“It’s weird that you’re standing if it’s just gonna be me,” “The Walking Dead” creator Robert Kirkman told moderator Chris Hardwick at the start of the Talking Dead panel Saturday at Image Expo in Oakland, California. Hardwick, who was standing at his moderator’s podium next to Kirkman, is the regular host for AMC’s “The Walking Dead” TV series recap show, “Talking Dead.” Kirkman then stood up next to Hardwick and tried to share his mic for a few minutes but the small podium proved not to be large enough for both men.
Actors Steven Yuen and Norman Reedus were also supposed to be at the panel, but both ran late, requiring Hardwick and Kirkman to warm up the audience for about ten minutes before the actor’s arrived. “Soon the panel will be starting, this is just the pre-show,” joked Hardwick.
“People came in after I said what I was doing after I came up here to share the mic with you, so they just walked in and saw us [sharing the podium] like it’s normal,” joked Kirkman.
“Robert and I have a unique relationship,” added Hardwick.
Hardwick said he appreciated the fact that Image Expo is a comic book exclusive convention and didn’t have very many TV and movie booths and panels. “I bought a crap load of art last night from people and you can talk to people,” Hardwick said. “It’s really nice.”
Kirkman told the audience that he “just sent a text to Steven Yuen. I just said ‘panel?’ and he went ‘yup.'” By this point the panel had been underway for five minutes.
Kirkman and Hardwick continue to joke with each other and the audience while waiting for the wayward actors to arrive.
“While you’re here, can you tell us all about Season Three in detail?” asked Hardwick.
“I can tell you something big about Season Three,” replied Kirkman. “It was totally announced yesterday that a fine British actor by the name of David Morrissey is gonna be playing [crowd cheers,] I don’t even have to say it. He is gonna be playing the Governor in Season Three.”
Hardwick then asked Kirkman how he is able to keep straight what happens in the comic book and what happens in the show. Before Kirkman could reply, though, Steven Yuen and Norman Reedus, who play Glenn and Daryl Dixon on “The Walking Dead,” respectively, walked in the door.
“Ladies and gentlemen, Stephen Yuen and Norman Reduuuusssssssss!” shouted Kirkman from the stage as they walked up. Reedus began throwing snap-bombs around the room as he walked up and Yuen threw a fart-bomb in to the crowd as well, which emitted a horrible smell that required several people to switch seats.
“It’s pyrotechnics!” said Kirkman.
The panel was then interrupted for a few minutes as they all tried to come to terms with the fart-bomb stink that was now permeating the room, forcing some to leave their seats.
“I can also tell you that in Season Three, Glenn and Daryl die now,” said Kirkman as he tried to escape the fart fumes.
“It actually happens between two and three, you don’t get to see it happen,” added Hardwick.
“You should be ashamed of yourself,” chided Kirkman to Yuen as the panel continued to complain about the smell.
“On the street, Norman and I were walking back with these things, and we were like, ‘This is such a good idea!'” confessed Yuen.
“This is what zombies smell like,” said Hardwick.
The panel discussed the two episodes that have aired since the show returned from its mid-season hiatus. Daryl and Sophia’s storylines in particular seemed to resonate highly with both Reedus and Hardwick.
“I think that [Daryl] finding Sophia cleared up a lot of the ghosts in his closet,” said Reedus.
Reedus then changed the topic to Internet slang, asking the audience what the term ‘ship’ meant, while revealing he had just discovered what ‘fap’ meant. An audience member told him it was short for ‘relationship.’
“If the ship doesn’t work out, you can always fap!” said Hardwick.
“This is kind of the turning point for everyone, when we find Sophia,” said Yuen. Hardwick said he thought Yuen’s character was the hopeful one of the group.
“Glenn is kind of the man,” said Hardwick. “He goes in to wells, he has sex with farmer’s daughters in pharmacies, it’s like sex, sex, sex, zombie kill. That’s man stuff. That’s what men do.”
Yuen joked that he kept his arms so tiny so he doesn’t appear like the manly one in the group too much.
“You haven’t really seen anything yet, the stuff coming up [in season two] is so much crazier,” said Kirkman.
“It’s all fireworks from here on out,” agreed Yuen.
