‘Fear the Walking Dead’ Season 2 Key Art and Plot Details Revealed
Fear the Walking Dead is charting a new course in Season 2.
The prequel companion series to AMC’s The Walking Dead returns on April 10 with a different location: the Pacific Ocean. After Los Angeles crumbled in the early days of the zombie apocalypse, Fear‘s survivors–led by high school counselor Madison Clark (Kim Dickens) and English teacher Travis Manawa (Cliff Curtis)–partnered with a mysterious ally named Strand (Colman Domingo), who just happened to be the owner of a luxury yacht named Abigail anchored off the coast. Together with Madison’s children, Nick (Frank Dillane) and Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey), Travis’s son, Chris (Lorenzo James Henrie), and the remaining members of the Salazar family, Daniel (Ruben Blades) and Ofelia (Mercedes Mason), the group sets sail for sanctuary–and unknown dangers–on the open waters.
Showrunner Dave Erickson breaks down what viewers can expect in the season premiere, where the survivors might be heading and the possibility of the aquatic undead.
First things first: Will we see swimming zombies?
No. It’s something we had to work our way through and explore in the first couple of episodes, but zombies are walkers and not swimmers. They can wade, which can be creepy and interesting, but their movement in open water is really dictated by the level of decomposition and gases. Do they float or do they sink? There are some really interesting, wild things you can do, and the water element makes it all the more fascinating, eerie and awesome. But they cannot swim.
How does the element of having the survivors now sailing the open waters change the show in Season 2?
In a number of ways. This is a forced blended family who had their issues when they were on land, but now we’re sticking them on a boat. Granted, it’s a really beautiful boat and a handsome yacht, but they’re still in a more claustrophobic environment. They’re stuck in the middle of the ocean with people who they don’t really know. Strand is a big mystery figure and a real enigma in the beginning of the season. He’s offered this opportunity for escape, but what are his motives and what is his agenda? That’s something to be discovered. So the tension and the anxiety we wanted to create last season is something that we’re able to maintain as we move into this season and explore what it’s like on the water. We’ll come to realize we are not the only people who had the bright idea to get off land. The dangers on sea are equal to if not greater than what they were on land, and it creates this interesting sense of displacement. I know that’s not unique in and of itself in terms of the wanderings of survivors and having to go from destination to destination, but there’s a different element when you’re stuck in the middle of the ocean and you can’t see land in any direction. One of my greatest fears is to be stuck in the middle of the ocean and not have any place to go, not have any real destination or any safe harbor. That adds a really critical and interesting element that we haven’t seen before. We’re going to be offering the audience something that they haven’t seen before.
Do they have a destination in mind?
It is not going to be The Love Boat with zombies, so we will not be going from port to port. One of the fundamental questions in the first few episodes will be where do we go? The great thing about the Abigail as a vessel is it is a great boat. They will be able to survive on it for a period of time. And also with a full tank of gas, it can go quite far. So one of the big questions as we open is are we going to go north, south or further west? I’m sure Cliff would love it if we made our way to New Zealand, which is a little bit too far, but there is Hawaii. So there are a number of elements to these first few episodes that will begin to show the audience where our target might be, but every episode will not be stopping at a new port of call and experiencing interesting people there.
Is there a time jump between Seasons 1 and 2?
It’s really close, and that’s for a couple of reasons. The emotional weight of what they’ve lost and the emotional weight of the death of Los Angeles is something I wanted to hold onto and carry over into the second season. And it also allows us the opportunity to learn the boat a little bit through the eyes of our characters. In order to maintain that quality and have it feel new and fresh and interesting, I wanted the audience to experience it at the same time that the characters were.
What, if anything, will we be learning about Strand this season?
