An abandoned parking lot was transformed into a zombie-infested prison for Image Comics’ “The Walking Dead’s” 10th Anniversary bash during Comic-Con International in San Diego. Guests were treated to an open bar and food served out of an area built to resemble the AMC drama’s prison set, with walkers mingling amongst the crowds, specialized areas set up for attendees to take photos with zombies and a live performance from the band Weezer.
An overgrown lawn took the place of the traditional red carpet, complete with walkers shambling about, waiting to attack each and every star upon their arrival. CBR News spoke with a number of the guests at the star-studded event, including Robert Kirkman, Chris Hardwick, Grant Morrison and Chad Coleman.
Kirkman was among the first celebrities to arrive, and the co-creator, writer and executive producer of the zombie epic quickly and readily told CBR that Rick Grimes and his band of survivors are about to face new threats. “Season 4 is gonna be really intense. It’s going to be a very different Rick Grimes, with very different priorities. As you can see from the teaser, it’s a very different prison, too. There’s a new threat on the horizon — something they never could have anticipated or prepared for. Something that’s not beatable, something they can’t handle. It’s one of the most deadly things they’ve ever faced.
“This is a new element thrown in that hasn’t appeared in the comics and it’s gonna change everything,” Kirkman said, explaining that while the danger is something very different from anything that’s occurred in the source material, the show will quickly return to its roots. “It doesn’t mean we’re gonna be straying from the comics for long; there’s lot of cool stuff from the comics that’ll make it into the show this season. Like all seasons, some things will be spot on, some will be completely different and some will be close enough that you’re not expecting them. That’s the way we’ll continue the show.”
“Walking Dead” executive producer David Alpert expanded on Kirkman’s Season 4 comments, saying that the survivor’s world will expand beyond the prison and Woodbury. “We need to see them journey to different places so we can go along with them. If you watch the teaser, you’ll get a hint of what’s to come. A couple fans might be able to piece it together, but we’ll see. We’ll be going to some really interesting places.”
Alpert also had cryptic remarks when asked to comment on recent set photos showing Andrew Lincoln, who plays Rick Grimes, with his hand in a bandage. “Well, in the comic book he only has one hand, so it might be something related to that — but I don’t know!”
As for Kirkman’s other comic-to-television adaptation optioned by AMC, “‘Thief of Thieves’ is still in development,” the writer said. “Sometimes that’s a short process; sometimes that’s a long process. For ‘The Walking Dead,’ it was five years, but we’re really very hopeful ‘Thief of Thieves’ will keep going and make it to series. Fingers crossed!”
“The Talking Dead” host Chris Hardwick was in attendance, and he was happy to give aspiring moderators advice on how to host a panel for Comic-Con. “The urge is to perform, and you really have to mash that down. [As a panel moderator], you’re there to be a friendly traffic cop. You can joke around a little bit ,but you really need to make it about the panel and leave plenty of time for fan questions so everyone can find out what they want to find out and see what they want to see.”
Hardwick also confessed to not always knowing exactly what the panels he moderates are about ahead of time, but quickly explained why this is a good thing. “There are some times where you haven’t seen the content of a panel before, because they either can’t release it or you’re not able to see it. A lot of times, I’m learning about the stuff along with the audience, which I think is good, actually. Nothing is telegraphed, that way. I am actually an audience member, and these are things that I want to know. I think it creates a bit of a more organic Q&A because I have the same viewpoint as the audience.”
Chad Coleman, who plays Tyrese, brought the subject of discussion back to “The Walking Dead,” dropping a few hints about his character’s expanded presence in the upcoming season. “Tyrese is definitely playing a bigger role [in Season 4]. You’ll be seeing a Tyrese you haven’t seen before. You’ll see something you haven’t seen.”
Asked about Tyrese’s infamously grisly end in the comics, the actor said he’s “very familiar with [it]. I’m totally against it!” And while Coleman “isn’t foolish enough to feel safe” for his character on the show, he doesn’t really mind not knowing what his ultimate fate will be. “I like [the danger]; it keeps me on my toes and appreciative of what’s happening now. Everybody knows they can get got, so just be in the moment. Stop worrying about it and hopefully you leave a legacy that other people appreciate. The life of the show will outlive its original broadcasting. That’s the best you can hope for.”
As for whether or not Tyrese will become best friends with Rick, like in the comics, Coleman actually indicated the opposite might happen. “You put two Lamborghinis on the racetrack, and stuff’s going to go down, no doubt about it. But stay tuned for that. I can only say as an actor, that to work with Andrew Lincoln at any point in time is a green light for me.”
The cast and crew of “The Walking Dead” weren’t the only celebrities checking themselves into the undead-infested prison for the evening, with comic book legend Grant Morrison among those stopping by to check out the festivities. Morrison, fresh off an epic, decade-long Batman run, followed up the news that there will not be a MorrisonCon 2 (“We wanted that to be a complete one-off, unique in space-time. Never again.”), he was more than happy to share his thoughts on which superhero he’d like to revamp next, now that he’s finished with the Dark Knight.
“The Flash is the only one left that I would still do,” the acclaimed writer said. “If I’m gonna do the Flash, I want to do it as a science-fiction story like ‘The Incredible Shrinking Man’ or Stephen King’s ‘Thinner’ or ‘The Fly,’ where you basically take a scientist and then subject him to a very simple equation. For Barry Allen, he’d just be getting faster and faster and faster — and what would that mean? Because somewhere up there is the speed of light, and when you hit the speed of light, basically all time stops and it’s the end. That’s the limit. So we’re watching this guy progress through it, faster and faster. By the end of Act 1, his clothes are burning off every time he moves, so he has to build himself a suit, and then he paints the suit red like a Ferrari and is just speeding around like he’s on coke all the time! I want to do that as a sci-fi story, but out of it comes the familiar image of the Flash. I think that’d be totally different, just taking it from a different angle.”
As the party kicked into full swing, the red carpet emptied with Weezer breaking into their signature song “My Name is Jonas,” the assembled partygoers joining all the zombies in attendance in nodding their heads and swaying to the beat.