My interest in “Fear the Walking Dead’ increased after Friday’s Comic-Con panel, but I wonder if AMC should have scheduled the new show’s panel before “The Walking Dead” instead of after it.
To kick off the back-to-back panels, “The Walking Dead” cast and show runner Scott M. Gimple took the stage armed with a season 6 trailer, an announcement that the premiere episode would be 90 minutes in length, and news that the zombie herd would be growing this season – 654 walker extras were used the first episode.
GImple also let it be known that while “we sometimes play with the truth in trailers” that Rick and co. would face multiple threats early in the season, and he’s excited and terrified by the fact that the first three episodes will push the audiences rather hard.
One of the main threats, The Wolves, will be part of the new season but “hopefully in a way you won’t expect” according to Gimple.
Masterfully stoking the rumor mill even further, Gimple admitted there would be some character flashbacks in season 6 but gave no hints as to whose past we might get to see. Later he tipped his hand a bit by indicating that we may find out this season what Morgan had been doing with himself prior to finding Rick. In the present, Morgan will represent a fundamental challenge to the way Rick has been leading the group.
Wrap up all that news and speculation with the cast’s familial chemistry and ability to work the crowd — by now you’ve seen the photos of Melissa McBride walking on stage with a plate of cookies — and you have the best kind of Hall H entertainment you can imagine when the cast really can’t say anything about the upcoming season of their program.
“Fear the Walking Dead”’s cast were in the exact same position — they’ve only shot the pilot episode of their six-episode first season — so the hour-long panel felt a little thin, especially since the cast has yet to develop a repoire. In fact, the cast all met on the day of the first table read in Vancouver.
Elizabeth Rodriguez and Ruben Blades worked with the crowd and their inability to share much information the best. Rodriguez’s character is in nursing school, and she let it be known her skills are a vital part of the series. Also intriguing: Blades’s character is forced to confront a past from which he was trying to get away.
Co-creator Dave Erickson did a good job framing the story as the fall of a major city, especially one where people go to become someone new, which sounded as ominous as he quietly intended. He referred to the zombie outbreak as “the shark you don’t see …we don’t get to full apocalypse until late in the season.”