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Comic-Con: “The Walking Dead”

AMC’s The Walking Dead panel in Hall H at Comic-Con in San Diego Friday brought stars Andrew Lincoln, Norman Reedus, Steven Yeun, Lauren Cohan, Danai Gurira, David Morrissey, Scott Wilson, and Chad Coleman, plus creator/Executive Producer Robert Kirkman, new showrunner/Executive Producer Scott Gimple, Executive Producers Gale Anne Hurd and Dave Alpert, and Special Effects Makeup Supervisor/Executive Producer Greg Nicotero together with moderator and Talking Dead Chris Hardwick to preview season 4. The panel included a trailer with footage from the new season including walkers continually attacking the prison fences, an attack inside the cell block, and a a foray outside the walls that does not go well. In addition, Hardwick revealed the new season’s debut date: October 13th, 9/8c, AMC; the second half-season will start in February.

Gimple (taking his own cell phone video of the crowd), Kirkman, Alpert, Hurd, and Nicotero took the stage first, with Kirkiman promising, “Things are going to get way crazier” and Gimple agreeing that “things are going to get insane very quickly.” The panel discussed the difficulty of killing characters off (noting that the cast remains close with departed members, Hurd said, “They never leave” and adding that the producers surprised Sarah Wayne Callies (Lori) at her new play in Nashville, and Nicotero said that the departed are honored on the set with a “wall of fame” as if they were retired numbers in sports); Gimple warned that things “might get a little comfortable but then things might get a little dangerous.”

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After the debut of the new trailer, Lincoln, Gurira, Yeun, Cohan, Wilson, Coleman, Morrissey (drawing boos befitting the villain), and Reedus (who took pictures of the Hall H queue outside from the roof before the show) joined the panel, with Lincoln saying that the new season finds Rick Grimes “in an entirely new place” this season, renouncing some of his leadership for the sake of his children. He said that the question of returning to the prison would be answered this season as well. Michonne, Gurira said, has a new understanding of her belonging with the group from Andrea’s parting words; Yeun discussed Glenn’s growth over season 3, and Cohan discussed Maggie and Glenn’s relationship, while Wilson joked that Hershel’s motivation is “to hold on to his other leg,”

Coleman talked about bringing Tyreese, popular from the comics, to the TV show, saying that Tyreese is “trying to find out how he fits in.” Hardwick noted that Morrissey has, in the past, protested that the Governor isn’t a bad guy, but the events of last season would challenge that position; Morrissey said that his character “went into trauma” and a “switch (went) off in his head,” adding with a chuckle that “he didn’t kill them all.” Reedus said that his reaction to Merle’s death after reading the script was, “this day’s gonna suck,” but noted that Daryl has found family with the group and has “grown up a ton.”

Kirkman said that he would to want to live in the world he created, imagining that he would jump off a building; Lincoln said he would be useless in an apocalypse, while Reedus said he would strip naked, paint himself silver, take over a hotel, and watch South Park. And the question-and-answer segment featured questions from a group of fans cosplaying as the show’s characters (and some walkers) and a return of a fan Hardwick, at the earlier The World’s End panel, dubbed “Button Lady.”

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“Expect the unexpected,” Gurira advised regarding the new season, “and don’t ever get really comfortable.”

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