“Tomorrow night’s episode is gonna be a pretty big blowout. There’s a little bit of fisticuffs going on between someone whose first name starts with an ‘R’ and someone else whose first name starts with an ‘S’,” said Kirkman. “That’s gonna be pretty explosive. From there, there’s just a whole lot of crazy coming.”
Talking about what else is coming up on the show, Kirkman said, “like the comic book, the zombies are eventually going to be a manageable threat and it’s the other people in this world that they’re really going to have to look out for.”
Reedus said he thinks his character likes being around other people. “He’s starting to feel good about his interactions with other people. It’s his coming out party in a way.”
Yuen said it was just “human nature to survive” that kept people going in the awful world of “The Walking Dead.”
Kirkman then joked about when guitarist Dave Navarro came on “The Talking Dead” and criticized some aspects of the show. The fact that he was complaining, though, was just testament to how much Navarro loved the show. “He’s a fan and he’s very passionate,” said Hardwick.
“He would not be having that conversation if he didn’t absolutely love the show,” agreed Kirkman.
Hardwick asked Kirkman about Hershel’s backstory on the show. “I like to think he was this guy, this wild and crazy, kind of bad ass guy. Later in life, he settled down and became the guy that we met. The quieter, calmer, more reserved Hershel,” said Kirkman.
Hardwick then opened up the panel to questions from the floor.
Kirkman said that while David Morrissey was not the only actor they considered for the role of the Governor, he is confident that it is the perfect fit for the character. “It was a lot of work to get David Morrissey, he is definitely the right guy.”
Hardwick asked how Season Three would be different from what we’ve seen so far. “I think that what we’ve seen so far is very much a good indication of what you’re going to be seeing in Season Three,” answered Kirkman.
“We just pitched Season Three to AMC,” revealed Kirkman.
Kirkman also touched on the differences between the show and the comic saying “there’s always gonna be some character[s] who weren’t in the comic, like Dave and Tony, who were very long-lived characters in the eighth episode.”
“There’s definitely no character in the comic that we’ve gone, ‘Oh yeah, we’re never gonna put that guy in,'” he added.
There’s never been a lot of pushback or debate from other writers in the writer’s room except, Kirkman joked, that he now wants to shave off Glenn and Daryl’s hair as punishment for the fart bomb they set off at the panel.
One fan, who had never read the comic, came up and forgot Kirkman’s name, which became a laughing point for the crowd.
“So my question is, who the fuck are you?!” joked Hardwick to Kirkman.
The fan then asked if Rick was going to get more violent. “Yes,” said Kirkman. “Rick is going to be much more violent and much darker.”
Someone asked Reedus for one of the snap-bombs he brought in with him and Reedus handed the fan one of the toys.
A man told Reedus that his oldest daughter loves Reedus, but that’s OK with him. His other daughter likes Yuen. “You got a 35 year-old daughter?” interrupted Hardwick. “Daughters for everyone!” added Kirkman.
The fan then went on to ask if Kirkman had trouble translating some of the violence in the comics to the screen, specifically citing the violent acts of the Governor. Kirkman says that AMC has not had a problem with any of the content in the show so far. “I don’t think that anybody should worry about us toning things down for the show.”
The panel began to go over its allotted time at this point, but Kirkman insisted on staying long to continue answering questions.
“I’ve definitely considered writing Daryl in to the comics,” said Kirkman. “Norman is always pestering me about it. All I can say right now is that if you have been paying attention to the Internet we did just release a series of teasers called ‘Something to Fear’ for a new story arc that’s coming up and it’s a series of very threatening looking people with very specific weapons and one of them has a crossbow.”
“There are certain things like the Governor, the prison and Michonne that haven’t appeared in the show yet that are very important parts of the comic book series. All I can really say is that everybody involved in the television show is super excited by that stuff and is dying to get to that material,” said Kirkman when asked if Michonne or the prison would appear in the show anytime soon. “It will happen in the show eventually, it’s just a matter of when.”
Reedus said he prefers his character in “The Walked Dead” to his character in “Boondock Saints.” “‘The Walking Dead’ is my favorite job I’ve ever had,” said Reedus.
Reedus then closed the panel by admitting he stole one of Daryl’s signature crossbows from the prop department last season.
“I stole a crossbow from this last season too!” admitted Kirkman.
“The Walking Dead” airs Sunday nights on AMC, and “The Walking Dead” comic book series is published monthly by Image Comics.
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