They’re now stuck on this boat, but it’s his boat. He’s the captain, so he’s got a certain degree of power. One of the questions that we have to explore is why did he take an interest in Nick? What did he see in this kid? Why did he agree to bring seven people onto his vessel? What are his intentions, and where does he want to go? He’s the one with the boat, so he must have something in mind. Between Strand, Madison, Daniel, we have a number of characters on our ship who have their little secrets. Last season was about the theme of reinvention. A lot of our characters were transplants and they came to Los Angeles from someplace else, and they did that for a reason. Now we have an opportunity to explore in a little bit more detail what those stories were, what drove them and why they arrived.
In last season’s finale, Travis killed his ex-wife Liza (Elizabeth Rodriguez) before she turned. How does Travis recover from this traumatic events?
Travis was the moral compass last season, but he was forced into this position where he had to put down Liza. Both Madison and Liza had said don’t let him do it because it will break him. That’s a question for Travis this season: Did it break him? Never mind the resentment that comes between father and son over divorce, but he now has to deal with the fact that he put down Chris’s mom. That is going to be a huge issue and challenge for him. Regardless of the circumstances, in the world of the apocalyptic and the undead, we understand why he had to do it. Liza understood, and as does Madison, but it’s going to be very difficult for Chris to get that image out of his head. The idea of his mother being dead and her death was at his own father’s hands. We’re going to see an interesting trajectory for the father and son of it all as he tries to find some degree of forgiveness. It’s going to put a lot of pressure on his relationship with Madison. It’s going to shift his direction and where his focus is going this season. We explored the idea to a degree last season of Madison being a character who is willing to condone and abide by torture and how that impacted Travis. Then Travis as a good man who, in the old world, is noble, generous and gracious. All of the attributes that really don’t help you all that much in the apocalypse. That’s going to be a part of their struggle as we move forward.
What about Nick and Alicia?
Nick is in a very interesting place right now. He said in the finale, “It’s like I feel everyone is catching up with me.” He had been living his own apocalypse, in many respects. He had been living on the fringes of society. Now he’s had this moment of clarity. So we’re not going to see a Nick who is looking for his next fix. We’re not going to continue the story of his heroin addiction, but he wants to understand why he’s alive. If so many people are dead, he should have died so many times and didn’t. What is his purpose? So he’s going to be exploring the apocalypse in a much different way. The people who functioned the best in the old world oftentimes do not function at all in this new world, and Nick didn’t function very well in the old world, so I think he’s quite adaptable. As for Alicia, she’s in this interesting position where she should have been taking her SATs and going to college. And what we’re going to see with her is what does coming of age look like in the apocalypse? Alicia is going to have to dramatically adjust her perspective on things because she was somebody who was highly functioning in the old world, and she’s going to have a harder time letting go of that world. And eventually she will, but we’ll see an Alicia who comes into her own this season who becomes something of an ally to Madison in a way that she wasn’t before and finds strength.
The web series Flight 462 is still ongoing, but what is your plan for how you’re going to introduce a character from that into Fear?
It remains to be seen. And if it does happen, it will be surprising and awesome.
Looking back at the first season, are there elements that you wanted to adjust or correct when writing Season 2?
I think the education of our characters. One of the big challenges for many viewers, especially with Travis, was why doesn’t he get it? Why doesn’t he understand? Haven’t they ever seen a zombie film? They’ve definitely seen zombie films, but it’s a different thing to experience it firsthand and in reality. It would be difficult to wrap your brain around it and it would take time. But we’re not that far into the apocalypse. So the good thing for us is that we have a little bit more runway in terms of discovering where do we go, is it safe, how bad is it out there? But the apocalyptic education of our characters has reached a place where they are savvy now. They have reached a level of zombie savvy and they know what they’re dealing with. Travis especially has come to terms and come to accept that he has to change his views and he has to become a little bit more apocalyptic in his manner if he’s going to survive and protect his family. From a story perspective, that was something that we should have massaged a little bit differently in order to make it clearer, but it’s something that we can put to bed as we move forward.
Check out a first look of this season’s key art below. Fear the Walking Dead premieres Sunday, April 10 at 9/8c on AMC.