There are three months to go before The Walking Dead returns to AMC for its eighth season, but that's not too early for the show's cast and executive producers to converge on Friday at Comic-Con International in San Diego's Hall H, for a panel highlighting what to expect when the show returns on Oct. 22.
Scheduled to be in attendance: Series stars Andrew Lincoln, Norman Reedus, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Lauren Cohan, Danai Gurira, Melissa McBride, Lennie James, Chandler Riggs, Seth Gilliam, Alanna Masterson and Khary Payton, alongside executive producer and showrunner Scott M. Gimple, franchise creator and executive producer Robert Kirkman, executive producer Gale Anne Hurd, executive producer Dave Alpert and executive producer/special effects makeup supervisor Greg Nicotero.
CBR is there live, so keep hitting refresh for the latest details.
The Walking Dead panel began with a beautiful tribute to John Bernecker led by showrunner Scott M. Gimpole as the panel will moederate themselves to honor their friend, the stuntman who passed away this week. After some very kind owrds about Bernecker's long career, many credits and love of storytelling, the season eight trailer was dropped. It started slowly with a percussive soundtrack free of dialogue as the rival communities prepare for war. We see no actual conflict, but Negan opens the trailer with a sick smile and asks Stokes if he's got his "sh*tting pants on," so it's safe to say it won't be pretty.
Applause-worthy shots included Daryl on a motorcycle firing a gun behind him with a smile and the subsequent explosion, and Carol legit looking like a SWAT officer in full body armor and a serene smile on her face as she prepares to defend what they've built. Toward the end, Rick's voiceover declares firmly that they will protect their world and eliminate those who would steal, use each other and in general be terrible.
Then, and this is important, the trailer abruptly ends on a shot of a cane, then cuts to Rick Grimes' aged face lying in bed. It's either a dream sequence or Rick. Grimes. Surives. To. Old. Age.
After that, the panel moved straight to audience Q&A. When asked what he liked most about Negan, Jeffery Dean Morgan said that he enjoyed how amusing Negan is and how much fun he has, and as for what he didn't like? "The fact that he wears a leather jacket in 100 degree weather." Fair.
Everyone sobbed inside a little when Lauren Cohan was asked what wisdom Glenn would want Maggie to impart to their baby, and she commented that his fortitude and positivity in the face of such incredible adversity would be on the top of her list. No, no, YOU'RE crying. On a more positive note, the entirety of Hall H made fun of how Andrew Lincoln pronounces "Carl" (Co-ral) by demonstrating his accent en-masse.
Was for what everyone would want to see on the show, Khary Payton simply wants to get to the damn capital. "It's right there! Let's go!" he exclaimed.
A fan asking a practical question gave us our favorite quote of the panel when he asked about the FCC and how they deal with Negan's language. Apparently, there's usually a fight many of his lines. Or, all of them, according to Jeffrey Dean Morgan.
All of them. All of them. We are allowed seven 'shits' like one 'goddamn,' like zero 'fucks.' And as you know [they've] written a character who likes that word a LOT.
As for whether or not we'd see any new characters this season, Gimple did confirm that that would happen, but we have no details. He offered to take suggestions from the audience, but none were immediately forthcoming.
The final question was "what would it take for your individual character to turn into someone like Negan?" which lead Khary Payton say what he loves most about the show, "Everyone is in a horrible circumstance, but not everyone chooses to act like Negan." With that, we saw the trailer one more time, and it was a wrap.
Season 8 premieres on October 2nd, so get some sh*ttin' pants and saddle up. It's going to be intense.