With AMC's Fear The Walking Dead in the midst of its third season, the show has returned to Comic-Con International in San Diego -- specifically, the massive and infamous Hall H -- for a Friday midday panel highlighting the latest in the west coast-set Walking Dead spinoff series.
Scheduled to be in attendance: Cast members Kim Dickens, Frank Dillane, Alycia Debnam-Carey, Mercedes Mason, Colman Domingo, Dayton Callie, Sam Underwood, Daniel Sharman and Michael Greyeyes, along with executive producer and showrunner Dave Erickson, executive producer and franchise creator Robert Kirkman, executive producer Gale Anne Hurd, executive producer Dave Alpert and executive producer/special effects makeup supervisor Greg Nicotero. Moderator, naturally, is Talking Dead host Chris Hardwick.
CBR is there live, so keep hitting refresh for the latest details.
Chris Hardwick opened the panel with a moment of silence for Jon Bernecker, The Walking Dead stuntman who lost his life in an on set accident last week. He also announced he would not be moderating The Walking Dead panel. but that the cast would lead it themselves to honor their lost friend.
Producers Dave Erickson, Robert Kirkman, Gale Anne Hurd, Dave Alpert and Greg Nicotero opened the discussion by talking about the overall themes of the third season. Dave Erickson opened by talking about the inspiration behind Walker and the Native American storyline, and that one of the main themes is appropriation and reappropriation.
Gale Anne Hurd spoke on Strand's role and whether or not we'll get more of the bigger pieces of whats going in the larger world:
Who's going to know what's going on in the world better than someone who's circling the globe? ... Not only has Strand lost Abigail and Abigail the boat, but now he's realized that there's no place they can go to where life is normal. I think they've come to the realization that they'll have to forge their own community.
Regarding possible connections between the two sister shows, Robert Kirkman said in regard to Madison that, "the Dixon family is splintered, but it's entirely possible there's a connection [between her and possibly Carol or one of the other Alabama characters from The Walking Dead.
As for possible crossovers, get hype - Robert Kirkman wants to:
I think that it's something we would love to try and work out. It is something that is very complicated because of that [time] gap.
So, there is a chance.
As for the second half of the season premiering Sunday, September 10th, Dave Erickson gave us all pause when he described it as "Bolder, bloodier, and more zombie than we ever have before." Chris Hardwick then pointed out that fit's humans who cause more problems than the Walkers and Robert Kirkman joked that "the original title was 'Humans! They ain't so great!'"
The producer panel ended with the release of the midseason trailer which confirmed the heavier presence of more Walkers swarming the camp, infighting between the Ranch and Walker's community, not to mention a heavy emphasis on the importance of sharing supplies vs. maintaining separate communities, against the backdrop of Madison's camp running out of water in six weeks and other members of the ranch insisting on arming.
After the actors entered, Kim Dickens discussed Madison's newly-revealed past as a woman who murdered her abusive father. She joked at one point that "She's a natural born killer," but seriously talked about her childhood preparing her for her present. As for how she maintains a balance between her humanity and doing what needs to be done to surive, she said this about Madison: "She does have to trade in brutality as I think Madison is transitioning from protecting her children... to protecting the ranch."
As for how she'll reign it in and not let power go to Madison's head? " The bad is only used when necessary for the greater good."
Coleman Domingo spoke briefly on Strand's journey as both a breaking down and a building up of the character. He's slowly learning to trust people, and spoke of his smile at watching the Abigail go up in flames signaling his willingness to rebuild a new world and finally have some hope for the future.
In speaking to and about Frank Dillane, Dave Erickson spoke about how Nick was adapting and getting changed by the Apocalypse, but also the fact that his mother is changing before his eyes, perhaps to something he's not entirely comfortable with the more willing she is to be violent and cutthroat. As for his sister, Alycia Debnam-Carey, when it comes to Alicia's relationship with Jake, she spoke about the the social media backlash at her seemingly automatic pairing with him and the implied sexism inherent in it:
A young person trying to just be normal and filling in some of the gaps she missed in college and in her youth... It is a natural part of life, wanting to have companionship... It doesn't have to ground my entire existence.
Sam Underwood chimed in with our favorite quote so far: "The show is very good at [pointing out] that women don't need men to survive." When it came to his own character, he described Jake as someone who knows that "Civilization needs to include civility," explaining that the character reminds the audience that while the world in the show is going poorly, humanity can't let themselves go with it.
As for Troy and his... complicated relationship with Madison, Daniel Sherman had this to say:
He understands that he's still being played..., but Troy is as much playing that game as she is. He's [just] enjoying the fact of Madison's being there.
Mercedes Mason discussed her character's evolution to a "bit of a badass" and how excited she is to meet back up with Salazar and "go on a killing spree." Now that her father's dead, it's probably more possible. Oh, if you guys are wondering what Dayton Calle misses most about playing Otto? "I guess being a loving, caring, understanding father will be the hardest part to let go."
The Q&A had plenty of fun moments including Hall H singing happy birthday to Alycia Debnam Carey and the cast talking about whether or not they ever have zombie nightmares (Yes. Lots.). In terms of actionable information, we did get some details about Travis and whether or not we would learn his fate. Dave Erickson confirmed that we would not see an infected Travis given that Cliff Curtis is busy with a little project called Avatar. However, he teased that perhaps in season four see what happened to Elena and Co. and whether or not they survived that bloody confrontation.
That's all for Fear the Walking Dead at SDCC2017!