“The Walking Dead” celebrated its upcoming fifth year at Comic-Con International: San Diego, Friday. Stars Andrew Lincoln, Norman Reedus, Steven Yeun, Lauren Cohan, Danai Gurira, Melissa McBride, Chad Coleman, Emily Kinney and Michael Cudlitz took to the stage, along with executive producer and showrunner Scott Gimple, executive producer Robert Kirkman, executive producer Gale Anne Hurd, executive producer Dave Alpert, and special effects makeup supervisor and executive producer Greg Nicotero.
The hour began with one question: “Will they get out of the boxcar?” Instead of telling the crowd what will happen, Gimple offered a clip that answered it. The video turned out to be a specially made joke which sees Rick and Darryl in old man makeup, playing cards and eating what’s left of Carl.
According to Gimple, the season will ask “Who do these people become?” The journey has changed them all and now they must face what they will be. The producer also added, “We’re going to see the story of Terminus.”
Moderator Chris Hardwicke asked Kirkman how closely the series will follow the book this year. “There are things we adapt and things we use, this will be a season that will be fairly close,” he said.
Kirkman added that while it has taken Rick some time to be as fierce as his comic book counterpart, he thinks all of the characters are ready to deal with Terminus.
Asked about locations, Hurd mentioned “chick, tick, and chigger free zones” will be featured. She teased “suburban settings” that may be inspired by the comics. “This season, we have spectacular scope.”
She promised bigger set pieces and risks with the character, saying “This season, we have spectacular scope.”
Alpert mentioned Wire alum Seth Gilliam is joining the cast.
Nicotero promised more intriguing walker set pieces. He teased a walker left in a flooded room. “His skin is just sloughing off” he said of the water-logged walker.
“The Walking Dead world continues to expand,” he added.
Hurd set up another clip — a season five sneak peak. The sizzle real sees the group escape the boxcar and both Rick’s group and Terminus deciding to head to Washington D.C. to “cure this thing.” In its final moments, Beth is revealed to be part of a new community in which she is told that she is not “the greater good.”
Turning to the cast, Hardwick told Lincoln he is happy to see hardass Rick return. “It was great being reigned in by Herschel,” Lincoln said. “But it’s great to have my gun back. It feel right.”
Harwick and Lincoln bantered about the actor’s process, setting up another clip: a gag reel of Lincoln attacking various props and muttering before the director called action.
Turning to Yeun, Hardwick mentioned Glen’s nice arc. “The apocalypse made him a man,” he said.
Yeun agreed, adding, “Back at home, he wouldn’t have been this man, he’s learned a lot.” Over the last season, Yeun thinks Glen accomplished an impossible task, which taught him to hold onto hope.
For Maggie, Cohan said “You do what you need to do, and what you need to do is kill seven to ten people and then cry when you get a chance.”
Could Maggie and Glen find a life if the zombie plague was cured? “Even if we cure it, there’s still a lot of bad guys in the world. I’d like to start a school, though,” said the actress.
Cuditz mentioned he tried to meet Abraham’s comic book physique “half-way.”
Talking of Michonne, Gurira said “I have to catch up with what she’s capable of [physically],” but added that the emotional underpinnings of the character are also challenging. “She keeps me on my toes.”
Hardwick presented McBride with flowers. She offered them to the rest of the cast. Reedus ended up with the bouquet. She said of Carol, “She’s kind of prepared to do anything. This is the world and what she has to do now. She’s come to a place of courage to do these things.”
“How does heart demonstrate itself in this world?” added Coleman, referring to Tyreese and Carol’s final confrontation last season. “I didn’t see this villain. I saw someone who was incredibly brave in this harsh world. That’s why Tyreese was able to forgive her.”
“It’s a twisted world, but that’s hope looks like now,” he continued.
Though the sizzle real revealed Beth was still out and about, Kinney could not reveal where she is. “She’s lived a little,” she teased.
Reedus, who expected Darryl to die in episode two of the first year, is always excited to see new scripts. “These characters are just not the same,” he said.
Those changes include Carl, whom Lincoln remembers being “no bigger than the size of his action figure” in the first season. At the this, Chandler Riggs joined the cast on stage. In his arms: a giant can of pudding.
“It’s been an awesome experience,” he said of growing up on the show. “It’s been so much fun. I’ve had the most amazing mentors to work with. It’s been one third of my life.”
Opening the floor to questions, a fan asked Reedus what part of Darryl is most like him. “There is a bunch of me in Darryl and a bunch of Darryl in me,” he responded, then added, “That sounds awkward.” He admitted that awkwardness is definitely something they share. “We’re both cut from the same cloth, just from different parts of the world.”
The next question was for McBride: Did she think Carol was looking for suicide-by-Tyreese and ended up shocked when he didn’t kill her? “I think she was ready to accept the fate that he chose for her,” she said. “The important thing in that scene, for her, was giving him that choice … but she never expected that he would forgive her.”
Asked if there could a disabled zombie, perhaps stuck in a depowered wheelchair, Yeun said “The world is going to be open and rife for anything.”
Gimple added, “There was a disabled walker in episode six last year, but as we go on, we’ll see all sorts of different walkers and people who become walkers.”
A fan, dressed as a walker, asked the cast what they were doing to raise awareness of infected people. McBride told him to “look at the flowers.”
Asked which death affected the cast the most, Lincoln admitted calling Gimple and telling him he missed Herschel. “That’s the point,” the producer responded.
Reedus said Merle’s death was both sad and freeing. “It was hard to loose [actor Michael Rooker] as a friend,” he added.
Riggs revealed how he got into the mindset to shoot Carl’s reaction to Lori’s death: “I would walk around the set aimlessly. It just got you in the mindset of having no idea where you are and trying to get back to where you are.”
As the final question, a fan of the comic asked how they prepare for the more gruesome scenes. Lincoln said, “I listen to music a lot. Prince helps me a lot. For the Lori scene, I played something else over and over. It gets me silent.”
“It wears on me,” admitted Kirkman. “There are days when I’m working on ‘The Walking Dead’ for days and days. I do so many other projects so I can do something lighter … though they’re all kind of dark right now. It’s fun digging into the darkness, but I’m probably a weirdo.”
“The Walking Dead” Returns October 12th on AMC.
- Ad Free Browsing
- Over 10,000 Videos!
- All in 1 Access
- Join For Free!