The Season 5 panel of “The Walking Dead” kicked off with a supposed sneak peek at what the characters are up to in the 15th episode of the new season, and it turns out they’re all still stuck in the train car at Terminus, the settlement of hostile cannibals where the characters were imprisoned at the end of Season 4.
The fake clip showed Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and Glenn (Steven Yeun) in big Moses beards, playing cards and munching on cooked pieces of their castmates.
“Tastes like Carl,” Rick says munching on what looks like bacon.
Showrunner Scott Gimple described it as “‘Cheers’ at Terminus.”
Though he was predictably vague on details about the upcoming season, which premieres Oct. 12, Gimple did say that the back story of Terminus would be shown.
For the first half of the panel, moderator Chris Hardwick discussed the new season with Gimple, creator Robert Kirkman, and executive producers Gale Anne Hurd, Greg Nicotero and Dave Alpert.
Kirkman said this season would start off with the Terminus detour, something not shown in the monthly comic book he writes, but would soon get back on the track of the story as shown in the comics.
The new season promises a very tough version of Rick, a stark contrast to the more gentle gardening Rick that was shown at the opening of Season 4.
“Mega Kung-Fu Grip Rick is what we’ve had in the comics for awhile,” Kirkman said. “But it’s taken awhile to get there in the show.”
The producers unveiled a first look at the new season that did indeed show a rougher, tougher Rick and that Terminus would soon be left behind as the characters set off for Washington, D.C., with the hopes of curing the zombie plague.
Along the way, they appear to strike up an uneasy truce with Terminus leader Gareth (Andrew J. West) and Seth Gilliam, formerly of HBO’s “The Wire,” who will join the cast as Father Gabriel Stokes.
The new season also promises massive zombie explosions and water-logged zombies, as the characters find themselves at one point in a flooded basement with walkers who have been taking on water for a long, long time.
“We’re constantly trying to refine the look of the walkers,” said Nicotero, who is also behind the show’s zombie makeup.
Unlike last year, which had the characters tromping through the woods for half the season, Hurd said that this season would feature many locations the crew had dubbed “Tick, Chigger and Mosquito-Free Zones” (a.k.a. urban and suburban areas).
After premiering the fifth season trailer, the producers left the stage and Hardwick welcomed members of the cast: Andrew Lincoln, Steven Yeun, Lauren Cohan, Danai Gurira, Melissa McBride, Michael Cudlitz, Chad Coleman, Norman Reedus, Emily Kinney and Chandler Riggs.
Hardwick quickly embarrassed Lincoln by showing a clip of the actor getting into character on set, which involves a lot of screaming and hitting things and “Woo-hoo”-ing like a maniac.
“Did that look as crazy as it sounded?” Lincoln asked after covering his face for the clip.
Hardwick brought a bouquet of flowers for McBride, who had a memorable scene in Season 4, which involved her telling a character to look at the flowers before she shot her in the back of the head. McBride quickly passed the flowers off to Reedus, who was clearly a fan favorite on the panel. It’s a long way from where Reedus first saw himself on the show.
“I thought they were going to kill me off in Episode 2,” Reedus said.
Everyone agreed that in the new season, all the cast members have been put through the wringer and have come out much tougher than ever before.
“There’s something about getting my gun back and my shoes on and getting sweaty and dirty and bloody that really feels right,” Lincoln said.
– Patrick Kevin Day | @patrickkevinday
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