San Diego Comic-Con 2015 should prove to be a very different experience from last year's event, with Marvel Studios electing not to have a Hall H presentation and Warner Bros. expected to up its game by showing what's to come from the upcoming slate of DC Comics-based movies. Warner Bros. Television has already announced a busy schedule that will highlight DC shows like Arrow, The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow, but between the two giants there will be other comic book-based properties on offer.
Case in point, AMC is presenting both its current post-apocalyptic zombie drama The Walking Dead and a new spinoff series called Fear the Walking Dead. The latter is set in Los Angeles at the very start of the zombie outbreak, and will show how society fell apart while Rick Grimes was in his coma.
It isn't all shotguns and rotting flesh for AMC, however. The network is also bringing Into the Badlands, a new martial arts series from Smallville creators Alfred Gough and Miles Millar, which is very loosely based on Wu Cheng'en's 16th century novel "Journey to the West."
Here's a guide to when and where to find out more about The Walking Dead, Fear the Walking Dead and Into the Badlands at San Diego Comic-Con 2015.
The Walking Dead
- Panelists: Andrew Lincoln (Rick), Norman Reedus (Daryl), Steven Yeun (Glenn), Lauren Cohan (Maggie), Danai Gurira (Michonne), Melissa McBride (Carol), Chandler Riggs (Carl), Michael Cudlitz (Abraham), Lennie James (Morgan), Sonequa Martin-Green (Sasha), Scott M. Gimple (Executive Producer/Showrunner), Gale Ann Hurd (Executive Producer), Robert Kirkman (Executive Producer), Greg Nicotero (Executive Producer, Director and Special Effects Make-up Supervisor) and David Alpert (Executive Producer).
- Moderator: Talking Dead host Chris Hardwick.
- Panel: 12:00-1:00pm, on Friday, July 10, Hall H.
- Autographs: 10:00-11:00am on Friday, July 10, Booth #4237.
In The Walking Dead season five Rick and the remaining survivors sought out new pastures in Washington D.C. and eventually found themselves invited to live in a seemingly stable and thriving community called Alexandria, whose residents live sheltered from the chaos of the outside world behind high walls. Although some of the survivors were eager to settle in, hard-bitten leaders Rick, Carol and Michonne had some strong doubts about Alexandria's ability to survive, and began plotting to take the place by force if necessary.
The sixth season of The Walking Dead is expected to premiere this fall, bringing with it the return of Morgan, one of the first people that Rick met after waking up in the middle of a zombie apocalypse. AMC hasn't yet released a trailer for season six, and it's likely that the network will offer the first glimpse of what's to come during the Comic-Con panel.
Fear the Walking Dead
- Panelists: Kim Dickens (Madison), Cliff Curtis (Travis), Alycia Debnam-Carey (Alicia), Frank Dillane (Nick), Elizabeth Rodriguez (Liza), Lorenzo James Henrie (Chris), Rubén Blades (Daniel), Mercedes Mason (Ofelia), David Erickson (Executive Producer/Showrunner), Robert Kirkman, Gale Anne Hurd, Greg Nicotero and Dave Alpert (Executive Producers).
- Moderator: Talking Dead host Chris Hardwick.
- Panel: 1:00-2:00pm on Friday, July 10, Hall H.
- Autographs: 1:00-2:00pm on Saturday, July 11, Hilton Gaslamp Starlight Terrace.
The Walking Dead franchise has already expanded into the world of video games, with Telltale Games' series of episodic choice-and-consequence titles set to continue this year in a miniseries focused on Michonne, and now its occupation of TV is expected to expand as well. The season five premiere of The Walking Dead set a series-high ratings record, and AMC is no doubt hoping that those viewers will be eager to double up their dose of zombie drama with Fear the Walking Dead.
While The Walking Dead has a lot of fan favorite characters (and some characters that are notoriously unpopular), the appeal of the franchise is mainly to do with taking a random group of people and forcing them to work together in order to survive in a suddenly hostile world. No matter who the characters are, that's a recipe for clashes of interest, ethical dilemmas and interpersonal drama - not to mention lots of gross-looking zombies to deal with. Fear the Walking Dead will be a true test of whether AMC can catch lightning in a bottle twice.
Into the Badlands
- Panelists: Daniel Wu (Sunny), Marton Csokas (Quinn), Aramis Knight (M.K.), Emily Beecham (The Widow), Orla Brady (Lydia), Alfred Gough and Miles Millar (Creators, Showrunners and Executive Producers), David Dobkin (Executive Producer and Director) and Stephen Fung (Executive Producer and Fight Director).
- Moderator: IGN Editor Roth Cornet
- Panel: 10:30-11:30am, on Saturday, July 11, Room 5AB
AMC debuted a short teaser trailer for Into the Badlands earlier this year, which ominously proclaimed that "There is no god in the Badlands." According to the official synopsis for the show, Into the Badlands is set in "a land controlled by feudal barons," and the story focuses on "a ruthless, well-trained warrior named Sunny and a young boy who embark on a journey together across a dangerous land to find enlightenment."
The network has set a high standard for original programming, and if nothing else that makes Into the Badlands worthy of attention. Hopefully the Comic-Con presentation will include a trailer that actually shows footage from the show, so that we can get a better idea of what we're in for.
The Walking Dead season five, Fear the Walking Dead and Into the Badlands will all premiere in fall 2015 on AMC.