A lot has happened in the Walking Dead universe since last year's Comic Con panel. I won't get in to spoilers for the uninitiated, but suffice to say there was more than one fewer seat on stage in Hall H this year. The lucky ones who did make it back included starts Andrew Lincoln, Norman Reedus, Steven Yeun, Lauren Cohan, Danai Gurira, Melissa McBride, Chad Coleman, and Michael Cudlitz; executive producers Scott Gimple, Robert Kirkman and Gale Anne Hurd, and zombie make up and effects guru Greg Nicotero. The panel was moderated by Talking Dead host Chris Hardwick.
Things started off with a viewing of the new trailer for Season 5, which you can conveniently watch below:
Other highlights (spoiler warning!):
- Hardwick went to visit the set a few weeks ago and said unlike Season 4's quieter "farming" beginning, Season 5 will be intense from the get go. He called it the most brutal and ambitious season yet.
- When asked if the characters make it out of the train car, Gimple showed a video he claimed was from episode 15 of the fifth season. It's a sitcom version of the show complete with laugh track, showing Rick and Glenn with long hair and beards after months of living in the train car. The two are playing Go Fish and snacking on something, which turns out to be pieces of Maggie and Carl. There's then a shot of bald Daryl doing his best APOLCALYPSE NOW impression: "The horror, the horror."
- On the themes of Season 5, Gimple said that once they lost the prison and Hershel, the group discovered that you can't come back from certain things and you just have to live with them. But they're things that make you formidable and this season will define what each character is going to become.
- When speaking about Terminus, Chris Hardwick called them a "colony of hipsters" and Gimple said we will get to see their Urban Outfitters.
- Robert Kirkman had good news for fans of the comic. Though the Terminus storyline is a major departure from the source material, the rest of the season will closely follow the comic and finally get to some stuff that fans have been waiting for.
- Now that they're finally catching up to the comics, Kirkman said it's not just Rick who can survive now; they're all a very different group of people with their own survival skills.
- The Blu Ray will contain an uncut f-bomb from Rick from the comic: "You're f*cking with the wrong people."
- The producers mentioned that they have a strong objective to hire everyone from HBO's The Wire and confirmed that Seth Gilliam will be joining the series as Father Gabriel Stokes.
- Nicotero says he gets to up the ante again in the in fifth season with more unique walker set pieces, including the "waterlogged" zombie seen in the trailer that’s been trapped for years in a flooded basement.
- Andrew Lincoln talked about how great it was to have Angry Rick and his gun back. They showed a video of him getting in to character for various scenes by screaming and hitting things. He admitted he also listens to Prince to get in to character.
- In a nod to one of last season's most memorable scenes, Chris Hardwick gave Melissa McBride some flowers. In regards to Lizzie, the actress talked about being prepared to do anything and that in her center she feels justified that Carol's actions comes from a place of caring.
- When asked which character has evolved most, the cast all agreed it was Carl and then actor Chandler Riggs made a surprise appearance carrying a can of pudding. Riggs is now 15, has a driver's permit and has spent one third of his life on the show. (I'm old.)
- When asked about his character, Norman Reedus said "There's a bunch of me in Daryl, and a bunch of Daryl in me. Wait, that sounds wrong." (Reedus spent most of the panel taking selfies and not paying attention.)
- A girl in a wheelchair asked whether or not we would ever see a disabled walker, and Gimple promised that we would see a bigger variety of walkers moving forward from various previous walks of life.