Originally written and published on zombietraining.com on October 16, 2013.
Before the Panel Began:
There were a lot of great panels on the main stage at this year’s New York Comic Con, but the most anticipated was The Walking Dead that was at capacity long before moderator Yvette Nicole Brown (Community) even took the stage. As the panel for Marvel’s The S.H.I.E.L.D. was about to commence, the main entry gate was rolled down, leaving over 2,000 Walking Dead fans cued up along barriers with no longer a chance to enter.
Taking the Stage:
As Brown took the stage she received a warm standing ovation, and launched into introducing Executive Producers Gale Anne Hurd and David Alpert. Alpert immediately took the lectern microphone and told everyone “this is the greatest week to be a Walking Dead fan,” and went onto tell the audience about everything that was happening: The comic hitting its 10th anniversary, the release of the new “All Out War” comic arc, The Walking Dead Escape on the Intrepid, and the season 4 premiere on that Sunday—like no one in the audience knew that!
They began with a clip from the season 4 debut “30 Days without an Accident” in which newcomer Zach attempts to guess what Daryl’s occupation was before the zombie apocalypse. He surmises it was a homicide detective. Daryl confirms, “Undercover,” and tells Zach he doesn’t like to talk about it, because “There was a lot of heavy shit.”
Brown then introduced series creator Robert Kirkman, showrunner Scott Gimple, and special effects director Greg Nicotero, who came onto the stage in a zombie mask. Then the cast was introduced and the audience erupted in loud cheering and applause as Andrew Lincoln, Danai Gurira, Steven Yeun, Lauren Cohan, Chad Coleman, and Norman Reedus, who threw stuffed squirrels out to the audience, entered.
Brown’s Panel Questions:
As a self-declared super-fan, Brown had a lot of questions on the direction of the show and what new characters would be introduced. Here are a few highlights:
- Kirkman says there are really big moments from the comic that will make you tear up, and that he can’t wait for the character Negan to appear.
- Gurira acknowledged that Michonne is opening up emotionally. However, she stated that Michonne’s emotional intensity is more powerful when she remains silent.
- Hurd stated, “A lot of bad shit is going to happen,” this season. She further commented, “Beware within.”
- Reedus stated that Daryl is “…going into season 4 in full-blown wolf-mode. He means what he says, and he wears his heart on his sleeve.” Commenting on where his character is emotionally after the loss of his brother Merle.
- Kirkman stated, “I actually wanted Chad Coleman to play Tyreese in a potential Walking Dead show before there was ever a potential Walking Dead show.”
- Lincoln spoke about a script from an upcoming episode that left him “shell-shocked” and unable to speak for ten minutes after he read it. Lincoln added that it’s going to be an amazing story, but he thinks that [they] may get in trouble for that episode.
- Gimpel said “…all of these actors on stage, and even ones not on stage, will have stories this season. Each of these characters will have an arc, and each of these characters will crash into each other.”
- Gimble also confirmed “The lovely Christiana Serratos to play Roseta [Espanoza], and then Alpert announced for the first time that Josh McDermott will play Eugene [Dr. Eugene Porter]. “And he will be fully mulletted,” he said.
- Melissa McBride was not at the panel because she was at home ill and Chandler Riggs wasn’t there because Lincoln stated that Rick put him into school.
- The first audience question came from a man dressed in a mask. As he began to mumble he was asked to remove his mask so he could be understood. The attendees in the front rows suddenly had a revelation when the attendee asked when the character Abraham would be introduced. When he was told they were working on it, he became belligerent and started going off on David Alpert, which quickly got a huge negative response from the audience. It was all a gag, because the man was actually Michael Cudlitz (Southland) being introduced for the first time having been cast as fan-favorite character Sgt. Abraham Ford!
- Exclusive footage [SPOILER] – The panel ended with another sneak peak into a future episode. This one was of Daryl, Michonne, Tyreese, and Bob driving in a car. Daryl begins playing with the radio, when they suddenly hear what they think may be a broadcast. Daryl takes his eyes off the road and when he looks up, he suddenly finds walkers in front of him. Daryl swerves the car back and forth and manages to miss them all, but runs straight into the largest walker herd that the show has ever seen. The clip ends with the car backing, up, running over the walkers that they passed, and getting the rear of the vehicle stuck on a pile of squashed undead as the herd begins to surround them. It was an intense way to end the panel.
The whole panel discussion (excluding the clips) can be found here: The Walking Dead New York Comic Con 2013 Panel