A One-Way Ticket to Tijuana, Please

Fear the walking Dead SDCC 2016 Coverage By R.C. Murphy

Taking the stage first in the two-hour Dead block in Hall H at San Diego Comic-Con, Fear the Walking Dead kicked off the festivities with the teaser for the latter half of season two.

For the most part, the trailer focus on Nick’s pilgrimage to Tijuana. He meets some kind people, some not so kind people, and even more people with a bizarre connection to the dead. It’s like he’s drawn to this stuff. Madison drags Alicia, Strand, and Ofelia around Mexico looking for Nick with no results. They wind up taking refuge in a hotel which randomly rains dead bodies. But it must be an okay place, Alicia stopped to shower. Travis and Chris’ bonding trip is off to a rocky start as son insists repeatedly that he can take care of himself against the undead or any obstacle in his way. There is a lot more close-quarters fighting with the infected on the way. Alicia does some slightly-very dangerous things to shake her undead assailants. We’ve also got more than just the gangs and weirdos in Tijuana to look out for, as well. Chris and Travis’ problems aren’t all internal for the remaining seven episodes.

Producer Gale Anne Hurd said, “We’re really going to see a lot of things you’ve never seen on television before.” Having seen the TWD trailer, that bar is pretty high. I don’t think FtWD can deliver on the spectacle coming from its sister show. However, if they can get even an ounce of the energy from that trailer to translate to each episode’s timing, I may consider watching it again.

The characters fans saw earlier in the season won’t be quite the same. Producer Dave Alpert said he’s enjoyed watching the characters turn into “battle-hardened warriors.” Kim Dickens echoed the sentiment, saying what Madison did in the mid-season finale revealed a new side to her. We’ll see a more extreme Madison from here on out, perhaps? Madison isn’t the only parent stepping to the plate. Cliff Curtis claimed Travis won’t be a sad-ass when the show returns, he’s prepared to become a, “bad ass dad.” Pretty much every actor spoke up to say their character would get a harder edge for the new episodes. Matter of fact, Mercedes Mason said she wants Ofelia to “pull a Carol” and become “a really violent butterfly.” Coleman Domingo had a different outlook for Strand. He considers Strand a symbol for Western civilization. As his character survives, he will continue to break down.

There was a new face on the panel. Danay Garcia will join the show for the remainder of season two as Luciano. She plays a part In Nick’s story line.

Will the new blood and a kick in the pants for the characters be enough to make it as interesting as the trailer promises? I sincerely hope so. There’s too much potential in that cast to continue to watch them flounder with a poorly-managed script. The danger becomes if splitting the group and the story leads to forgotten characters or story-telling shortcuts which defy what little logic these characters operate by currently. I know there’s not much sense in a guy who covers himself in zombie goo all the time, but you know what I mean.
Fear the Walking Dead will continue its second season on August 21st at 9 PM on AMC.

We’ll Have a Double Scoop of Walker, Please

What do we know about the upcoming season? There’s a metric ton of walkers in the premiere. Greg Nicotero, who directed the episode, says there were over 300 walkers on set to shoot just one scene. In total, there’s rumored to be over 600 walkers in the episode. This we don’t doubt; the walker count in the four-minute SDCC trailer is staggering.

A few new faces will join Rick and company, along with a face from Rick’s past. Lennie James, as Morgan Jones, comes into season 6 as a full cast member. It’s unclear just how much of an opposing force Morgan will be when Rick puts his plans in action. Scott Gimple, TWD showrunner, won’t confirm or deny a conflict outright, admitting they did indeed make it appear so in the trailer. “We sometimes play with the truth in trailers. Rick is faced with challenges to the way he does things and including his people in the way he does things.” Lennie James sees only one outcome, there will be fallout between Rick and Morgan.

New cast members include Ethan Embry (Once Upon a Time) as Carter, Merritt Wever (Nurse Jackie) as Dr. Denise Cloyd, and Corey Hawkins (Straight Outta Compton) as Heath. Carter appears a few times in the trailer, set opposite Rick and his plans. Denise is Alexandria’s new primary doctor now that the other’s brain splattered all over the sidewalk. All we know about Heath is he’s a runner for the town. Denise and Heath are characters from the comics. Carter is described as a composite of many comic characters they couldn’t figure out how to introduce in other ways.

