UPDATE: Watch the first four minutes of The Walking Dead season 5 premiere below]
Every year, the cast and producers of The Walking Dead shamble through New York Comic-Con to tease what's coming up next in AMC's zombie apocalypse drama. Last year, attendees were treated to a first-look at one of season 4's most memorable reveals, as well as a reintroduction to several fan-favorite characters, along with fresh behind-the-scenes details. Given that The Walking Dead season 5 is reported to be the biggest (and most dangerous) season yet, with the possible inclusion of a high profile moment from the book series, it shouldn't come as much of a surprise that this year's NYCC panel is one of the most popular events at the show.
Generally, AMC makes a big push at the event - bringing most members of the principle cast. This year, Comic-Con attendees can expect to see Andrew Lincoln (Rick Grimes), Chad L. Coleman (Tyreese), Danai Gurira (Michonne), Lauren Cohan (Maggie Green), Lawrence Gilliard Jr. (Bob Stookey), Melissa McBride (Carol Peletier), Michael Cudlitz (Sgt. Abraham Ford), Norman Reedus (Daryl Dixon), Sonequa Martin-Green (Sasha) and Steven Yeun (Glenn Rhee), along with the show's producers. Of course, fans who can't make it to the Main Stage panel won't have to wait too long for their own fix, since the series returns for its season 5 premiere a mere 24 hours after its NYCC panel concludes. Nevertheless, it's always fun to be in the room - especially with the promise of sneak peek footage and possible new character reveals!
- Producer Greg Nicotero says that season 5 picks up right where season 4 left off - allowing them to create a lot of momentum going into the premiere. Claims the show couldn't be in better hands with the writers - especially Scott Gimple. The premiere script is fantastic: suspense, thrills, emotion.
- Writer Scott Gimple says that season 5 explores the "recent past" in some deep ways - and play with time a little bit for a really deep look at the characters.
- Robert Kirkman says that there a lot of big moments from the comic series coming this season - but they will, of course, be a little different. Claims this season follows the comics closer than in the past.
- Producer Gale Anne Hurd calls the new season kick-ass, unrelentless, and totally heartbreaking.
- Season 5 Part 2 will premiere Sunday, February 8th on AMC in the North America and launch on Monday, February 9th internationally.
- Andrew Lincoln says Rick is the complete package this season - and has become uncompromising, driven, and brutal. Teases that it's been fun - and he kills so many people.
- Steven Yeun claims that it's interesting to see where all the characters are on the spectrum but Glenn can still go to some dark places to survive - but he's in a slightly more hopeful place because he's been reunited with Maggie and his friends. Asserts that Glenn thinks they, the survivors, can strive for hope and humanity.
- Lauren Cohan believers it was amazing in season 4 that they actually found each other and gives Maggie strength. She thinks having actionable tasks keeps the characters going and hopeful - so now Maggie will focus on finding her sister Beth.
- Michael Cudlitz says the whole experience has been fantastic and everyone welcomed him in. It's a warm and safe creative environment. The characters face loss on top of loss and he couldn't be more thrilled with the environment and the show. Says that Abraham Ford is focused on saving the world - and getting Eugene to Washington, which might create tension with Rick. Hope drives the show and breaking points for any of the characters is when hope seems the smallest - and that's a dangerous world for everyone.
- Danai Gurira says that being around the survivors has allowed Michonne to love again but her strength remains - and it's a fascinating thing for an actress to explore.
- Melissa McBride says people constantly tell her "Don't look at the flowers." Asserts that the role of Carol has been the time of her life - and she's so proud of the character. McBride says she loves Carol - not as just a character to play but as a person. It's great to be vulnerable with the other performers as well as such a passionate and supportive fan community.
- Chad L. Coleman says Tyreese's choice to protect Rick's child is the most noble thing anyone can do. It's an unforgiving and unrelenting world but someone has to do it. Tyreese has a big heart - and community matters to him. Yet, he's shaken after the experience he shared with Carol in the house with Lizzie and Mika.
- Sonequa Martin-Green discusses being pregnant (personally, not her character) - and how it has informed her work as Sasha in season 5. It tuned her into the importance of life and love and hope - themes that are important to the show.
- Norman Reedus agrees that hope drives the show and feels connected to his character and the other actors. Teetering on the line of being ferocious and vulnerable is tricky but real in portraying Daryl Dixon. Compares the season to Evel Knievel jumping over a bus - coming out the gate fast.
We'll try to avoid spoilers for what exactly was shown during the panel - especially since much of it comes from the season 5 premiere (which is only one day away). In fact, the first piece of exclusive footage was simply the first 5 minutes of the premiere episode - which features some especially grisly developments related to Terminus and leader Gareth (Andrew J. West). As fans will soon see, there's no doubt that The Walking Dead is once again headed to a very dark place.
Update: AMC has released the footage to the public. Check out the first four minutes of The Walking Dead season 5 premiere below:
The Walking Dead season 5 premieres Sunday, October 12th at 9/8c on AMC.
Follow me on Twitter @benkendrick for any future updates on The Walking Dead, as well as movie, TV, and gaming news.
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