Article: The Dead Are on the Move

The Dead Are on the Move
by R.C. Murphy

Every summer, San Diego, California is overrun with people—in costume, out of costume, covered in body paint, alive, undead; it takes all sorts to make an event of such magnitude truly magical. As always, we’re keeping our eye on the undead attendees scheduled to appear. This year we’re expanding the list to include those pesky vampires who keep creeping back into mainstream media.

Keep in mind, this is a super early, unofficial list compiled from information given by the panelists or production companies. The official SDCC panel schedule will be available about two weeks from preview night, Thursday, July 18th. SDCC programming will run from then until Sunday, July 22nd. For the most accurate information, please visit SDCC’s programming page.

Zombie programming schedule:


5:00 PM – Z Nation (Indigo Ballroom)

The Asylum presents a peek into the fifth season of the intense yet funny SYFY series. Anticipated panelists include DJ Qualls, Kellita Smith, Russell Hodgkinson, Karl Schaefer, and possibly more to be announced before the event.

About Z Nation:

In the beginning, a group of survivors must cross the country with a possible cure for the zombie apocalypse. The holder of the cure, a zombie-human hybrid named Murphy, may not be so cooperative. In season two, the team continued their journey to the elusive CDC lab in California, dealing with bizarre enemies both old and new and an increasingly insufferable— and perhaps dangerous— Murphy. For season three, a new adventure lurked for Citizen Z, while our survivors faced a totally foreign threat. Oh, and Murphy caused all kinds of trouble (are you surprised)? Going into the fourth season, the story skipped two years and caught up when the survivors realized they must deal with new types of zombies to stop a mysterious threat known as Black Rainbow.


11:15 AM – Fear the Walking Dead (Hall H)

There’s little information online so far, but it’s safe to assume a wide variety of cast and the show’s creators will be present. The panel is perfectly timed to give them a chance to hype the second half of the fourth season, which begins again with episode 409 on August 12th at 9 PM.

About Fear the Walking Dead:

In Season 4 of Fear the Walking Dead, fans will see the world of Madison Clark (Kim Dickens) and her family through new eyes—the eyes of Morgan Jones (Lennie James), joining the story from the world of The Walking Dead. In the new season, the characters’ immediate past mixes with an uncertain present of struggle and discovery as they meet new friends, foes and threats. They fight for each other, against each other and against a legion of the dead, all to somehow build an existence amid the crushing pressure of lives coming apart. There will be darkness and light; terror and grace; the heroic, mercenary, and craven, all crashing together towards a new reality for Fear the Walking Dead.

12:15 PM – The Walking Dead (Hall H)

Like the above panel, we’ve got no information about incoming guests, but given a history of filling the gigantic table on stage, it’s safe to say they will not disappoint on the caliber of who’s present to introduce fans to the ninth season of the blockbuster AMC show. Hopefully we’ll get a start date, too, so you all can start planning your premiere parties.

A refresher about The Walking Dead season eight:

All out war has had a devastating impact on every person involved. The communities themselves are fractured. Alexandria has been destroyed, the Hilltop finds themselves pinned, and the Kingdom is shattered — half of them dead, the other half controlled by the Saviors. At the very center — Rick, having been distracted by the conflict, has just returned home to learn that Carl, who heroically shepherded the Alexandrians to safety during Negan’s attack, has been bitten by a walker. Once his sole motivation in this otherwise stark existence, Rick is forced to deal with this reality. Carl has always been a beacon of hope, a symbol for the remaining thread of humanity — lessons that the survivors around him would be wise to take with them as this war surges onward. But Rick isn’t the only person who’s living in peril. Aaron and Enid are in a dire situation at Oceanside — unclear if they’re in friendly territory, or if they’ve just made new enemies. Father Gabriel will do his part in attempting to smuggle Dr. Carson safely back to the Hilltop and a pregnant Maggie is wrestling with the many moral gray areas that come with leadership during war. In a standoff with the Saviors, she must decide how to proceed with the dozens of POW lives she’s currently in control of, as well as new complications that come with being a leader. In addition to the war, Negan continues to deal with struggles within his ranks as workers, traitors, and others’ thirst for power cause conflict at the Sanctuary. Having gifted the Saviors a major victory, Eugene’s loyalty is repeatedly tested as new obstacles present themselves. As all-out-war consumes us, the line between good and evil continues to blur. People fighting for what they believe in. Everybody working together for something bigger — to feel safe and have a world worth living in.

Vampire programming schedule:


4:00 PM – Van Helsing (Indigo Ballroom)

Get an exclusive first-look at the upcoming third season for the SYFY show, with additional information from panelists Kelly Overton, Jonathan Scarfe, Vincent Gale, Aleks Paunovic, Rukiya Bernard, Trezzo Mahoro, Neil LaBute, Mike Frislev and Chad Oakes.