There’s not much else to share about season six yet. Gimple did a nice jig to get around questions about the Wolves and their part in the season—they’re still a threat, but not in a way fans can predict, and not as immediate a threat as others.

Everything else we could add is in the trailer. Let it speak for itself.


The New (Dead) Guys in Town

The show will air its 90-minute premiere episode on Sunday, August 23rd at 9/8c. The episode was written by executive producer Robert Kirkman and FtWD’s show runner, David Erickson (co-executive producer and writer for Sons of Anarchy).

We’re not jumping into the middle of the zombie apocalypse this time around. We’re witnessing the outbreak as it happens. Watching as the characters learn the hard way how to dispatch the undead. Observing the chaos of a civilization’s dying gasp. Kirkman promises FtWD will show, “…all the insanity of civilization crumbling that Rick Grimes slept through.”

It won’t be an instantaneous change. Producers say the full zombie apocalypse, as shown in TWD, won’t happen until the final episode. However, there is absolutely no overlap between the shows. The characters, locations, and plot are unique. A breath of fresh air for fans feeling TWD has grown stagnant with all the long forest walks and Rictatorship monologues. Alycia Debnam-Carey (Alicia Bennett) says, “You don’t have to have watched the original. It’s coming from a very different place, a very different time, it’s before everything happened, so it’s completely refreshing and different.”

Bringing the action to the beginning of the end will liven things up a bit with the zombies. The makeup design isn’t as heavy-handed as later seasons of TWD, leaving the zombies with more face to show on screen. We still have no clue how these fresher zombies will act, if they’ll move faster or retain more human characteristics. Like most things within the franchise, fans must wait and see. One thing we know for certain, they won’t be telling us how zombies are made.

This show is billed more as a family drama with an undead war brewing on the horizon. Be prepared for the initial tension to be because of family issues—a couple attempting to make their teenaged kids get along before their wedding, ensuring their grades don’t fall, and keeping one kid in particular off drugs.

Fear the Walking Dead stars:
Kim Dickens (Sons of Anarchy) as Madison Bennett
Cliff Curtis (Gang Related) as Travis Manawa
Frank Dillane (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince) as Nick Bennett
Alycia Debnam-Carey (The 100) as Alicia Bennett
Lorenzo James Henrie (Star Trek) as Chris Manawa
Elizabeth Rodriguez (Orange is the New Black) as Liza Ortiz
Rubén Blades (Safe House) as Daniel Salazar
Mercedes Mason (Quarantine 2: Terminal) as Ofelia Salazar
To tide you over, here’s a look at the trailer released at SDCC:

Out of the Train Car? “The Walking Dead” invades SDCC 2014

Much like year’s past, Hall H at San Diego Comic-Con was jam-packed, trembling in anticipation of the walker horde scheduled to shamble in over the weekend. AMC brought in the big guns, including nearly the entire cast and full producing staff, to discuss the upcoming fifth season for “The Walking Dead.”

And like year’s past, the actors stayed mum while the producers dropped what few hints they could about what to expect while the highlight of the hour was the preview clip they’d prepared.

Before we look at the clip, we’ll go over what everyone said, starting with the producers.

Will Rick and company make it out of the train car at Terminus? Duh. Producers seemed somewhat annoyed that anyone would think they’d downgrade the show’s quality to shoot an entire season inside a small set.

Where are the characters mentally after the chaos in season four? Show-runner Scott Gimple said, “Once they lost the prison—once they lost Hershel—all bets were off. And I think they did find out that you can’t come back from the things that you’ve done. You have to live with them. But also, those things that you have done make you incredibly formidable.” He went on to add, “This season is going to define the characters.”

Any flashbacks planned? It’s safe to say, yes. They plan to show how Terminus and its occupants came to be.

Robert Kirkman admits the show has taken a turn from the comics with the Terminus story line. But throughout the upcoming season, they’ll bring in more content from the comic books and bring the show back on track with them.

