SDCC Walking Dead Panel Coverage

A column article, Shot For Shot by: Matt Rios , Travis Walecka

Matt Rios: Our Walking Dead panel shot right off with producer Gale Anne Hurd, special effects make-up artist Greg Nicotero, director Frank Darabont and, of course, the creator and writer of the comics, Robert Kirkman. There’s a ton to jump into, so our panel took off right away.

Travis Walecka: AMC seems to know how to make genre TV. Kirkman joked, “I had no idea what was going on. Now all the networks want a zombie show.”

MR: With success comes pressure. So Walking Dead will seemingly always be number one because they are going to push the boundaries of the source material with the great energy of their cast and crew. Their passion will take the show to another level, especially with an increased budget. Darabont knew off the rip that issue #1 would be a TV show.

TW: It was interesting to me how the special effects dude grew up in Pittsburgh where George Romero shot Night of the Living Dead. And now, it’s reached the point where they even have a zombie school in Atlanta for the extras and background workers. Nutso.

MR: Most of that’s due to the fact that he also wanted to translate the proper grotesque feel of the zombies in the book into this different medium. Also, let’s not forget they announced the date of the Season 2 premiere: October 16th at a brand new time, 9pm.

TW: Well done "TV Guide". Now I know who to go to for my DVR direction. This cast and crew seems to be pretty amazed by the new writers. Over and again their passion for the script feels like it rejuvenated them after a hard, difficult — as they said, a “bumps and bruised” — season.

MR: Physically and emotionally. Laurie Holden (Andrea) said, “It’s hard to cleanse emotion.” But since the scripts are gold, they want to keep presenting the same standard of material. Especially after crying for hours after your sister died. Jon Bernthal (Shane) also said it was the best pilot he ever read. With this tumultuous type of journey, that experience alone should help them get past the difficulties of a high intensity show.

TW: Yeah, even Darabont needed a break himself. He was winded after just six episodes and he went back and re-read Robert’s source material. And here’s the trailer...

MR: This is the first time they’ve showed this! It begins with Shane standing alone against a zombie horde; lots of season 1 flashbacks with a voiceover by Rick Grimes (our lead, Andrew Lincoln). The overall tone of the new season is panic, and a feeling of breaking points as the crew begins to split up. The RV breaks down on a crowded freeway, followed by a cat-and-mouse game with the zombies as they try to escape. We see a graveyard chase and it all converges at Hershel’s Farm, where most of the season should take place.

TW: It gave me goosebumps. Not to jump off topic but I enjoyed the humor between the moderator from G4 and the cast and crew. I also loved how Dale is this beacon of hope, or, as Jeffrey DeMunn (Dale) says “just terribly nearsighted.” He’s definitely the glue that holds this horrified group together.

MR: Yeah, the crew was even pushing off the table, so for that he did a good job handling the size of the panel. My favorite was Steven Yeun’s “Glen.” He just came to LA the October before they were shooting, just a fan of the comic who got picked out of acting school and his reaction told it all: “Holy F!”

TW: “Holy Fresh!” And Lincoln even expressed that while it may be his second Con, this one was “just as scary.” Even scarier are the thoughts of Ed O’Neill and John Stamos joining this bunch.

MR: That was funny. Uncle Jesse Zombies.

TW: Or tick check! That appeared to be the most important element of them all. Checking for ticks, hopping on a horse galloping at full speed, hunting down zombies with crossbows...

MR: Buying a pick-up truck in Atlanta and getting sheer redneck credibility. Norman Reedus (Daryl) is a bad-ass.

TW: Yup. Wave to all the hillbillies. Pull over. Check for ticks again.

MR: I loved how Kirkman was a wimp. He’d personally admit to jumping off a bridge over facing this zombie apocalypse.

TW: Wouldn’t you? If the taste of food coloring and corn syrup is all that’s offered, call me a goner too.

MR: Ha. I liked how Gale told him: “Read the comics, Robert. Read the rules.”

TW: Lest he forget.. I’m just glad Season 2 picks right up from them RVing away.

TW (cont…): You know, especially with Lincoln only recently learning how to drive (four years ago), and doing his own stunts driving “on the wrong side.”

MR: He definitely summed it up best with: “Everyone involved in the show is bursting to bring fans the best season two they can.” There’s no question with that energy, fans should be reassured that this next season will be even better the second time around.

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