About Van Helsing:

Van Helsing is set in the near future, where vampires have risen and taken control. Vanessa Van Helsing is humanity’s last hope, as her unique blood composition gives her the ability to turn vampires human. With this secret weapon, Vanessa becomes a prime target for the vampires. Van Helsing comes from the producers of Fargo and Hell on Wheels. Acclaimed director/playwright Neil LaBute serves as showrunner.


6:00 PM – The Passage (6A)

SDCC guests are in for a treat. Fox plans to screen the premiere episode, followed by a quick Q&A with the show’s stars and producers. Panelists currently scheduled are Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Saniyaa Sidney, Henry Ian Cusick, Jamie McShane , executive producer Liz Heldens, executive producer/ director Jason Ensler, and author Justin Cronin

About The Passage:

Based on author Justin Cronin’s best-selling trilogy of the same name, THE PASSAGE is an epic, character-driven thriller written by Liz Heldens. Executive-produced by Emmy Award winner and Academy Award and Golden Globe nominee Ridley Scott and writer/director Matt Reeves, THE PASSAGE focuses on Project Noah, a secret medical facility where scientists are experimenting with a dangerous virus that could lead to the cure for all disease, but also carries the potential to wipe out the human race. When a young girl, AMY BELLAFONTE is chosen to be a test subject, Federal Agent BRAD WOLGAST is the man who is tasked with bringing her to Project Noah. Ultimately, however, Wolgast becomes her surrogate father, as he tries to protect her at any cost. Brad and Amy’s journey will force them to confront Project Noah’s lead scientist, MAJOR NICHOLE SYKES, and the hardened ex-CIA operative in charge of operations, CLARK RICHARDS, whom Brad trained. It likewise brings them face-to-face with a dangerous new race of beings confined within the walls of Project Noah, including former scientist TIM FANNING and death-row inmate SHAUNA BABCOCK. In seeking out any allies he can find, Brad also turns to his former wife, DR. LILA KYLE, for help. But as Project Noah’s scientists hone in on a cure that could save humanity, these new beings begin to test their own powers, inching one step closer to an escape that could lead to an unimaginable apocalypse.

7:30 – Preacher (Hall H)

AMC hasn’t given any hints as to who’ll be on the panel to kick off festivities going into the show’s third season. However, seeing how the show is one of the more unpredictable on television right now, it’s safe to assume the panel will be worth a watch.

About Preacher:

Season 3 sees Jesse, Cassidy and Tulip return to Angelville, the Louisiana Plantation where Jesse was raised and where old grudges and deadly obligations await them. With the help of his friends—and a few enemies—Jesse will need to escape his past . . . because the future of the world depends on it.


2:00 PM – Legacies (Indigo Ballroom)

Executive producer Julie Plec, with series stars Rose Russell and Matthew Davis, will host a special video presentation for the newest addition to the The Vampire Diaries franchise, as well as answer questions about the show. Legacies will premiere on The CW Thursday, October 25th at 9 PM.

About Legacies:

Continuing the tradition of The Vampire Diaries and The Originals, the story of the next generation of supernatural beings at The Salvatore School for the Young and Gifted. Klaus Mikaelson’s daughter, 17-year-old Hope Mikaelson; Alaric Saltzman’s twins, Lizzie and Josie Saltzman; and other young adults come of age in the most unconventional way possible, nurtured to be their best selves . . . in spite of their worst impulses. Will these young witches, vampires and werewolves become the heroes they want to be—or the villains they were born to be?


3:45 PM Buffy Musical: ‘Once More with Feeling,’ an Interactive Whedon Musical (Room 6BCF)

“Time to end this show with a bang! The powers that be behind Whedonopolis and Fandom Charities present an interactive screening of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer musical episode “Once More with Feeling” as Comic-Con’s big closing event! Many say this is the finest, funniest, most ingenious episode ever to come out of the Buffyverse. But remember, the best part of the show is up to you! This episode was made for talkin’-back, and singing, and shouting, and dancing in the aisles, with or without your dry cleaning! Audience participation: It isn’t just for Rocky Horror and mob riots anymore!”

One last bonus panel, if you guys want to check it out:


6:45 PM Shooting Clerks (Room 6A)

“Fresh off its feature on AMC TV’s Comic Book Me, the biographical comedy which dramatizes the making of Kevin Smith’s indie cult classic film Clerks is finally coming to indie cinemas around the U.S. later this year. Join Christopher Downie (writer/director), Brett Murray (producer/actor), Ryan James (producer/editor), Matthew Postlethwaite (actor), Jay Booton (actor), Stephanie Price (actress), special guests from Clerks and Comic Book Men including Marilyn Ghigliotti (associate producer), Ming Chen (actor) and more for an exclusive sneak peak, behind the scenes footage, and some very special announcements.”

