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SDCC: “The Walking Dead” Cast & Crew Spread Season 6 Details, Previews & More

by  in TV News Comment
SDCC: “The Walking Dead” Cast & Crew Spread Season 6 Details, Previews & More

“The Walking Dead” stars Andrew Lincoln, Norman Reedus, Steven Yeun, Danai Gurira, Melissa McBride, Chandler Riggs, Sonequa Martin-Green, Michael Cudlitz, and Lennie James joined executive producer and showrunner Scott M. Gimple, executive producer Gale Anne Hurd, executive producer Dave Alpert and special effects makeup supervisor and executive producer Greg Nicotero on the main Hall H on Friday afternoon at Comic-Con International to discuss the upcoming sixth season of the show. Though scheduled to attend, executive producer Robert Kirkman was unable to make the panel due to a minor throat surgery that left him unable to speak temporarily.

Moderator Chris Hardwick of “The Talking Dead” fame opened the panel with a roar of approval from the audience. “This is technically the ‘Talking Dead’ panel if you think about it,” he joked.

Hardwick announced that season six will premiere on Sunday, October 11 at 9 pm with a 90-minute premiere, with “The Talking Dead” to follow at 10:30. AMC will also kick off a “Walking Dead” marathon at Sunday, July 26 at 2 pm so that fans who missed out on the previous season would have a chance to catch up.

Hardwick then rolled the official trailer for season six, which finds Rick (Lincoln) running down an abandoned street, dirty and bloody. He then bumps into Morgan and explains the sheltered nature of Alexandria. The shot cuts to Rick standing before the people of Alexandria, taking charge of the situation, only to be challenged by one of the not-so-docile town members. The trailer showed multiple quick cuts of the zombie hordes and the town members cowering. A line from Morgan implies that he will try to kick Rick out of Alexandria for good, which cuts to a shot of Rick holding a gun to Morgan’s head. It also featured an epic escape and takedown by Daryl Dixon. With a haunting song over it, the trailer met the thunderous applause of the audience.

“I heard a lot of gasps when someone pointed a gun at Daryl there,” Hardwick said. “I’m nervous too! I know what you would all do if something were to happen to him!”

Hardwick then introduced the cast members and crew one-by-one. Each of them wore a gray shirt with a picture of Kirkman on the front, to represent the missing executive producer. McBride took the stage with a plate full of cookies, referencing an ominous scene from the previous season.

“[Kirkman] is now here in T-shirt form,” Hardwick said, after explaining why “The Walking Dead” creator wasn’t in attendance.

“‘The Walking Dead’ premiere is going to Madison Garden,” Gimple announced. “All these people can be there! Go to www.amc.com/thewalkingdead to join us at the premiere in October.”

“This is a savvy audience that knows that we sometimes play with the truth in trailers,” Gimple said, responding to a question about Rick and Morgan’s relationship this season. “With the end of season six, [Rick] wanted everyone on board with him, and that went pretty well.”

“Aside from the person he shot,” Hardwick added.

Gimple agreed. “Things may not be as they seem, but Rick has to deal with the fact that things down with Rich and Pete.”

“There’s a little bit of flashback, there’s definitely some playing with time, but definitely not as much as last time,” he added.

Andrew Lincoln took the next question, which concerned Rick’s beard. “My wife doesn’t miss the beard, but I think that was one of the most weird filming days of my life. I had to shower naked in front of the crew of my show… You could see like two inches of my buttcrack. And then I had to shave in the mirror… doing it on camera was unbearable. Yeah, I miss that beard and I’m going to grow that back as soon as possible.”

“Steven Yeun told me I looked like I had a shrunken head,” Lincoln recounted.

“The beard on the show is really a metric of where Rick is at,” Gimple added. “I will say the beard will continue to inform. It’s a barometer of where Rick is at.”

“I think that there’s a respect between Deanna and Rick,” Lincoln shared.” In the last three or four episodes, you saw a man restraining himself to lead. He realizes he’s amongst innocents… I had a zombie shower at the end. When Pete came in, he slashes Reg and I shot him. It was an execution. I was going to do it anyway, but…”

“A lot of the themes we’re exploring is them [the Alexandrians] and us,” Lincoln explained.

“And then you have Morgan,” Hurd pitched in. “He is damn good fighting with that stick.”

“I’ve always yearned for more interaction between Carol and Michonne, because I just adore Carol,” Gurira revealed. “I think they’re two tactics of trying to handle this world couldn’t be more different. I think she’s catching up with where Carol is. I think she understands that what Carol is doing is for the protection of the group… but I don’t think Michonne agrees with what she’s doing. Michonne was really getting the landscape of where she was.”

“Throughout last season, we were broken down… and then Michonne started to see Glen getting broken down, and the idea that we could get to the point to where Michonne has been is very scary,” she added.

“From the moment of actually neutralizing Rick, I was like, ‘Wow, I have to punch Rick?!’ It was such a weird moment for me.”

“You did hit me,” Lincoln pitched in.

“That’s the take they used!” Gurira said in defense.

“I was completely lying about the flashback question earlier,” Gimple said, switching tracks. “I’m working on an episode that’s entirely a flashback. This is the truth.”

“I was completely lying about the flashback question earlier,” Gimple said, switching tracks. “I’m working on an episode that’s entirely a flashback. This is the truth.”

