While the series can’t claim to include the likes of Tilda Swinton and Chris Evans – as was the case in the film version – there is nevertheless an impressive, and sizeable, cast of stars appearing in the show.
Here’s a guide to each of the major characters, and some details about where you might have seen the actors before…
Jennifer Connelly plays Melanie Cavill
Who is Melanie Cavill? Melanie is one of the most powerful figures on the train, serving as the head of hospitality, the voice of the train, and – most importantly – the second in command to the mysterious Mr Wilford. She is also keeping a major secret from the train’s passengers…
What else has Jennifer Connelly been in? Connelly made her screen debut way back in 1984 at the age of just 14, appearing in Once Upon a Time in America, and went on to appear in a number of films in the ’80s including Dario Argento’s Phenomena and musical fantasy film Labyrinth.
Highlights from her film career include acclaimed roles in Requiem for a Dream, Blood Diamond and A Beautiful Mind – the latter of which saw her win an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. More recently she had a supporting role in Alita: Battle Angel, while Snowpiercer marks her first small-screen role in nearly two decades.
Daveed Diggs plays Andre Layton
Who is Andre Layton? One of the residents in the tail section of the train – where the least privileged passengers redise, Layton is seen as something of a leader amongst those who want to start a revolution to end Snowpiercer’s rigid class system. He was a detective in his past life, and this proves important when he is asked to solve a murder case further up the train…
What else has Daveed Diggs been in? Diggs remains most well-known for his work in musical theatre – he was part of the original cast of big Broadway hit Hamilton, in which he played the roles of Marquis de Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson – seeing him claim both a Tony Award and a Grammy Award.
As far as work for the screen goes, he wrote, produced and starred in the 2018 film Blindspotting, had recurring roles on sitcoms Black-ish and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and has appeared in films including Wonder and Velvet Buzzsaw – while he will also voice a character in the upcoming Pixar feature Soul.
Alison Wright plays Ruth Wardell
Who is Ruth Wardell? Wardell the second-in-command in the train’s hospitality department – working directly for Melanie Cavill. Amongst her duties is the role of preventing revolution in the less privileged sections of the train – something which is much easier said than done. She is very against the idea of structural change on the train, and is seen to worship the mysterious Mr Wilford.
What else has Alison Wright been in? Wright’s most prominent role to date was on hit spy drama The Americans – with her portrayal of Martha Hanson garnering her a nomination for an Emmy Award in 2017. Other screen appearances include a recurring role on Sneaky Pete, one episode on Ryan Murphy’s Netflix series Hollywood and a supporting role in 2016 movie The Accountant.
Mickey Sumner plays Bess Till
Who is Bess Till? Bess is a brakesman on the train and part of Snowpiercer’s security force. She has begun to question the train’s rigid class system – especially since her recent move to second class to be with a romantic partner and later her introduction to Layton.
What else has Mickey Sumner been in? Sumner has racked up credits in a range of films since her big screen debut in 2012, with highlights on her CV including roles in a series of Noah Baumbach films including Frances Ha, The Meyerowitz Stories and Marriage Story as well as parts in American Made and Battle of the Sexes. Her TV roles have been less frequent – but she did appear in crime drama Low Winter Sun in 2013.
Iddo Goldberg plays Bennett Knox
Who is Bennett Knox? Bennett is the long term engineer of Snowpiercer, who works closely with Melanie Cavill – and is one of her foremost allies.
What else has Iddo Goldberg been in? Goldberg may be familiar to fans of Peaky Blinders – he appeared as Freddie Thorne in the first series of the Birmingham gangster saga. Other roles include main parts on Secret Diary of a Call Girl and horror series Salem, while he recently appeared in three episodes of the third season of Westworld.
Susan Park plays Jinju Seong
Who is Jinju Seong? Jinju is the Head Agricultural Officer aboard the train and one of the elite passengers.
What else has Susan Park been in? Snowpiercer is arguably Park’s biggest role to date, but she has appeared in a number of TV shows in supporting roles including season one of Fargo, five episodes of Fresh Off the Boat and two episodes of Hawaii Five-0.
Katie McGuinness as Josie Wellstead
Who is Josie Wellstead? Josie is a “tailie” and has adopted Miles as his own son, given that his parents did not make it onto the train. She is also very close friend – and sometimes lover – of Layton, and is much admired amongst her fellow tailies.
What else has Katie McGuinness been in? You might recently have seen McGuinness in two episodes of Hollywood – but Snowpiercer marks her first major role on a TV show.
Sam Otto plays John Osweiller
Who is John Osweiller? John is a young brakeman who goes about keeping order on the train in a somewhat militant manner – he was a footballer in his life before boarding the train.
What else has Sam Otto been in? Otto entered the spotlight in 2017 when he played one of the leads on Channel 4 series The State, while further appearances include roles in miniseries Collateral and 2019 film The Flood.
Sheila Vand plays Zarah Ferami
Who is Zarah Ferami? Zarah is Layton’s ex-wife who escaped the tail section of the train to work in the Nightcar in Third Class. She has recently been living in solitary confinement after emerging as one of the suspects for the murders that Layton has been charged with solving.
What else has Sheila Vand been in? Vand’s most high-profile role remains her appearance in Ben Affleck’s Best Picture winner Argo, while other credits include the lead in horror film A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night and a main role on TV series 24: Legacy.
Mike O’Malley plays Roche
Who is Roche? Roche is the leader of the brakesman, and is unhappy that Layton has been called on to help solve the murder case. He is particularly resentful of the tailies, comparing them to rats.
What else has Mike O’Malley been in? O’Malley started his showbiz career presenting children’s TV, before starring in his own NBC sitcom titled The Mike O’Malley Show. He also starred as Burt Hummel in Glee – a role which saw him nominated for an Emmy, while more recently he has starred in episodes of shows including The Good Place and The Morning Show.
Annalise Basso plays LJ Folger
Who is LJ Folger? LJ is one of the youngest characters living in the train’s first class – and has a penchant for causing chaos. She becomes caught up in the murder mystery that Layton is asked to solve.
What else has Annalise Basso been in? Basso has made appearances in a range of films including Bedtime Stories and Ouija: Origin of Evil. TV credits include an episode of Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams and a regular role on drama series The Red Road. She appeared in 2017 film Captain Fantastic opposite Viggo Mortensen.
Jaylin Fletcher plays Miles
Who is Miles? Miles is a young boy living in the tail end of the train who uses his chance at an apprenticeship to gather information from the front to relay to Layton. Speaking exclusively to RadioTimes.com, Fletcher described his character as a “very optimistic, intelligent, and talented person”.
What else has Jaylin Fletcher been in? This is the most major role to date for young actor Fletcher, who is also set to appear in the upcoming Netflix series Clickbait.