One of the most popular shows on all of television returns this fall with the fourth season of AMC’s The Walking Dead, and fans are eager to see where the series picks up following some pretty bleak events towards the end of last season. We’ve seen a few teaser images of season four previously, but little has been revealed about where the story might go in the new episodes. However, during today’s The Walking Dead panel in Hall H, we got a much better idea of what to expect from the show’s producers and cast, and we also got a look at an extended trailer for season four. The cast discussed how frequently people die on the show, where we find Rick, The Governor, Glen, and more in the new season, how last season’s events have impacted the group, and more.
Additionally, it was revealed that season four of The Walking Dead will premiere on AMC on October 13th. Hit the jump to read my full recap of the Comic-Con panel and to see the newly-released trailer.
Check out the season four trailer for The Walking Dead below, followed by the panel recap:
Moderator and Talking Dead host Chris Hardwick began by introducing new showrunner Scott Gimple, comics creator/executive producer Robert Kirkman, executive producer David Alpert, executive producer Gale Anne Hurd, and executive producer Greg Nicotero.
Hardwick noted that each season they say it’s going to get even crazier, so he asked the producers if that’s true of this season:
- Kirkman replied in the affirmative, saying, “the world is getting worse, the people are getting more ragged, and it’s gonna keep progressing if you can believe it.”
- “It has escalated,” noted Gimple. He said it’s going to get insane very quickly.
- Nicotero says they learn new things each season and fine-tune the makeup, and he said that there’s stuff they shot this past Thursday morning that is “one of the coolest walker gags ever.”
- 150 cast and crew did a “go team” right before they shot the first episode, and their goal is to make the best season ever for the fans.
- Alpert said that since no one is safe, they have to adhere to a rigid logic and make sure they rise to the challenge of telling a worthwhile story.
- For every actor that has been killed off of the show, their cast number is “retired” like a jersey and hangs up in the studio in Georgia. It’s called “The Grateful Dead.”
- Alpert said that the most dangerous thing that can happen in the show is for the group to get comfortable. They want to make sure things change, like moving from single walkers into herds, then dealing with The Governor and Woodbury, and now he says they think they have it under control but they may be getting too comfortable.
- Kirkman said that when it comes to The Governor now, “all bets are off.” How he returns, when he returns, and in which way he returns will remain a pretty big mystery throughout the season.
- During the filming of the climactic confrontation between The Governor and Rick last year, Morrissey said he and Lincoln didn’t talk to each other much in between shooting the scene in order to keep the tension high. He compared it to being in a play.
The producers world premiered a new trailer for season four. The extensive trailer showed that, following the events of last season’s finale, the larger group has now comfortably holed up in the prison. We see them working together to raid a supermarket for supplies, fighting off a walker breach, and we even see Carol teaching the children about weapons. Conflict arises when there are mysterious breaks in the prison’s fence, as someone is deliberately allowing these walker outbreaks to happen. It’s never revealed who is doing this, but I assume it’s the work of The Governor. It’s clear from the trailer that a good deal of the new season will focus on conflict within the community in the prison, instead of focusing on some outside force.
Cast members Andrew Lincoln, Danai Gurrira, Steven Yeun, Lauren Cohan, Scott Wilson, Chad Coleman, David Morrissey, and Norman Reedus took the stage.
Why go back to the prison? Why not stay in Woodbury?
- Lincoln says that’s answered in this season. He says that the relationship to Carl is integral to the beginning of this season, and him turning into a sociopath has awakened Rick to his parental duties. He’s not trying to repress his brutality and has relinquished his leadership for the sake of his children.
- When we meet them in season four, there’s a whole new community and new tensions between characters.
- Lincoln said that one of his favorite things about the show is that you get pulled through different times by different characters, and he loves the unity of the ensemble.
- Lincoln thinks that by season four, Rick has been pulled out of this terrible place by the other members of the group.
- The events of last season have opened Michonne up to a sense of community now.
- Danai says the physicality of the role hasn’t gotten easier. It gets more and more intense with regards to the walker kills, and she had never ridden a horse before this new season.
- When Laurie Holden’s Andrea was killed off of the show, Danai said that it wasn’t the easiest experience to see her go. However, she noted that the beauty of the show is that people come and go.
Glen and Maggie
- Yeun said that Glen is constantly evolving and he was happy to play the life lesson arc of last season.
- After what happened between Maggie and The Governor last season, Cohan says Maggie just wanted to move past it faster than Glen. The events provide a springboard for Cohan to play Maggie as “a stronger cat” this season. She said Maggie and Glen have had a chance to test their relationship and it’s something that strengthened them.
Might Herschel’s role as the moral compass change or grow in the new season?
- Wilson says Herschel’s motivation is that he really just wants to hold on to his other leg.
- Coleman said he was welcomed with open arms when he joined the cast.
- Tyreese is still trying to find out how he fits in and what the rules of him engaging in this world are. He’s learning how to negotiate his place in his family and find his footing.
- Coleman doesn’t get the sense that Tyreese likes gratuitous violence, he needs a strong reasoning behind why he does what he does but the world doesn’t operate that way.
Has The Governor finally broken?
- Morrissey said that at the end of last season The Governor was in a bad place and he felt like they betrayed him. Morrissey said “If you’re not on my side, you just gotta go.”
- Morrissey said that when The Governor killed his own people, it was like a switch went off in his head. In the new season we see him dealing with what that switch is and what it is in and around him that makes that switch go off.
Daryl’s evolution and how far his character has come:
- Reedus says when he read the script where Merle died, he thought, “Man this day is gonna suck.”
- Without Merle around, Daryl is able to grow and become accepted.
- Robert Kirkman says he’d probably just kill himself because he doesn’t want to spend his life trying to fight zombies.
- Lincoln said that he would stand behind Chandler Riggs (Carl), who he notes has gone through a pretty major physical transformation for the coming season. Puberty!
- Reedus would take over a hotel, spray paint in circles, run around naked and watch South Park.
While I think season three of The Walking Dead got off to a great start, I was a bit disappointed with where the season ended up. New showrunner Scott Gimple didn’t talk much during today’s panel so it was tough to get a handle on his outlook for the series going forward, but the footage teased some promising character interplay in the prison. I’m a tad worried that the single location of the prison could become a bit monotonous, but there are likely plenty of surprises still to come.
Season four of AMC’s The Walking Dead returns October 13th. Click here for all our Comic-Con coverage.