Last season of The Walking Dead ended with the Ricktatorship essentially crumbling to the ground, following some questionable actions by the show’s titular character. Now that everyone in the group has settled into the comfort behind the walls of the Alexandria Safe-Zone, the question of whether these characters can adjust to a community life still remains unanswered.
Following their panel at Comic-Con Friday afternoon, we got a chance to sit down with the cast and executive producers of the show for roundtable interviews. Present were stars, Andrew Lincoln, Norman Reedus, Melissa McBride, Chandler Riggs, Sonequa Martin-Green, Danai Gurira, Michael Cudlitz, Lennie James, and Steven Yeun. As well as executive producers, David Alpert, Greg Nicotero, Gale Anne Hurd, and Scott M. Gimple.
We learned that life within Alexandria and what it means for each of our favorite characters will be a big focus when the show returns in the fall. As usual, the main plot points were guarded with extreme secrecy by producers and cast alike but we’ve got nine tidbits that will hopefully hold you over and appease your curiosity. And you can check out our entire panel recap here.
- Rick has been turned into a man who no longer is willing to compromise. But even amongst the chaos, a relationship with Jessie is still very much possible, “He’s gonna try dating in the apocalypse,” Lincoln said, also stating that things haven’t been easy for Rick. “He’s met this girl, kind of likes her, and then he just shot her husband in the head in front of everybody.” Lincoln joked that their first date will be an interesting conversations.
- Season 6 will focus on the “them and us” in regards to the people of Alexandria and Rick’s group. Nicotero pointed out that the show’s format never relies on just one storyline throughout the whole season. “Our show is really designed to have these mini stories,” he said, alluding to a similar structure for Season 6. He also expressed his desire for the audience to work at discovering new things in each episode, “The story structure and the pacing is bold and we’re planting seeds that we want the audience to dig through, so by the end of the episode they would have put together this puzzle that we’ve created for them.” And he promised that the beginning of each season will never be a repeat of what the audience has already seen before.
- McBride believes that Carol’s not completely closed off to forming new relationships with members of their new community as long as they have something in common. She’s willing to show others, Sam in particular, how to become a fighter but she’s not necessarily interested to hear about his old-world problems. Her goal is to find middle ground with the characters she interacts.
There is a big difference between being loyal and being a follower, and while the characters respect Rick, they won’t go along with a plan unless they agree with it. “It’s not blind trust,” Hurd stated, “They would never betray Rick but they would keep him from doing something stupid.” Gurira said the group believes in him but they know he can’t make every decision on his own. They’ve stood up to Rick before and they will continue to do so if they don’t agree with his methods.
- Each season is defined by a specific theme and the writers plan out from there what direction each character will take. Hurd is aware that fans have certain expectations for each character, mentioning Negan in particular, but they try to maintain every storyline as organic as possible in order to stay true to their journey. Season 6 will not be an exception.
- Abraham’s status as leader was a result of self-preservation and not necessarily because he felt equipped to be in charge. When Season 6 begins, the group finds themselves without a big mission. “There’s no desire to take over, there’s no desire to lead in a big scale unless it’s needed,” Cudlitz said of his character. Later, he stated that the cast is constantly reassembling and adjusting to the new directions their characters take. While the comics and the show are intertwined, they’re not replicas of each other. Sometimes characters take the journeys of others, which in turn takes them in a different trajectory.
- Being in a place where there’s already an established civilization like Alexandria, gives a different meaning to things, depending on the character. “They’re going to react to this environment incredibly differently, and seeing how this introduction of a bubble of safety affects everybody and their dynamics are the rich ingredients we’re going to play with this year,” Alpert shared.
- Gimple said that while the wolves have been hinted at in previous episodes, they will not be the main thing this season. The show will also focus on the characters’ power of survival and whether or not they will use it while residing in Alexandria. Riggs said that Carl will continue to keep his guard up but won’t hesitate to help people understand the risks and dangers behind the wall. Reedus for his part, seemed unsure of whether Daryl is at a point of acceptance when it comes to taking part in the community but he did say his character was willing to step in that direction and explore those options.
- Morgan’s character has been through a transition and it’s only natural the show will explain how he got from one point to the other. “We wouldn’t just jump that story,” Gimple assured, “There must be some answers, and there will be. It very much has to do with the story that we tell in the present.” He also explained that Morgan’s storyline was created during Season 5 in preparation for the sixth season.