AMC brought “The Walking Dead” once again to San Diego Comic-Con 2013, and zombie fans packed the cavernous Hall H on Friday to greet the show’s producers and cast.
The “Walking Dead” panel featured Andrew Lincoln (Rick Grimes), Norman Reedus (Daryl Dixon), Steven Yeun (Glenn Rhee), Lauren Cohan (Maggie Green), Danai Gurira (Michonne), David Morrissey (The Governor), Scott Wilson (Hershel Greene), and Chad Coleman (Tyreese). But Executive Producer and showrunner Scott Gimple, creator and executive producer Robert Kirkman, and executive producers Gale Anne Hurd, Dave Alpert Greg Nicotero took the stage first.
[Note: “The Walking Dead” spoilers follow.]
“Things are definitely going to get way crazier,” Kirkman says of the upcoming Season 4. “It’s an escalation. The world is getting worse.”
“It’s going to get insane very quickly,” says Gimple.
“There’s stuff that we shot in the last two weeks that is above and beyond,” says Nicotero, who also serves as special effects and makeup supervisor. “24 hours ago we shot one of the coolest walker gags ever.”
In the world premiere of new footage from the show, Michonne, Daryl, Glenn, Tyreese, and a squad of other familiar and unfamiliar characters infiltrate a supermarket to gather supplies. Disaster strikes off-screen, and elsewhere walkers swarm the fences surrounding the prison. There are walkers and foes inside the prison as well, and it seems the group’s home isn’t as secure as they’d like it to be. Rick takes on the role of detective as he attempts to thwart his enemies inside the walls, and new characters try to prove themselves. By the end of the trailer, the group seems to be searching for a new home, and a mysterious voice is heard over a radio uttering a single word: “survive.” It looks bloody and gruesome and tense, perfect for “The Walking Dead” fans.
The cast entered the hall following the trailer, fan favorite Reedus earning the wildest applause. Moderator Chris Hardwick went down the line and asked each actor a pointed question, starting with one for Lincoln: why did Rick take the group go back to the prison at the end of the third season instead of moving to the town Woodbury? Lincoln said that will be answered in the upcoming season, and addressed a question about his character’s son, Carl, instead.
“I think that the relationship with Carl is integral to the beginning of this season,” Lincoln says. “And him turning into a sociopath by the end of this season definitely woke [Rick] up to his parenting duties.” He adds that Rick in Season 4 is practically a brand new character.
Gurira says her character is finally opening up to her new family, though the physical aspects of shooting the show — her character Michonne wields a samurai blade — never get easier. “I had never ridden a horse before,” she says. “You’ve got to move with it, so no, you don’t get comfortable.”
“I love Glenn because he’s constantly evolving,” Yeun says of his character. Glenn had a tough time last season when his love interest, Maggie, was assaulted by the villainous Governor. “I think that was a really great arc to play,” he explains.
“I think that Maggie wanted to move on a little faster,” Cohan adds. “I think that Maggie and Glenn have had a chance to let [this world] test their relationship and I think when we see them this season we’re going to see that it’s something that strengthens them.”
Next came Wilson, whose character lost a leg last season. “I think he really just wants to hold onto his other leg,” he says of his character being the moral compass.
Coleman, who plays another fan favorite in Tyreese, says his character is still trying to find his place in the world. “I sense that he really needs a strong reasoning behind why he does what he does, but this world just won’t let him operate that way,” he says. “No one goes unscathed, and eventually, you know, a can of whoop-ass might get opened.”
Fans might hope that that can gets opened all over The Governor, a character whose morals seem to have dried up and died by the end of Season 3. “At the end of last season he was in a very dark place and he sort of did some bad things,” Morrissey says of his character.
In the upcoming season “all bets are off” when it comes to the show’s villain, The Governor, Kirkman says. Fans were unsure whether the villain would make it through the end of Season 3, and Kirkman says his return will be a huge mystery during the upcoming season.
Last came Reedus, again eliciting hollers from the crowd. [SPOILER] Hardwick asked him about the death of his character’s brother, Merle. “[Daryl] was sort of doomed to become mini Merle, and I wanted to play him like he’s embarrassed that he’s racist and that he takes drugs and stuff,” he says. “Without Merle around he can sort of find this sense of self worth that he never would have found if this apocalypse hadn’t happened.”
The conversation turned to the upcoming season. “When we meet them all in Season 4 there is a whole new community in the prison,” Lincoln says. He adds that fans should expect a lot of tension from the influx of new personalities.
Judging by what was shown in the Season 4 trailer, the feel-good vibe from the Season 3 finale won’t last long. But does that mean there’s no hope? “The hope is in Beth singing,” Gurira says about the future of “The Walking Dead”‘s world. “The hope is in Carl.”
“The Walking Dead” Season 4 premieres October 13.