Hall H at Comic-Con International in San Diego was overcome with fear when Chris Hardwick came to the stage to discuss Season 5 of AMC's Fear the Walking Dead, and he was joined by chief content officer of The Walking Dead Universe Scott M. Gimple, showrunners and executive producers Andrew Chambliss and Ian Goldberg, executive producers Robert Kirkman, Gale Anne Hurd, Dave Alpert and Greg Nicotero and co-executive producer and director Michael Satrazemis, along with cast members Lennie James, Alycia Debnam-Carey, Maggie Grace, Colman Domingo, Danay Garcia, Austin Amelio, Alexa Nisenson, Karen David, Jenna Elfman and Rubén Blades.
"What are you excited about this season?" Hardwick asked.
"We've got some really ambitious stuff coming this Sunday, Chambliss said. "We're really proud we're able to tell these emotional stories with these incredible characters," Golberg added.
Hardwick then asked about Alicia and Golberg said, "she's put herself in some peril."
As for the look and feel of the show, Satrazemis said, "it was important to find something that was uniquely different while still in the apocalypse. We made it composition-heavy, and that was kind of the goal. Last season, it was fun to try to take on something like that. This season, it was really fun to take that over."
"I'm living my dream because of you guys," he added as he pointed to the crowd.
"The first episode I ever directed, I was terrified," Nicotero said about the core Walking Dead show. "But Mikey's always had my back and that relationship shows."
Hardwick then asked Hurd what she was proud of with FTWD.
"I'm proud that we so so many different aspects of the apocalypse," she said. "I'm proud of the women characters and I love that we have such great directors on the show, women directors."
"We have some great people joining us," Alpert said while listing off some new castmembers.
Regarding the challenges of the show, Nicotero said, "Tt's a different world. I love getting calls from my guys asking for 80 feet of intestines. It creates a different vibe. The shows need to feel different. That's one of the things that great. We've been talking about the radiation walkers for a while."
Next, Hardwick asked Kirkman about Dwight crossing over from TWD to FTWD.
"It all started with Andrew," he said. "It's been a tremendous boost to the show, bringing over Morgan and Dwight and seeing how they behave. It's all one universe and you'll be getting a better experience if you're watching all the shows we're making."
Hardwick then asked Gimple to give some sort of tease for the crowd.
"Fear the Walking Dead has been renewed for a Season 6," he said. "And there's a big secret about TWD universe all these years. All along, there have been other civilizations that survived the apocalypse. We're about to show a lot more of the world in a bunch of different projects. We're working on another series now about young people who grew up behind walls in a first-world situation compared to what we've seen. These kids could stay where they grew up but instead, they leave while being pursued by their adult friends."
A trailer for the second half of Season 5 played next, which featured the core characters seemingly making new enemies.
"It's a risk," James said after the trailer played.
Hardwick then asked where Luciana finds the will to keep fighting.
"What I realized," Garcia said, "is Luciana is so still and that makes you become stronger mentally."
Next, Hardwick asked if there was anything that would surprise us about Althea in the latest episode.
"For someone like Al, not being able to connect, I think also knowing about this civilization that's so advanced, it's hard to walk away with that," Grace said.
Regarding June's evolution, Elfman said, "She's having to face her worst nightmare. She's facing what she had before when she was separated with Al. Separate from the love with John, she's been pulling herself out of the muck."
David then discussed the research she did prior to joining the cast.
"Doing research and seeing all these images, it was soul-destroying," she said. "I needed to feel that, though, especially for Grace. She thought she was doing something for the greater good and when that all fell apart, it destroyed her. The only thing to keep her up for survival is to make things right."
Regarding Salazar's mindset, Blades said, "It's an interesting situation. He had to find a reason to live. His wife is gone, his daughter is gone, and I think he figured he's alive for a reason. He made up his mind about being of use to others. It happened at the same time Morgan was thinking about helping other people. That doesn't mean he will help you and if you cross him, he'll kill you."
He also sang the praises of his feline companion on the show, Skidmark.
Next, Hardwick asked Amelio about Dwight's experience on the show.
"He's sort of been on this yearlong mission," he said. "He's in a very dark place and when he comes across June and John, he hasn't been around people for a while. He has to have faith and he ends up relating with John very quickly. I felt my introduction was very appropriate. It was kind of a bucket list intro."
"It was this perfect intersection of stories," Golberg said, noting that Dwight's story meshed perfectly with that of John and June.
When asked who Alicia puts the most trust in now, Debnam-Caray said, "She re-opened up when Morgan came along. Morgan just wouldn't stop trying so she let him in."
James was then asked how Morgan would react if he knew Rick was missing.
"I think he would go looking," James said. "It would become his new mission, he'd have to find him. He still defines himself by that man."
During the Q&A portion of the panel, a fan asked how long it took to film the opening plane crash scene.
"We had a 10-day schedule and probably four of it was the plane crash," Chambliss said. "It took weeks of preparation, though."
Another fan asked when the decision was made to sync up the timelines between the two shows.
"A lot of it was about getting deeper into the apocalypse," Chambliss said. "We're not actually on the same timeline," Golberg added. "TWD is still a few years ahead."