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THE WALKING DEAD Comic-Con 2014 Panel

Nerdist CEO Chris Hardwick hosted a panel previewing the upcoming fifth season of the Walking Dead on Friday at Comic-Con, with the majority of the cast and crew in attendance. Before the cast came out on stage, first came the producing team-showrunner Scott M. Gimple, creator Robert Kirkman, Executive Producers Dave Alpert and Gale Anne Hurd, and special effects supervisor Greg Nicotero. Oh, and it should go without saying-but there are spoilers for the first four seasons in this panel recap. You have been warned spoiler-phobes.

The first question referred to the events of the season four finale, where Rick and his recently re-united crew made their way to the “sanctuary” town of Terminus, only to find themselves imprisoned there and locked away in a train car. Would they ever get out? Scott Gimple answered with a video from “episode 15 of season five” where we see Rick and Glen with old man Rip Van Winkle beards, still in the train car and playing cards, with Maggie in grandma mode knitting away. After the crowd got a good laugh from that, they showed the real trailer for season five, which shows how Rick negotiates getting out of Terminus by telling them that they’re all on their way to Washington DC for a cure to the zombie plague. It was noted at this point that Rick’s line at the end of year four “they’re screwing with the wrong people” has been changed to “they’re f—in’ with the wrong people for the DVD release,” presumably for all you F-bomb fans out there.

In a tease for the upcoming season, showrunner Scott Gimple said, “Once they lost the prison and Herschel, and they all find out that you can’t come back from the things that you’ve done, you’ve got to learn to live with them. But those things can make you stronger and more formidable.” This is especially true for the character of Rick Grimes, who is done with his “mopey phase,” as he calls it, and we see a return of the “Ritocracy of the early part of the show.” Chris Hardwick jokingly referred to him as “Kung-Fu Grip Rick,” and comic creator Robert Kirkman said that that is the Rick from the comics, and the show is simply getting to the point of “Kung Fu Rick” now, but that he’s been that way in the books for years. Scott Gimple also confirmed that we would see the story behind the “Termians” and how they got to be the meanest hipsters anywhere. Greg Nicotero assured fans that there would be new walker set pieces unlike those seen before, including one in water.

When asked if the show would still adhere in any way to where the comics are, Robert Kirkman confirmed that season five would weave in an out of events from the comics, maybe more than it seems at the start of the season. “Lots of things from the comics that fans have been wanting see will be coming.” Gale Anne Hurd also said there would be “suburban style settings” in season five. Maybe we’ll see the gang all go to an abandoned mini-mall. In casting news for year five, on the panel it was announced that Seth Gilliam (The Wire) has been cast as Father Stokes.

After the producers left the stage, the cast then came out, including Andrew Lincoln, Steven Yeun, Lauren Cohan, Michael Cudlitz, Emily Kinney, Danai Gurira,  Chad Coleman, Melissa McBride, and finally Norman Reedus, who got the biggest audience reaction by far. Chris Hardwick, when talking to Steven Yeun, asked if he agreed if the Apocalypse “made Glen a man,” and Yeun agreed, but also says that of all the characters “Glen still holds out hope.”

When it came time to talk to Melissa McBride, Chris Hardwick gave her a bouquet of flowers, hilariously referencing a scene from last year where her character of Carol, whose line “just look at the flowers” before mercy killing a little girl became something of a meme on the internet. A fan then asked her if by confessing to Tyrese, she was hoping for a form of “suicide by Tyrese.” She responded by saying that at the point, she was “open to allowing Tyrese to make whatever choice he wanted, and was ok with whatever it was.”

When asked which character had evolved the most, Andrew Lincoln said it had to be who Chandler Riggs, who plays Carl, who has literally grown up on the show. He started at age 10 and is now 15, and after saying that Chandler appeared on stage for his first ever Comic-Con appearance… with a can of chocolate pudding (and inside joke for fans of the show.) The panel ended with a repeat showing of the season five trailer.

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