The Walking Dead is one of the most watched and beloved shows on TV, and fans can look forward to getting their fill when it returns for a fourth season this October 13th. Following their panel at Comic-Con, Gale Anne Hurd, Andrew Lincoln, Chad Coleman, and David Alpert spoke to the press about what we can expect from the upcoming season. During the interview they discussed the tone of season four, Rick’s mental state, Carl and Rick’s relationship, how Tyreese will fit in the group, and maintaining the horror element of the show. Check out what they had to say after the jump.
CHAD COLEMAN: Can I tell them?
GALE ANNE HURD: You can tell them a little bit.
COLEMAN: Well it was an awesome experience and total homage to the comic so that was amazing. And I know our amazing fans will really appreciate that so that’s huge. I know they’re going to say, “Yeah, that’s Tyreese.” So I’m looking forward to that.
Season one was like a shock to the system, season two was a slow personal burn, three was a lot more action packed, how would you describe what season four is going to be like?
HURD: Well I think it’s a hybrid, I think it’s very character driven, but there will be seminal moments of horror and obviously there’s scope and action. You saw that if you saw the promo piece. But all of it is in service of the characters, how this world is affecting them, and how they are affecting each other. It all comes from that.
LINCOLN: Yeah, I think all action comes from character. Certainly I think the first episode feels tonally like a mixture between the pilot episode in the pacing and the a character development alongside some of the best action sequences in season three. So I think it is kind of a combination of the two. Hopefully the best of both worlds.
COLEMAN: Epic and gut-wrenching.
Andrew, can you comment on Rick’s mental state?
LINCOLN: He’s fine. What’s wrong with you guys? He was just a little tired. They’ve done a very smart thing. I think the writers have been magnificent at reeling him back in. it’s a man trying to reclaim what he once was. We find him battling or trying to subdue the brutality that’s inherent in this man and also maybe relinquishing responsibilities for leadership for the sake of his family. You see a man trying to be a single dad in the apocalypse. It’s a challenge.
HURD: He wasn’t doing such a good job last season either.
LINCOLN: He wasn’t changing any diapers, that’s for sure, yeah.
Do you think we see Rick doing a little detective work this season, putting him back in the position of a cop solving a crime?
LINCOLN: Yes, you do get a little sense of the old sheriff somewhat, at some point.
Do you think with how far gone Rick was in season 3 that he has the capacity at some point to assume a leadership position again if the people around him need him to?
LINCOLN: Yes, but I’m not sure he’s willing to do it yet. I think the death of Andrea and Carl becoming a murderer, for all intents and purposes, was a huge turning point in making him return or attempt to return to the man he once was. Look, I haven’t read all the scripts, but so far it’s a man wrestling with lots of things. It’s a combination of him trying to do right in an impossible situation. He’s a born leader. He’s one of these people that keep getting thrust into the line of fire and somehow finding the resolve to come back. So I don’t think that’s changed in him, but certainly his responsibilities are massively changed.
LINCOLN: Well the last shot you see of him and the boy is a boy shocked by the decision he makes – to bring in the people from Woodbury. So these are two people that are very much at odds. They do a really smart thing…I don’t know if I can talk about it, but they do a really smart thing. Stay tuned.
Chad, it seems that just as many people are defined by their experiences on the show as they’re defined by the people around them. How much do you feel that Tyreese is changing or is going to change now that he’s a core member of the group?
COLEMAN: Conflict makes drama, that’s what’s compelling. To see people wrestling with something so I hope you’ll have an opportunity to witness this man wrestle with the rules of engagement around him and where he fits in in that world and just his own inner – I think he seems to me to have a profound belief in non-violent conflict resolution. How does that really fit in a claustrophobic world? I believe you’ll see him tested and no one goes unscathed.
LINCOLN: Am I allowed to talk about – if I said that episode 3 he does some of the magnificent work – I’ve said it now.
It was recently said that a big part of season four was going to be seeing that the zombies are not a manageable threat. What are your thoughts about that? What was your experience this time around with making zombies scarier and a bigger threat?
LINCOLN: They’re behaving different ways.
HURD: Last season we actually had a tagline that we lived up to, “Fight the dead, fear the living” and that was what we did last season. This season there are threats from within, there are threats from without and there are walkers in both worlds.
LINCOLN: There’s some amazing moments that have nothing to do – I’ve read in a couple of the scripts…I’m not allowed to say this, but I’m going to try and say it in a really delicate way – there are ways that I found more horrifying when I read the scripts for this season that have nothing to do with conflict or zombies, and they’re incredibly harrowing, frightening and horrifying. And it’s a departure in as much as the pressure that’s put on the group is a new pressure. They’ve been very witty and very smart in adding that texture, that flavor, that horror element back into the show.
HURD: And you referenced that shot in the promo of Tyreese, and he’s surrounded, it’s not like “Oh, they’re manageable. Oh, no problem.” We really never got there last season, that wasn’t the point of last season, but this season there’s no safety in the world of the humans or the world of the dead.
DAVID ALPERT: I think there’s a fundamental tension in that it’s easy to be away from the zombies when you’re moving. As long as you’re moving, we saw Michonne kind of be able to do that when she was on her own, but you can’t put down roots, you can’t have any form of a life so there’s a constant tension between wanting to be emotionally fulfilled and moving to stay ahead of them. And also trying to reestablish civilization, try to have some sense of normalcy, try to live a life. But as you have that sense of normalcy you become a bigger and bigger target.
How has the Rick and Tyreese relationship changed?
HURD: You know, you’ve got two alpha males.
LINCOLN: Three alpha males. Two’s easier to manage. You see that with kids. When three are in a group it gets complicated. I think that’s an interesting triangle, these three alpha males in this closed community. And with the added pressures that we’re not allowed to talk about, it’s a very combustible mix.
COLEMAN: Totally. Really intense, and really intense actors who love complexity and that’s what you want on your plate.