‘The Walking Dead’ cast keep quiet about Negan’s victim at San Diego Comic-Con
The official trailer for Season 7 of AMC’s juggernaut series “The Walking Dead” premiered at San Diego Comic-Con on Friday. It gave a packed Hall H their first glimpse at fan favorite King Ezekiel and his pet tiger, Shiva.
Although the trailer offered no clues who will survive Negan’s line-up last seen at the end of Season 6.
During the press conference following the panel, creator Robert Kirkman said keeping the identity of Negan’s victim hasn’t been too difficult since it’s “pretty easy to say nothing.” Kirkman said fans of the comics can expect to see more characters cross over and that Ezekiel’s appearance was a natural progression in the storyline.
Eagle-eyed fans look for any indication of characters’ fates on the show. Steven Yeun (Glenn) said he experienced intense scrutiny during last season’s “Dumpster Time” in which Glenn’s fate was unknown.
“That was tough. I pretty much holed up in the apartment,” he said.
With the show’s dedicated fanbase, however, he knew he was signing up for a specific lifestyle.
Makeup supervisor and executive producer Greg Nicotero said they try to be respectful of fan reaction since there has always been deep reaction to the comics, but it’s important not to be afraid of the response since the story still needs to be told.
“The fanbase really rallies around everybody even though there are favorites … they don’t want anyone to die,” Nicotero said.
The dire situation in the “Walking Dead” world has forced characters to change drastically in order to survive.
Norman Reedus (Daryl Dixon) said he’s noticed this change most in Carol’s character. He said Darryl has always had Carol’s back, but in the last couple of seasons, she has come into her own and often doesn’t need protection.
Danai Gurira (Michonne) added she’s noticed a change in Daryl as the group of survivors have bonded as a family, noting the instance where he defends Glenn after previously calling him Korean.
Despite the bleakness, Lauren Cohan (Maggie) says her character’s pregnancy is a sign of Maggie’s hopefulness, that she still thinks this can be a future in which she can raise her child.
“Suffering is inevitable. But, you have to experience that to become what you are. All of us have wisdom now … we know who we are to each other,” Cohan said.
The group’s current situation with Negan and the Saviors is a result of their arrogance and overconfidence. Even when Glenn and Michonne were tied up by the Saviors, Yeun said “there was still a level of calm and a nice precursor” to the current situation.
Executive producer Dave Alpert said the Negan situation is particularly difficult because ever since Issue 100 of the comics, you know it’s coming. And trying to live up to the expectations of this moment has been a challenge. When the smoke clears, he said, the survivors are going to be forever changed and will have to figure out who they are.
“But, they’re adding another character,” Jeffrey Dean Morgan, who plays Negan, interjected.
Executive producer Gale Anne Hurd said Episode 1 will really introduce fans of the show who aren’t familiar with the comics to Negan, in his own moment.
“It really sets up what a formidable, yet incredibly charming character he is … By the end of season 7, viewers will get up close and personal with Lucille,” she said.
As seen in the Season 6 finale, Lucille is a baseball bat coated in barbed wire that is Negan’s weapon of choice.
When it came to bringing Negan to life on the screen, Morgan said the comics only gave him so much, but unlike many of his past characters, “there’s not a trace of Jeff in Negan.”
“What the show has gone through is hard,” he said, “It’s going to be hard until it’s not.”
Morgan had 12 pages of dialogue for the infamous Lucille scene that will be included on the DVD as alternate dialogue.
Andrew Lincoln, who plays the survivors’ leader Rick Grimes, said his character is now powerless for the first time since he awoke from his coma in the walker apocalypse.
“He’s terrified for his child and people he knows as family. Everything he’s worked for in the past two years has been shattered in 24 hours,” Lincoln said.
Season 7 of “The Walking Dead” premieres at 9 p.m. Oct. 23 on AMC.