As The Walking Dead celebrated the premiere of its 100th episode on air, Walker Stalker Con Atlanta celebrated the fan-driven convention’s 5th anniversary. 60,000+ attended the 3-day convention at the Georgia World Congress Center to celebrate their love of the show and interact with the cast. Fans come from all over the country as Atlanta is still the only domestic city Andrew Lincoln (“Rick Grimes”) attends. Lincoln’s ticketed panel this year included his “beautiful TV wife” Danai Gurira. Below are highlights from the “Lovers, Fighters” panel as well as other cast panels throughout the con.
- Overall consensus from all actors on the show is that The Walking Dead is a truly a family, there is a great sense of pride to be part of it and the show has the best fans.
- Many cast members and fans wondered how Jon Bernthal’s character Shane would have handled the villainous Negan if Shane were still alive on the show.
Sorry to disappoint, but Shiva the tiger is actually a stuntman in a blue suit enhanced by CGI, not a real animal!
- In Season 7, Episode 8, Ross Marquand (“Aaron”) said that is real fear on his face when he’s pulled into the lake by a walker since typically the walkers are thin, but this burly zombie was approximately twice his size.
- Tom Payne’s (“Jesus”) most memorable moment on set was being chased around a field by a sweaty Norman Reedus (“Daryl Dixon”).
- Seth Gilliam’s (“Father Gabriel Stokes”) favorite scene was the waterlogged food bank in Season 5, Episode 2.
- (Spoiler if you haven’t finished Season 7) Since all of the cast gather around when it’s a character’s final scene, Sonequa Martin said the rest of the cast all watched her cry in a box as her character Sasha dies in the coffin in the Season 7 finale.
- Michael Rooker’s (“Merle Dixon”) favorite scene he worked on was the rooftop scene in Season 1, Episode 3. For those that don’t remember, Merle is left stranded handcuffed on the roof and cuts off his own hand to get away from the crazed walkers breaking down the stairwell door to the roof.
- On the fan-led “We Are All Negan” panel, one of the extras emphasized that pointing a gun at someone’s head is nerve racking. There were also so many Saviors, they ran out of weapons for some of the extras.
- Fun fact, a walker could amble up to 5 miles in one shoot day walking back and forth. The rest of the cast also find it entertaining to see walkers in makeup on lunch break.
- With a storied acting career, Scott Wilson (“Hershel”) was asked if he offered acting advise on the show, but his reply was that he still learns from the young guys.
The Lincoln-Reedus bromance and shenanigans continue to thrive. Lincoln said when he’d left set after a particularly long day and Reedus left early, he discovered a Daryl Dixon air freshener in his car. It smells nice.
- There were lots of cracks throughout the weekend about Rick’s aim.
- Danai Gurira (“Michonne”) refused to answer any more questions about what it’s like to kiss Andrew Lincoln (“Rick Grimes”).
- Lincoln loves his character’s romantic relationship on the show, bragging on Gurira and likened it to playing tennis with someone better than you, which in turn makes you play better.
- Lincoln and Gurira bantered about the likelihood of Michonne having a baby, and finally concluded that she would still kick-butt with a baby bump. In his perfect British accent, Lincoln said, “I’ll hold your Katana darling.”
- Speaking of babies, Jeffrey Dean Morgan (“Negan”) revealed he is having another baby in real life.
- Morgan said if Negan met Carol, he’d say, “Hey lady, can you bake me some cookies?”
- Morgan reminded fans, Negan only killed two main characters compared to the 70 Saviors Rick’s team killed at the satellite station outpost. Morgan also stressed that he is a paid actor and doesn’t kill people in his real life.
- The actors commit to keeping their haircut the same, so Josh McDermitt (“Eugene”) rocks the mullet year round.
- Jeffrey Dean Morgan would like to see his real wife, actress Hilarie Burton, cast as Negan’s wife on the show, and noted that she has read the comics.
- Morgan said as a fan, he was happy when Rick grew his nuts back, but it’s also fun for him as an actor to go head-to-head with Rick Grimes.
- Michael Cudlitz (“Sergeant Abraham Ford”) suggested a fan’s fiance remember the following for their marriage, “I’m sorry. You’re right. I don’t know what I was thinking.”
- When filming their first scene, Cudlitz could not remember Christian Serratos’ character’s last name (“Rosita Espinosa”), but finally got nailed the line after McDermitt wandered out loud what the other guy who didn’t get the Abraham role was doing at that moment.
The Walking Dead airs Sunday nights on AMC. Check out more Walker Stalker Con Atlanta coverage and photos.