Catch Your Commanders in Action!

Dispatcher: RC Murphy

Summertime is the busy season for your Zombie Survival Crew commanders. We canvas the country, advising brigadiers and recruiting new members. This weekend, we’re in three cities working to ensure everyone is informed and ready to fight the undead.


Denver Comic Con

June 13-15th
Colorado Convention Center – Denver, CO
Friday: 10 am – 7 pm
Saturday: 10 am – 7 pm
Sunday: 10 am – 5 pm

Commanders attending: Michael Rooker, Juliette Terzieff, and Jinxie G.

Walker Stalker Con Boston

June 13-15th
Westin Waterfront – Boston, Mass.
Friday: 12 pm – 7 pm
Saturday: 10 am – 6 pm
Sunday: 10 am – 5pm

Commanders attending: Sean Patrick Flanery, David Della Rocco, Ming Chen, Addy Miller, Madison Lintz, and Sergeants at Arms Sarah Quattroci and Amy Sundberg

Eternal Con

June 14-15th
Cradle of Aviation Museum – Garden City, NY
Saturday: 10 am – 7 pm
Sunday: 10 am – 5 pm

Commander attending: Brimstone

Epic Con Sleep Deprivation of Doom ™

From under the zombie bunny cage of RC Murphy

A shambling horde descended on Dallas, Texas early Friday morning. They moaned, groaned, and went in search of the nearest source of caffeine. Then the fans started pouring in. Your brave commanders roused from their jet lag and sprang into action.

Texas Frightmare Weekend brought us face to face with a lot of die-hard horror fans—many of who came up to the tables and wowed us with their amazing costumes. I will admit to jumping any time a zombie shuffled by or stopped to speak with commanders IronE Singleton and Michael Rooker. However, we were assured that these particular zombies were more interested in speaking with us than eating us. (Juliette cuddled her trusty crossbow in preparation for an attack, nonetheless. My plan involved ducking behind our Special Forces commander. Have you seen the way he fights? Dang!)

Friday night we met with potential ZSC recruits until horses turned back into mice and our coach became a pumpkin. Everyone seemed very eager to chat about proper zombie-slaying etiquette (Always double-tap!) and we even learned a few new techniques. Color this commander impressed. Texas breeds good recruits, folks. Though I must say the funniest part of the night came after we said goodbye to everyone and settled down to eat a late dinner. Juliette flipped through her photos to see what she got and realized that Tom Towles photobombed IronE. He is an outstanding individual…with great comic timing. We’re still giggling.

The following morning, we were back in the swing of things. More jaw-dropping costumes came in through the doors. By the time we got over the shock of how cool they were and how kind the fans were, it was time for the Walking Dead panel. I’ve never in my life seen so many people cram into a room to sit through a panel. Every seat was filled and folks lined up three-deep along the walls. Rooker, IronE, Reedus, Madison, and Chandler fed off of the energy coming from eager fans and gave them a lot of insight into the show. That was after Rooker hosted an impromptu fight demo backstage, teaching us how to use our elbows for defense and attack. See guys, we never stop learning new things to keep you all safe during the Zombiepocalypse.

Our Saturday ended with hula-hoops, terrifying folks in elevators, and exhaustion nipping at our heels, but it was worth it to see so many smiling faces during the day.

I like to imagine Sunday mornings at all cons are what would happen if someone yanked the rings out of a circus in the middle of all the nifty animal tricks. Tigers, elephants, and zebras run amok in a mass of confusion. Inevitably one or two get lost in the panicked crowd. Yeah, you guessed it. We managed to “misplace” some of the commanders. No, they weren’t hiding in the coffee shop on the lobby floor. They were recovered later in the day with no explanation, nor recollection about where they’d been. Possible UGA interference? I think so. This served as a stark reminder that while things have been quiet, never drop your guard.

Parting from our fellow ZSC commanders is never easy, but we made sure everyone arrived safely to their various modes of transport to [classified locations].

We would like to extend a huge amount of gratitude to the folks running Texas Frightmare Weekend and their staff, who worked tirelessly to make sure we had everything we needed. Special thanks to Nic and James (Cowboy) for being by our sides the entire weekend without running scared. And of course, our last thank you goes to the ZSC brigadiers and potential recruits that we saw over the weekend. You were all so wonderful. We can’t wait to visit Dallas again.

Our next Zombie Survival Crew event is Spooky Empire’s May-Hem May 25th – 27th in Orlando, FL.

Bonus! I asked a few people what is in their go bag. Nic, one of our volunteers, told me what his wife, Kim, wanted in hers. It made me laugh so hard, I just had to add it to the con rundown.

Kim’s go bag:

  1. Water
  2. Tranquilizers
  3. A wagon—so someone can pull her around