The Walking Dead finally returns tomorrow! So it’s time to tell you about our meeting with the cast and crew at Comic Con, in part I of our undead report from Comic Con.
Back in July, Geek Crusade attended a breakfast panel for The Walking Dead season 4 at the Andaz Hotel. The annual affair is held during San Diego Comic Con (SDCC), and is essentially a primer for the upcoming season. It was hosted by British TV personality Jonathan Ross – “You may not have heard of me, but I assure you, back home in the UK, I am a god!” – who was literally a laugh a minute.
Those present – producers Gale Anne Hurd, Greg Nicotero and Dave Alpert, showrunner Scott Gimple, creator Robert Kirkman and cast members Danai Gurira (Michonne), Lauren Cohan (Maggie), Andrew Lincoln (Rick), Scott Wilson (Hershel), David Morrissey (the Governor), Norman Reedus (Daryl), Chad Coleman (Tyrese) and a whole roomful of reporters.
At the time, filming was still ongoing in Georgia, so everyone was predictably tight lipped about season 4, but there were still plenty of teasers dropped. The conversation went from zombies to amputated legs to um, breast implants and prison love. Here’s the first part of our edited transcript of what happened.
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Ross: How would you sum up what’s going to happen in season four? What are the obstacles and challenges that the characters will encounter?
Gale Anne Hurd: It’s actually a trifecta this season. We have Fight The Dead, we have Fight The Living and we have a brand new threat that I don’t think anyone has seen before. So there is fear, danger and conflict from all sides. We have a season premiere, a mid-season finale [after eight episodes], another mid-season premiere and a season finale.
Ross: Dave, do people come and tell you their favourite zombie?
Dave Alpert: A lot. We also, literally every day, I get at least 50 emails from people who want to be walkers.
Ross: It’s one of the best written shows on TV, [but] I’m still hoping to see a whole episode on a day in the life of the well zombie [from season 2] (laughter). David Morrissey is with us, ladies and gentlemen. David, I’ve met you, you’re not a bad person. You’re not necessarily a great person, but you’re not a bad person (laughter) How do you play evil so comfortably, David?
Morrissey: Well, you know, I have to drag it out from somewhere, and it helps with the great writing we get. It worries me, it worries me, where it comes from. I put the patch on, and then that’s it, I’m gone.
Ross: Is there any chance of redemption for the Governor? When he starts off, he’s got Woodbury, and there’s a chance he’s a force for good or he’s a beacon. Now, of course, he’s about the worst person on the planet who’s still alive. But is there a chance that he might find his way back?
Morrissey: I think you’re going to be very surprised by season four. I think the writers have done a great job. And it’s the same with all the characters, you’re going to have to wait and see. But he’s a great character to play, and I’me loving playing him this season, it’s fantastic.
Ross: We have two people who have never been to Comic Con before. We have Scott Wilson, and we have Chad Coleman (applause) Scott, playing Hershel, is it harder to make it work, when you have a man in such dreadful circumstances, the end of days perhaps, who’s still holding on to his morality, the man who’s trying to show them what they should be doing?
Wilson: Well, I think essentially, he’s trying to hold his other leg more (laughter) It was a very interesting day, when he did lose the leg. All the actors were so focused, and the director Ernest Dickerson…it was just an exciting day. All the actors had this energy level that was contagious, kept it going through the entire shoot that day.
Ross: Chad, what a great role in Tyrese, and you did it brilliantly, congratulations. How is it joining the cast …and the show when it’s already a huge success by the time you join it?
Coleman: It’s one of those situations where you come into a family, people with incredible integrity and talent from top to bottom. They welcomed me with open arms, and this is just an amazing opportunity
Ross: I know there are some big things coming up in season four.
Ross: It’s kind of weird seeing you looking okay. You always look so terrible on the show, and I don’t mean physically. You scrub up well, as we say in England. You’re a good looking man.
Coleman: I don’t know how to respond (laughter) I guess we must talk later (laughter)
Ross: Let’s enjoy the moment. Let’s just luxuriate in each other’s company.Okay, so we’ve got Steven, and we’ve got Lauren here as well. Congratulations, when’s the wedding? Cos you proposed at the end of last season.
Cohan: Very hard to find a venue (laughter)
Ross: Steven, I know you get…let’s face it, the real heartthrob [Reedus] is sitting right at the end there looking moody, as if he’s still modeling for Prada. But I know you get more than your own fair share of fan love.
Yeun: I just get whatever’s (glancing at Norman Reedus) leftover (laughter)
Reedus: I threw a boob at him once.
