‘TWD’ Universe at [email protected]: CRM, the Reapers, and Maggie vs. Negan
Talking Dead‘s Chris Hardwick moderated all three panels with the casts, producers, and The Walking Dead Universe chief content officer Scott M. Gimple to tease what’s ahead with all the shows returning in the coming months. (By the way, if you’re looking for scoop on all things TWD, be sure to snag TV Guide Magazine’s The Walking Dead Universe Special Collector’s Issue.)
Read on for scoop from all three Walking Dead Universe panels.
Fear the Walking Dead
In addition to unveiling two sneak peeks from the upcoming seventh season (premiering October 17), the panel shared a few teases about what to expect.
“We were looking for a way to reinvent the show. We’re going to reset everyone in terms of apocalypse survival. Everyone’s back to zero, having to learn how to do it all over again,” showrunner and executive producer Andrew Chambliss said.
Among the things those nuclear warheads detonating change, showrunner and executive producer Ian Goldberg teased, are “the walkers, how our characters navigate the world outside, [and] in a lot of cases the air is not breathable unless through a gas mask.” Plus, he revealed: “Resources are going to be more scarce, and [it’s] bring about a whole new brand of human adversary that will challenge our group. It’s a whole new world in a lot of ways.”
So what does this new world mean for the characters? Lennie James said Morgan’s focus is on “living for and building a future for that child” he and Grace (Karen David) saved. Grace, meanwhile, is a bit of “a shadow” of herself following her loss. “Being the scientist gives her a really welcome distraction from having to deal with the pain she’s having to go through, so in that sense, she just throws herself fully into it,” David added.
Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey), locked away in an underground bunker, was defiantly refusing to do what Teddy wanted from her last we saw her. “What really is becoming a defining trait of Alicia is she’s a reluctant leader,” Debnam-Carey, who’s making her directorial debut this season, said. Expect to see “Victor Strand double down on fully being Victor Strand,” Colman Domingo teased of his character, and Luciana possibly “show her true colors” and what she’s kept inside, according to Danay Garcia.
June will have to figure out “how to have that strong footing on the ground and where she can bring value to the situation she finds herself in,” Jenna Elfman said. And according to Mo Collins, “Sarah has to find a whole new way to live [without Wendell with her].” Meanwhile, it sounds like Sherry may be a bit more settled, since Christine Evangelista pointed out, “her relationship with Dwight will be stronger than ever because her relationship with herself is stronger than ever. She realizes the two of them can do a lot of good together again.”
As for any FearTWD and TWD crossovers and the two timelines adding up, Gimple pointed out that they’re far from each other, but acknowledged: “It’s possible.” However, there is a common thread across all three shows with CRM (that group with the helicopters) and each having “a different piece of the puzzle,” he said.
“There are personal stories for the characters that do advance aspects of the greater mythology. The CRM stuff in Fear really has to do with a couple characters deeply and their situation bleeds out to other characters but it’s part of a personal and an emotional story on this show,” while giving more information to the greater world, Gimple added.
The Walking Dead: World Beyond
The panel revealed that Season 2 premieres on October 3. Also announced were new Season 2 series regulars: Jelani Alladin (Will), Natalie Gold (Lyla), Joe Holt (Leo), and Ted Sutherland (Percy).
With this spinoff, we get quite a bit about the mythology of CRM and how it works with the other shows, and its second and final season “especially tells these in-between stories to really big things that are happening in the universe that really do join it together,” Gimple teased. “It really does fill in some story gaps or knowledge that the audience doesn’t have. It actually gets more and more intense that way as the episodes go on.”
Plus, “there will be a moment specific to that joining of the worlds or getting other information about the world, there are some very big moments and aspects to the season,” he continued, but added it’s “not Rick Grimes.” (Andrew Lincoln’s character was last seen on The Walking Dead on one of CRM’s helicopters.)
Plus, the panel featured a sneak peek from Season 2:
The Walking Dead
“Season 11 we’re going to go out with a bang,” showrunner and executive producer Angela Kang promised. “We’re back to our big, scope-y massive extravaganzas with lots of great character interactions between the people we love but also our stunts and scares.”
These next 24 episodes are coming off Season 10C, with its character-focused episodes. “Those episodes tell you a lot about the emotional state, the headspace of a lot of our characters. We know that Alexandria has been trashed by the Whisperers and that causes ongoing conflicts that play out in a big way in Season 11,” the showrunner continued.
As glimpsed in the trailer, get ready for a major confrontation between Maggie (Lauren Cohan) and Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), the man who killed her husband (Steven Yeun’s Glenn). Dealing with the fact that she and her son are now in the same community as Negan is “the whole season,” Cohan said. “That’s what we’re going to unpack this year. If there’s a feeling that could be had, we’ll probably spend time on that feeling and then we’ll move onto another one. It’s crazy.”
And while the end of last season did see a bit of an evolution for Negan (especially as his backstory was explored in “Here’s Negan”), “I would be hard-pressed to say old Negan will ever disappear,” Morgan admitted. “He’ll always be a part of who he is, but at this point, he is trying everything he can to fit in with this group of people and was doing OK until Maggie came back and now it’s a whole new ballgame for him and one that he’s trying to figure out.”
Speaking of a character who has evolved, Daryl (Norman Reedus) has come a long way from when we first met him. Reedus likened it to Elton John talking about how he wished John Lennon was around to comment on the current state of the world: “I kind of feel that way with all the characters that have come before. I wonder what Rick would think about this, Hershel, any of these people because I think [Daryl’s] changed in all these different ways but he takes little pieces of all these people he’s learned from.”
One of the threats the survivors will be facing in the final season is the Reapers, who have already caused quite a bit of damage to Maggie’s group. “One of the things that sets them apart is that they are incredibly skilled and not like skilled like they had to pick it up along the way,” Kang teased.
“They were skilled coming into the apocalypse. Every single one of them is an incredibly, brutal, organized warrior,” she continued. “These are the pinnacle of human killers, so it’s just a formidable type of enemy to go up against…they’re a tight-knit group and they’re just really, really formidable in a way our characters don’t often come across.”
Fear the Walking Dead, Season 7 Premiere, Sunday, October 17, 9/8c, AMC
The Walking Dead: World Beyond, Season 2 Premiere, Sunday, October 3, 10/9c, AMC
The Walking Dead, Season 11 Premiere, Sunday, August 22, 9/8c, AMC
TV Guide Magazine’s The Walking Dead Universe Special Collector’s Issue is available for international pre-order online now at TheWalkingDeadMag.com and will be available nationwide on newsstands on Tuesday, August 17