One week after the sixth season finale of The Walking Dead, we will be jumping on board with the second season of its prequel series. The last time that we saw the characters in Fear the Walking Dead they were headed for new shelter on the California coast, but we have since discovered that a group of the mixed family survivalists will soon be leaving the shore and taking to the high seas in an attempt to escape the flesh-eating zombies.
As southern California is on the brink of collapse and in danger of being overrun with the walking dead, Victor Strand (Colman Domingo) leads Travis Manawa (Cliff Curtis), Madison Clark (Kim Dickens) and their brood to his luxury yacht in search of sanctuary. However, the promo material for season 2 suggests that characters travelling by land and by sea are at equal risk. This scenario leaves fans with one very important question: Can zombies swim?
According to Deadline, showrunner Dave Erikson shared the answer at the AMC series’ PaleyFest 2016 panel:
“Zombies can’t swim. They can wade… We’ve figured out the best ways to shoot water zombies. They don’t drown. They keep floating back up.”
This explanation arrived in response to one of the two exclusive clips screened at the 33rd annual event, which featured Nick Clark (Frank Dilane) underwater and about to be attacked by a zombie floating above him. While many might have believed that the water would be a safe haven for the uninfected, Erikson confirmed that everyone is in danger:
“What people find out fairly quickly is that we weren’t the only people who had the bright idea to leave land. There is going to be threats and obstacles and conflict on sea and on land.”
However, it appears that people (as well as zombies) will present problems moving forward. With some of the cast also on stage at the confab, Alycia Debnam-Carey opened up about the difficulties that her character faces:
“She’s struggling to find a connection in this very confined space on the boat and she starts looking elsewhere for it.”
Similarly, Kim Dickens discussed how her character, Madison, has good instincts but will be forced to make a few “uncomfortable alliances” during their voyage. The strength of the character development amid the human-eating action is one of the key aspects of the parent series The Walking Dead; likewise, on this season of Fear the Walking Dead, the apocalypse newbies will be struggling with the challenge of building alliances and trusting relationships with fellow survivors. With this in mind, Erikson shed some light on the comparisons between the two shows:
“What they accomplish on The Walking Dead in many respects is harder because of the anticipation. What Scott [Gimple] and Robert [Kirkman] and the writers on that show have done is that they’ve figured out a way to remix just enough so the story still has twists and turns. It serves the comic but also brings some fresh qualities to the show. As long as we don’t make up new zombie rules we can pretty much do whatever we want.”
Despite the rule book being torn apart, he definitively confirmed that there wouldn’t be a run-in with the Rick Grimes-led group of The Walking Dead, noting that the two worlds are chronologically and geographically so far apart that it would be incomprehensible to intersect them.
So, while there won’t be any crossovers in the near future, Fear the Walking Dead will establish similar themes and issues to the hit series. Just as the latest TV spot highlighted, trust will be one of the major dilemmas this season. In fact, it seems likely that Strand might be one of the “uncomfortable alliances” that Dickens mentions, since the group have entrusted him without knowing much about him.
On the other hand, the rest of the characters could come into question this season too. Even though the zombies haven’t earned their swimming stripes, it certainly isn’t safe to be in the water – so why is Nick venturing into the deep blue? We suspect that one of the members of the large principle cast is going to get zombiefied this season and with “no safe harbour”, where will the crew drop their anchor if someone on board the high-class yacht becomes infected?
Fear the Walking Dead season 2 premieres April 10 on AMC.