At every Comic Con — San Diego or New York — there’s always that one panel that reduces fans — and sometimes actors — to piles of goo. At New York Comic Con 2014, it was “The Walking Dead” panel.
Long-suffering fans (who had gotten in line before dawn for the coveted access wristbands) were treated to about five minutes of the Season 5 premiere opening (you can find some teasers about the episode here
The panel was packed with actors and producers: Andrew Lincoln, Lauren Cohan, Sonequa Martin-Green, Michael Cellis, Michael Cudlitz, Danai Gurira, Steven Yeun, Chad Coleman, Melissa McBride and Norman Reedus, who had his phone on a stick to take selfies of himself with the crowd. Showrunner/executive producer Scott Gimple, executive producers Gale Ann Hurd and Robert Kirkman and executive producer/director/special effects supervisor Greg Nicotero rounded out the panel.
The panel was hosted by Chris Hardwick, host of “The Talking Dead,” who said he normally doesn’t watch the episodes ahead of airing, but this episode is “mind blowing insane from second one. The most intense, action-packed premiere to date.”
“This season picks up right where we left off, said Nicotero. “We didn’t have to worry about telling you guys where the characters were because we’re right there. But I got chills, and I’ve seen that (clip) ten times. Your anticipation is awesome,” Nicotero told the fans. “Suspense, thrills, emotion. You’ll feel it all in this episode.”
“I think you meet the man at the peak of his powers,” said Andrew Lincoln of Rick’s trajectory this season. “He’s uncompromising, driven and brutal.”
Many of the cast members talked of an overreaching theme for the show — hope. “We either choose to be hopeful and carry on, or we don’t. And I choose the former,” said Cohen. Michael Cudlitz said that “hope drives this show, and we really feel connected to these characters.”
Norman Reedus also talked about hope … and killing … but he continued saying that the intensity of Daryl’s season was comparable to “jumping off the end of Evel Knievel’s ramp.”
To a chorus of “awwww!” Melissa McBride said people are always telling her they can’t look at the flowers now. And as McBride explained how her love and appreciation for Carol and the show has grown over the seasons, she broke out into tears. “It’s just been the time of my life and I just love Carol. It’s amazing to get to work with all of these people, because how you express yourself, we know how much you love it,” she said.
When asked to describe Season 5, Hurd replied, “kickass, utterly relentless, and totally heart-breaking.”
Other fun tidbits from the panel:
- Andrew Lincoln, can do a really good escalator-behind-the-table mime move.
- “Whaaaaaa” is Norman Reedus’ new catch phrase, like “alright alright alright.”
Quote of the Panel, from Chris Hardwick: “You can show a guy rip out another guy’s throat with his teeth, but hey, no swearing!”
It was also announced that the second half of the season will premiere Sunday, Feb 8th.
“The Walking Dead” premieres Sunday, Oct. 12 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on AMC.