‘Fear the Walking Dead’ Trailer Shows Early Days of Zombie Downfall

Fear The Walking Dead
Justin Lubin/AMC
Fear The Walking Dead

Zombies will soon descend on the City of Angels when Fear The Walking Dead premieres August 23 at 9 p.m. Executive producer Gale Ann Hurd announced the launch date for the Walking Dead spinoff at Friday’s Comic-Con panel, where the show also debuted its first full-length trailer.

The prequel series will begin as a family drama before it descends into undead mayhem. Cast members Ruben Blades, Kim Dickens, Cliff Curtis, Frank Dillane, Alycia Debnam-Carey, Lorenzo James Henrie, Mercedes Mason and Elizabeth Rodriguez joined executive producers Hurd, Dave Erickson, Dave Alpert and Greg Nicotero onstage.

Focusing on the early days of the zombie apocalypse, at the onset of the outbreak, Erickson said Los Angeles was the perfect place to bite …er, kick off the new series, which has a more humane feel than the AMC hit that spawned it. “It’s a major city instead of a more rural setting, and the idea was to see the fall of that city,” Erickson said. “The sprawl of the city is so spread out, that it becomes isolating. When something happens, we go back to our space, our house. The tension of the show is not about going beyond the boundaries of the community, it’s wondering what’s going on out in the world.”

The show, set loosely around the time The Walking Dead‘s Rick was in a coma, is anchored in East LA, close to downtown; and since these are regular cityfolk, not survivalists, no one will have the skills they’re going to need to survive. “What if there’s not such an obvious leader? What about someone who’s an English teacher, or a guidance counselor, and they’re having problems just dealing with the day-to-day of living? Their lives are coming apart a little bit at the seams when the world is good—and then you add on top of that the zombie apocalypse.”

That said, it won’t take long for Dickens to be kicking zombie ass. “There’s definitely going to be female badassness early on,” Erickson said.

Part of the buzz around the highly anticipated spinoff is in seeing the characters slowly realize what’s happening. “The audience knows what they have in store, and we’re watching the characters slowly come to understand what’s happening,” Erickson said. “At first, they don’t know what this is. They think they’re sick, they don’t know it’s the undead.”

While the show will have plenty of walkers, the Fear zombies will look quite different, like “somebody that you are sitting next to, and you look at them, and they don’t look quite well. Your instinct isn’t, “oh, I should shoot that guy in the head.’ You would cross the street,” Nicotero explained. “We still have a couple of our signature moments in the first couple of episodes, but it’s not necessarily the decomposition that we do in The Walking Dead. You still feel the humanity there. You still see a bit of life in their eyes.”

And don’t expect to see Rick Grimes in California: there are no plans to merge the two shows yet. “I think [Walking Dead executive producer] Scott Gimple would kill me if I ever pitched that idea. It would be geographically quite complicated…as interesting as that might be,” said Erickson.

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