WARNING. Article Contains Walking Dead Season 4 SPOILERS.
The Walking Dead season 5 was of course a highlight of Comic-Con 2014, as AMC debuted a new trailer that set up some pretty high-stakes story arcs for Rick and his fellow survivors. In the season 4 finale, the splintered group of prison survivors (along with a few new acquaintances) saw their happy reunion turn sour as they were attacked and imprisoned in the would-be safe haven called Terminus.
As the season 5 trailer reveals, however, the group won’t be in confinement too long. After striking a tenuous agreement with the leader of Terminus, it seems both Rick’s group and a Terminus crew combine as a unit, with the grand mission of going to Washington D.C. to help Dr. Eugene Porter hopefully cure the zombie plague. Along the way, the usual suspicion, distrust, savagery and tragic loss all seemingly occur.
In the midst of all this hope vs doom, there are the other things that fans tend to be concerned about – namely love and relationships amongst the survivors. In our Comic-Con interviews with The Walking Dead cast, we talked two of the most popular characters – Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and Michonne (Danai Gurira) – about where they’re headed in season 5, and whether or not they’re headed there together (like, together together).
Andrew Lincoln addressed where Rick is in the aftermath of his violent actions in the S4 finale, and his decisive statement to the rest of the group that the Terminus gang is “screwing with the wrong people”:
Andrew Lincoln: I think he’s made peace with all of it. I think he’s in a very uncomplicated place. There’s just as much humanity in me as brutality. And he realizes that they’re both just as important - and probably why he is still here, and his family. So I don’t think he has any conflict any more, or any kind of moral ambiguity; he’s just very pragmatic, very dangerous, and a very formidable leader as a result. It’s so good to be back [smiles].
Meanwhile, Danai Gurira discussed what season 5 will be like in terms of Michonne’s evolution – now that we know so much more of her backstory and what made her a hardened warrior in the first place. As it turns out, the excellent surreal dream sequence at the end of season 4 – revealing Michonne’s past – was planned long before we actually saw it in the show:
Danai Gurira: I don’t know how much of that I can share! I’d have to check with my boss. But yeah, It was something I’d known about – I’ll say for a substantial while. And it was great because it is a little different from the comic book, but not entirely, you know what I mean? So it really did make the extreme of how impenetrable she was in the beginning really make sense. As I said earlier, to be a mother – to see the love a mother has – is so extreme, and then the loss of that was so extreme, that to go to a place where you harden yourself – to the point where she was hardened underneath in season 3 – is really justified to me in the sense of how she was a mother.
So she didn’t want to ever hurt like that again – and she didn’t want to walk the world vulnerable again – and she could not trust again, because, you know, she trusted someone to take care of that child and it backfired. So [her backstory] actually made the hardening make so much sense.
But now that Michonne has made her breakthrough, season 5 will find us looking at a Michonne with new outlook:
DG: The beauty is that she’s with people she deeply cares about. And now they’ve reconciled with Daryl and Glenn and Maggie – and that’s the perfect place for her to start. Because where she was getting to in season 4 before the wretchedness of The Governor messing up the prison was she was getting to a place where she could really invest and commit to these people. And she was out with Hershel helping him with the bodies – he was helping her with the bodies – when they got abducted, when they got kidnapped – because she was really starting to say ‘Okay, I’m going to stay here, I’m not going to keep getting on my horse and riding out, I’m going to stay here and help out and spend some time.’
And then it all broke apart. And so the need to now really work with the group, and show her commitment, and be protective and care and really be THERE is even stronger. Because miraculously she’s been able to reconcile with most them.
The cast wasn’t aware that the season 5 trailer spoils a reunion between Rick and baby Judith – a moment that will certainly resonate with Michonne:
I think what’s beautiful to Michonne… I think the beauty of it is seeing the reconciliation – like seeing pain that these two had both gone through, you know? To lose a child is something she understands, the beauty of the reconciliation and witnessing that is such a beautiful thing for her.
So does that mean that Rick, Michonne, Carl and Judith are headed toward becoming a family unit – with a Rick/Michonne relationship at the center? Don’t bet on it (yet). Both Andrew Lincoln and Danai Gurira batted down the idea:
AL: Why is everybody asking us that? No, but it is the second question that we ask of the writers; the first is, ‘Are we going to die?’ The second one is, ‘Do we get laid?’ Excuse my French.’
DG: What’s great is that Michonne has people that she cares about again – and as I was saying earlier, her true self is a woman who had intimate relationships, had a child, and so it’s beautiful that she has [Rick and them], but the other stuff is ‘let’s stay alive.’ Let’s try to stay alive, you know?
The Walking Dead season 5 premieres on Sunday, October 12 @9pm on AMC.