Gale Anne Hurd and Greg Nicotero said the makeup effects and sets are getting bigger and better. The world will continue to expand. Nicotero teased two walker makeups on the big screen—one a regular walker who has decayed with the same sort of progress we’ve seen thus far, and the second the Water-Logged walker from a scene where the survivors encounter a flooded room full of undead.

On the cast portion of the panel, Andrew Lincoln said while it was great for Rick to be reined in by Hershel, it feels right now to have his gun back and boots on.

Steven Yeun thinks Glenn’s unwavering hope will see him through the trouble ahead of the crew.

In Lauren Cohan’s opinion, Maggie will never be the same. None of them will. Even if there was a cure for the walkers, there will still be bad guys.

Newcomer Michael Cudlitz, who was slightly dazed at the number of fans in Hall H, didn’t feel pressured to become an exact replica of Abraham from the comics. The cast welcomed him with open arms.

When asked about the two sides to Michonne—the killer and the woman still mourning her losses—Danai Gurira said she loves the challenges posed by both sides, and readily admits she was afraid of the physical demands from the role.

Jokingly, panel moderator Chris Hardwick handed Melissa McBride a bouquet of flowers. Which she proceeded to march down the table to pawn them off on someone else. The cast hid. Norman Reedus wasn’t quite quick enough. When asked about Carol’s story arc from season one through season four, Melissa said, “I think the great thing about Carol is she’s kinda prepared to do anything.”

Chad L. Coleman said, “If you don’t have the heart, you can’t have the hope,” in reference to the tense confrontation between Carol and Tyreese last season, adding that Tyreese never lost sight of Carol’s humanity and bravery.

Beth is alive. Somewhere. So says Emily Kinney.

Norman Reedus was convinced he’d die during his second episode on the show and never thought he’d see Daryl make it this far.

Surprise guest—and first-time SDCC attendee—Chandler Riggs surprised the crowd in Hall H by walking on stage with a huge tub of chocolate pudding. Having grown up on the show (he’s 15 now) he said it’s been an awesome experience with great mentors in his cast mates.

We’ll let the preview clip speak for itself.

Mark your calendars. “The Walking Dead” returns to AMC on October 12th at 9 PM.

The Dead Take a Bite Out of Comic-Con


It is that time of the year again. The time when half of the entertainment industry—from video games to feature films—descends on San Diego with sizzle reels, swag, and actors in tow. “The Walking Dead” blew everyone out of the water with their epic four-minute trailer. What did the people involved have to say about the upcoming fourth season?

The producers hit the stage first at the hour-long panel on Saturday afternoon. The general consensus was season four would be, “Way crazier,” “Going to get insane very quickly,” and a series of escalations to keep the danger inherent in their world ever-present. Producer and FX genius Greg Nicotero hinted that the walker “gags” for the upcoming season are above and beyond anything fans have seen so far. As a matter of fact, the Thursday before everyone packed up to fly from Atlanta, GA to San Diego, they’d filmed a rather gruesome walker scene. Or so we were lead to believe. The producers remained rather mum about season four. Instead they let the trailer do the talking.

The cast couldn’t say much about the new season, either. They covered a lot about the previous season and coping with the numerous main cast deaths. It isn’t easy for the actors, they form bonds with these people in character and out. Then they’re suddenly gone. Danai Gurira admitted it was rough losing the person who’d indoctrinated her in the “Walking Dead” universe. But all of the actors understand early on, with the volatile nature of the world, people come and go in their lives. They have to go with the flow.

Going with the flow seems to be the theme for the upcoming season. They’ve brought in the survivors from Woodbury and built a city confined within the gates and walls of the prison. With the tension natural between large groups of people, all they can do is take it one day at a time. There’s no one person in the group capable of predicting human nature, any more than they can predict the walkers. Don’t assume this means the show will shift its entire focus to the dangers from the living, though. Everyone was adamant about the walkers still posing a significant hazard. The proof came in the trailer. Dang, those zombies are looking really ragged this season!