Q&A: ‘Fear the Walking Dead’ EPs on Taxidermy Walkers, Morgan's Growing Role, the Cat! & More
[WARNING: The following contains MAJOR spoilers for Fear the Walking Dead Season 6 episode 7, “Damage From the Inside.”]
By the end of "Damage From the Inside," all of Fear the Walking Dead's main characters face unique challenges: Strand (Colman Domingo) has gone back to the villainous Ginny (Colby Minifie), who’s been keeping Grace (Karen David) locked up behind a false wall; Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey) and Morgan (Lennie James) are taking Dakota (Zoe Coletti) to safety; and John (Garret Dillahunt) and once-devoted lovebirds June (Jenna Elfman) have split up.
With one more episode to go before Season 6 hits the breaks until next year, this leaves us with plenty of questions. And showrunners Andrew Chambliss and Ian Goldberg are here to answer, well, some of them. Plus, they tell us about those uniquely creepy taxidermy walkers, what happened to Daniel’s (Ruben Blades) beloved cat Skidmark (if Skidmark dies, we riot!) and what, if anything, they can preview about the season's second half.
The walkers in this episode are some of the coolest in the whole Walking Dead franchise. How did Ed’s “creations” come together?
Andrew Chambliss: It was an idea we’d had for a while, and we were just kind of looking for the right character and episode to marry it to. The really fun thing was that our entire crew in Austin loved the idea and ran wild with it. We’d said it was taxidermy walkers, and our makeup and effects team and special effects team got together and kind of did a fashion show for us of different ideas. We were getting different ideas from the crew of horns coming from different places — we started from there and refined our favorites and put those front and center.
Strand's been an interesting one to watch this season. At of the end of the episode, whose side would you say he’s really on?
Ian Goldberg: That’s always the million-dollar question. The episode is titled “Damage From the Inside,” and that’s something Strand has been vowing to do since the end of Season 5, and it’s something we saw him double down on in his earlier episode with Alicia this season. Now we’ve seen a little bit of what that looks like. I believe that Strand still believes he’s on the right side, but it remains to be seen whether the tactics justify the actions.
I mean, would it be fair to say Strand's on Strand’s side?
Goldberg: Strand is always on Strand’s side.
OK, we really want to know what happened to Skidmark. Is he still out there?
Chambliss: [Laughs] I think we can say Skidmark is definitely out in the world, and he'll make an appearance in 6B.
As Morgan himself says, we’ve seen many versions of him over the years. How did you decide which iteration of his character would appear this season?
Chambliss: The exciting thing, for Morgan was for him to start to take all the pieces —all the different versions of Morgan — and make this version of who he is. That’s really the journey that Morgan’s on, trying to balance who he is and who everyone needs him to be. Morgan’s always a guy who goes to one extreme or the other, and this is him trying to find his center and his own moral compass that isn’t as black and white as “all life is precious” or “I kill every living, breathing thing.”
Speaking of Morgan, who rescued him? There are two popular fan theories — that it was Sherry or Dakota, but now we know it wasn’t either of them.
Goldberg: Well, we certainly can’t say who it was. But we’ve seen the note that was left behind for Morgan, and it’s someone who, at that time, Morgan did not know. Whoever saved him had ulterior motives and said, “You have things left to do.” When we reveal who left the note and who saved Morgan at the gulch, I think that note will have a whole new resonance.
Is it a character that viewers already know? Or someone totally new to us?
Goldberg: We can’t really say anything.
Chambliss: I will say the answer will come early on in 6B [the second half of Season 6].
OK, I tried. So, John leaving June, that was a big surprise. Is there still hope for them?
Goldberg: I think we’ve seen an entirely different shade of John Dorie this season. This character is a bright spot in the apocalypse; our introduction to him was through his love story with June, and he has such an element of hope to him that to see that crushed this season with the loss of Jains and his own culpability weighing on him, it’s only going to get heavier for him as this goes on. So, without saying where the future is with June, I think that John’s own demons are going to be tough for him to wrestle with.
Can you give me a preview of what’s coming up when Fear comes back next year?
Chambliss: We’re busy shooting the rest of Season 6, and we’re excited for what’s in store. [Right now], it really feels like Virgina and Morgan are on a collision course. Morgan issued his warning to Virginia and said, “You’re dealing with someone else now,” and so we will definitely see Morgan and Virginia come face-to-face; she'll see exactly who she’s dealing with now.
Will Morgan continue to be in most episodes throughout the second half of the season?
Goldberg: Yes, that will continue. But we will also be continuing our anthology style of doing deep dives on specific characters. We’ll be exploring different tones, different worlds, different circumstances. The “mini-movies” we’ve been talking about will continue for the rest of the season.
Fear The Walking Dead, Returns 2021, AMC