In response to a question about the tense scene with Nathanial at the end of the episode, Yueng joked, “He’s got beautiful eyes.” On a more serious note, he responded, “Glen is a better person than me. I also asked why I didn’t kill him. It’s layered; Glen is seeing a version of himself in him. Glen also see, in that moment, that he has one. It serves no function in that moment to kill him, except for himself, and if he crosses that threshold… he saw another iteration of himself if he lived in those walls. It was a chance of hopefully him being redeemed. It was mostly Glen trying to save himself… Glen was trying to save any part of the old world that he could.”

“Lauren couldn’t be here because she’s visiting family, but know that she loves every single one of you,” Yeun added. “They overlap on many things, and one of those things is to hold on to that semblance of humanity they have so that they can be together in this world.”

When asked what he thought Morgan was doing between all these seasons, James said, “We’ll find out what Morgan has been doing with himself this season. He’s been trying to find Rick, and he kind of wishes he hadn’t.”

“Morgan and Rick have a particular kind of man love, and I think the fact that Morgan has gone to find Rick… Rick is the last person alive on the planet that knows Morgan… that’s why he goes to find him. They meet in such an important moment at the end of the last season, and there will be fallout from that,” James added.

“I think he sees Alexandria as a restart button,” Riggs said of his character. “He kind of went into shock when he went to in that room [at Alexandria]. I think for him, he sees their vulnerability. People still need to know how to survive in case they want to survive outside those walls. He has sympathy for the kids living in Alexandria, and he wants to show them how life is outside the walls.”

“Michonne is the one person in that place that gets how it is outside the wall, so he relates to her, so that’s why he enjoys going outside the wall with her. I don’t know how they’d react if they found out,” Riggs added.

“It’s probably better that Michonne never knows,” Gurira said slyly. “She was always kind of able to relate to him as a friend. You can’t say to him, ‘You can’t leave here!’ I think she would find that to be a disrespectful way to treat him. But she wants him to be safe.”

“I hope Sonya finds healing in season six,” Martin-Green pitched in. “It’s been an honor to play someone with PTSD. You hope there is light at the end of the tunnel, and not just live but thrive. I hope she finds a way to respond to correctly to the deaths of her most loved ones. If she were to get to that healed place, she’d see that she didn’t respond correctly… It’s time to actually pay homage to their lives and live with hope, they way they wanted me to.”

When asked about the most difficult part of Carol’s presence in Alexandria, McBride responded. “I think having her cover blown. She had important work to do, discovering who these people are. I think the biggest challenge was keeping my cover.”

“I think every death is harder and fuels the fire,” she added, when asked about Tyrese’s death. “She can’t stand around and watch people die. She has to do whatever she can to help people. She’s not a cold-blooded killer, she just wants to keep going.”

Cudlitz got the next question about his favorite aspect of his character. “Just his purse honesty. It just is what it is. There’s no filter. There’s no agenda. There’s no nothing oging on behind the scenes. What you see is what you get. If you don’t like it, it’s too fucking bad.”

“He does get the best dialogue on the show,” Nicotero pitched in.

Reedus was next up with a question about getting in character. “A lot of Motorhead. A lot of coffee. I play Candy Crush a lot. I’m so into it, it’s ridiculous. I spend hundreds of dollars.” He also revealed that the red balloon is his favorite balloon. “Are these really my fucking questions?” he added.

He got a more serious question the next time around, about the darkest season for Daryl. “It changes all the time. Where we ended up last time when Morgan comes back with us, we had that scene just before that that was Carol and Rick and I… there’s a little bit of darkness all over the place that pops up all the time.”

Nicotero then received a text from Lauren Cohan, who wasn’t in attendance, with a request and passed the phone to Yeun to read. “I miss not being there with you all at our 6th Comic-Con. Everyone who is in here is what drives us… we thank you and love you so much.”

The panel then rolled the gag reel, which Nicotero introduced. “The show is always so serious, so whenever we have a chance to do something light, we mark the bloopers and screen the bloopers at the end as a relief.”

At that point, the floor opened for questions, with the first fan asking if the cast was afraid more of afraid of the Omega Heard of the Wolves.

“I’m not afraid of anyone,” Lincoln said.

“They should be afraid of us,” Yeun added.

“Bring it!” Cudlitz pitched in. “I’m more concerned with the living than the dead.”

“I think we’re all pretty excited to come back. It’s crazy. I’ve been working on the show for most of my life,” Riggs said to a round of laughter. “I love this show.”

Alpert announced actor Ethan Embry had joined the show in an as-yet undisclosed role

“My mom is desperate for Rick and Michonne to get together,” Lincoln said when asked about the relationship between the two characters. “Michonne is a fellow warrior. He respects her so much. He trusts her with his life and with his children’s lives. He can be checked by her.”

“For Michonne, he was the one who checked her in the very beginning,” Gurira added. “SHe was kind of bug wild. That whole moment where she knew she had to change was because of him.”

“I think we’ve all had pretty intense scenes, and it’s one of those things we have to pull ourselves through,” Riggs said when asked about his acting technique.

“These guys live a horror movie every week, and they’ve been doing that for six years,” Gimple shared.

The next question was intended for Reedus from a Daryl cosplayer. Reedus immediately jumped up to take a photo before the fan asked if what Reedus thought was in store for Daryl this season. “He doesn’t like Alexandria at all. He wanted out… he found a group. That might get crazy later. He gets tested quite a bit.”

Nicotero also revealed some shots of walkers from the upcoming season. “Every year, we go for more and more rot. One day, we had 300 walkers.”

“This really is our year to celebrate the fan.. our partners at Fox International will be premiering it within 125 countries within 24 hours of the premiere. All you fantastic fans out there will get to see it soon after,” Hurd announced, and the panel officially drew to a close as Hardwick rolled the trailer one more time.

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