the horror element of the show by revealing some important character deaths. With that out of the way, Buhler explained to us how he panned out the enigmatic finale, raising the scope for possible succeeding seasons of the show.
"The real mystery is about how we get there (the ending) and what changed," stated Buhler. "We cut back in time to the beginning of the mission, we meet everybody and they are wonderful, interesting, kind people who are all doing this mission for a different reason." This was elementary as Buhler believes it makes viewers "wonder how the do we get to place what we just saw in the first five minutes."
So, having omitted all the potential scope for intrigue and speculation about a story whose main aspect is mystery, one would think there's not much more to look forward to in the story. Yet that's not the case in Buhler's vision of 'Nightflyers.' He believes there are other significant reasons people would be hooked on to find more about these characters involved in the story's titular spaceship.
There has to be, because these characters are on a journey to outer space, reaching out for alien life in the hopes that they will be able to help human life survive on our home planet. "The thing really drew me to the series and the underlying work was that it was a way to approach the first discovery with aliens," explained Buhler.
He assured that the real mystery of the space horror slash psychological thriller is "the whole exploration and really getting into the debate about whether or not it's a wise move for human beings to colonize other planets, or whether there would be consequences to that, or whether or we even have the moral imperative to do so based on the way we've treated our own planet."
And, even though Buhler has tweaked the plot of 'Nightflyers' significantly with his own perceptions about humanity coming into contact with aliens, none of that was done brashly. To Buhler, his series "looks like a great vehicle to raise some questions about space exploration, to have characters that sat on different sides of the fence and believed differently about that (humans colonizing space) as opposed to just an inspirational space story." At the same time, Buhler said, "I was very careful to treat the underlying material with respect."
Of course, author Martin, known for his colossal hit 'Game of Thrones,' was involved in that process. "He finds it very intriguing," remarked Buhler. "He's worked with other authors and writers and he's a great collaborator." Buhler thinks Martin likes this new version of the tale, and even though he believes Martin should answer this himself, when they "went to screen a couple of episodes at his theater in Santa Fe, he brought all his family, and colleagues, and people who support him to watch the new show, and seeing him get up and talk about the show and how proud he was."
Speaking about the mystery of Buhler's 'Nightflyers,' especially to fans dying to know what happens next, the director assured that Martin himself is unaware of some of the mysteries about to unfold. "Watching his story take on yet another life after a 30,000-word story he rewrote himself, and then as a feature film for a while - I think it's fun for him," reflected Buhler.
And, for anybody unsure about where this space-adventure is about to take them next, Buhler believes the new show allows viewers "to see all the different places that we can push the story, to the unearth new characters and new ideas all to fit within the theme of what he (Martin) created."
When considering what next could possibly be on the cards for the crew members who all somehow died one by one on the spaceship, Buhler said the story's inherent ability to raise questions is what leaves scope for a sequel. "One of the reasons why I really fell in love with the book is at the end of the novella, you're left with a lot of questions about who the Volcryn are. Making the first contact does not answer a lot of questions. It actually raises more questions, and so, we very specifically add a number of characters to keep the core characters from George's novella alive, so that we could continue the story."
So it won't be entirely wrong to deduce that the biggest Christmas gift Buhler could give fans and viewers of 'Nightflyers', was him including a roadmap to its second season, right at the time he had pitched the first season of the show.
He admitted to having also added the direction for season three in there the very first time, and for those riddled with questions about what else could possibly happen, Buhler teased a potential season two saying: "It definitely picks up right where we left off and then digs deeper into some of the mysteries that we have uncovered. There's a lot that occurs in the last episode that is brand new, so I see that as the beginning of where we would go." And now with the show's lucrative Netflix deal, all we can do is cross our fingers for a season two!