Yeun: Yeah, I get his spare parts.
Ross: Zombie boob, or fan boob?
Reedus: Somebody sent me their breast implant, and then Steven was sitting in the corner of his trailer, surrounded by interviewers, and I threw it at him (laughter) Sorry, Steven.
Ross: Let me ask Mr Andrew Lincoln, who’s right there (applause). What a remarkable role, your character goes through such huge changes. And you’re not the man you were at the beginning, you’re an entirely different person.
Lincoln: Yeah, I’m a lot greyer.
Ross: How does Rick progress? How does Rick deal with what’s in store for him? Losing his wife, losing the Ricktatorship, has kind of gone by the side, what do we expect from you in the next season?
Lincoln: Scott (Gimple) and the writers, as people have been talking, have done a magnificent job in character development. They’ve done a very smart thing. Rick realized that his son’s turning into a sociopath at the end of last season, and so he realized that he’s having to renounce his leadership role somewhat, and suppress his brutality for the sake of his children.
Ross: It’s an incredible performance. Every Christmas, my family and I watch Love Actually (laughter), it’s such a disturbing moment there.
Lincoln: Yeah, you and me both (laughter). It’s really not the guy from Love Actually.
Ross: I think Keira would prefer the Rick you than, let’s face it, that wuss (laughter). Let’s have Danai Gurira so fabulous (applause). Rick wasn’t the only character who lost someone last season, of course, but you suffered from the blow of Andrea going out. How does your character deal with that? How does she move forward?
Gurira: Michonne’s kind of the quintessential survivor, in that regard. She does move forward, and she’s steeled herself around the will to be someone who moves forward and keeps going and always keeps focused. And that’s the thing she wants to do, to have a mission and a focus, and so she’s definitely on that track this season. The navigation of being a loner, but also being part of a community and figuring that out for herself….it’s really awesome how the writers are letting her break into that.
Ross: Last year, when we met here, you were were just talking about the role for the first time, and now you’ve mastered the samurai sword….
Gurirai: Mastered it? Oh no, no no no!
Ross: It’s convincing. But now we see from the screen there, you’re riding a horse, mastering the sword as well. You’re an accomplished horsewoman now?
Gurira: It was a journey. I wouldn’t say ‘accomplished’. I actually thought that I knew how to ride a horse. They asked me, do you know how to ride a horse? I was like really excited and I said, ‘Oh yeah, yeah!’ And then when I really thought about it, the only experience I’ve had was when I was a kid, and you go to a birthday party and they put you on one and walk you around (laughter) And I was like, that won’t translate, it’s not the same thing!’ So I thought, I better take some lessons. They are kind of formidable beasts, so you have to let them know who’s in charge. That took me a while.
Ross: I can’t wait to see you on the horse. Let’s go to Daryl, ladies and gentlemen. What a season for you, and what an incredible episode, when you and Merle (Michael Rooker) had that goodbye moment, that was quite incredible.
Reedus: Yeah, I remember reading that script and thinking, god this day’s gonna suck. The thing about being on the show and being behind the scenes, you get to really fall in love with all these characters, and all these people as actors. It’s so interesting for me to watch. There’s no characters who were season one that are exactly the same now, they’re so different. All the actors bring so much to it, so every time someone goes, it just stings, it’s awful
Ross: At least you’re not on Game of Thrones, where everyone goes at once at a party (laughing). At least a few of you will survive.
Reedus: Everyone’s infected, and your clock is ticking, and these are your two feet on the ground, and who do you wanna be, what kind of person you wanna be in this world and..it sort of translates with us out there, cos we’re shooting way out in the sticks, there’s not any of this kind of love out there. There’s a different kind of love, prison love (laughter) Sorry. For me to be behind the scenes and really get to know these people and the producers and the writers and the crew, it’s really a blessing.
Ross: All of the characters are super popular, even the Governor, who has a different sort of fan base. [I encountered a woman who said] ‘If Daryl dies, we riot’. There’s a deep well of love for you out there
Reedus: That’s how I got that breast implant (laughter)
Ross then showed everyone a a clip of The Walking Dead Broadway Song by Bad Lip Reading, a spoof YouTube channel. Check back in with us tomorrow for part II of our report, when a key issue is addressed: the return of Morgan (Lennie James).
Viewers from South East Asia and Singapore can catch The Walking Dead season 4 on FOX Movies Premium every Sunday at 10pm. Are you enjoying the season so far? Tell us!