5:37PM: AMC’s New York Comic Con Panel for THE WALKING DEAD kicks off with the first of many not-so-subtle reminders that Frank Darabont’s unexpected exit from the show at the start of the season is really no biggie. Said executive producer Gale Anne Hurd, “We actually lured [creator] Robert Kirkman from the wilds of Kentucky so he can be in the writer’s room and help craft the season.”
5:39PM: Comic book creator and executive producer Robert Kirkman perfectly sums up the success of THE WALKING DEAD as, “getting to know our characters and doing horrible things to them.” Teases executive producer and Emmy Award-winning makeup artist Greg Nicotero, “This season, every one of the characters get to do some great stuff, all the actors really get a chance to stretch their wings.”
5:42PM: On the off chance you’re not as excited for tonight’s second season premiere as you should be, Kirkman has this to say, “All the crazy stuff that you think you saw in the first season, in every instance we’re doing something bigger and better this season. I don’t know why AMC let’s us do this stuff. It’s crazy.”
5:45PM: Moderator Chris Hardwick takes a minute to shamelessly plug his new post-episode talk show appropriately titled TALKING DEAD.
5:53PM: Following a five minute sneak peek of a truly terrifying scene from THE WALKING DEAD’s second season premiere that culminated in a screwdriver to the very bloody eyeball of one very unlucky zombie, the executive producers are joined on stage by cast members Jon Bernthal (Shane Walsh), Laurie Holden (Andrea), Steven Yeun (Glenn), Lauren Cohan (Maggie), Chandler Riggs (Carl Grimes) and Norman Reedus (Daryl Dixon). For those keeping track at home, Reedus got the loudest appease from the eery appreciative audience.
5:56PM: A very sincere Jon Bernthal kicks off the actor portion of the panel on the right, albeit somewhat overly-sentimental note, by revealing just how much it means to have the fan’s support and that working on the show is a job of a lifetime and we know how lucky we are.
5:57PM: Actress Laurie Holden, who fans will be pleased to discover is responsible for one helluva zombie kill in the second season premiere gives big props to the anonymous actors who bring the zombies to life, “You can’t sell the fear of the show unless we as actors are really scared, and their performances make our jobs easier.”
5:59PM: Spoiler Alert! Glenn’s somewhat reckless ways will come to a screeching halt this season when he get a girlfriend played by Lauren Cohan. Teases Glenn’s portrayer Steven Yeung, “Glenn finds Maggie [Cohan], someone to love, which is a great reason to live.” Adds the object of Glen’s affection Maggie, “Working on this show has been incredible and everything I get to do with Maggie is great. Glenn and Maggie form this really beautiful first love which is nice to be able to do in a zombie show.”
6:05PM: The wise-beyond-his-years (or what moderator Chris Hardwick characterizes as Benjamin Button syndrome) Chandler Riggs, who plays 10 year-old Carl credits his fellow actors for his performance and teases his character’s arc as an evolution. “In the first season I was a scared kid, yet in the second season it’s the exact opposite,” said Riggs. “Carl puts himself in harms way, he lies, he steals, and evolves.”
6:06PM: “The thing about Daryl is that he can hunt, protect you, survive on his own but he cant’ really connect with you emotionally, ” said Norman Reedus when asked to describe his character. “He needs a hug, but if you try to hug him he’ll stab you, but this season has so many twists and turns it’s just interesting to watch.”
6:07PM: Not-so-Fun-Fact! According to executive producer Greg Nicotero the show can do whatever the heck they want as far as bashing, stabbing, blood and gore. BUT… when it comes to the sex stuff there are really strict rules. Joked Hardwick, “Do not have unprotected sex with a zombie.”
6:09PM: “I’m thrilled with my character arc this season, it was exhausting to be a sad suicidal sac all the time,” said Laurie Holden, when asked what she felt about what’s ahead for her character this season. “I love the fact that Andrea gets feisty, is determined to survive and is no longer going to be a victim.”
6:15PM: Robert Kirkman promises that unlike those pesky Cylons, the zombies do not have a plan. “They’re not going to be smarter, or weirder or grow tentacles out of their faces.”
6:18PM: Memo to all those actors who have dream of Zombie stardom, “Great bone structure makes a great zombie,” reveals Nicotero, who went on to joke [We think!] how he’ll sometimes stop people in the grocery store to tell them they’d make a great zombie.
6:20PM: Much in the same way that Free to Be… You and Me taught a generation of kids that parents are in fact people, Kirkman hopes to get the very important message across that zombies are human beings. “They’re trying to eat people but it’s important to remember they were once humans, Friends and neighbours,” said Kirkman. “Because it makes it sadder and adds a little more weight to it I’m always trying to keep in mind little things, like who he or she might have been before they were turned.”
6:21PM: From the department of only at Comic Con, each actor is asked to reveal their weapon of choice should the Zombie Apocalypse become an reality. Cue ‘The More You Know’ music in 3… 2… 1…
6:23PM: To the rapturous applause of a jam-packed IGN Theater, a fan calls Robert Kirkman the Joss Whedon of zombies. Said same fan continues his streak of winning comments/questions by asking Kirkman about when fans might expect the appearance of comic book fan favourite Michonne. “Everyone involved in the show loves Michonne and are dying to get her in the show as soon as possible.” Added veteran savvy producer Gale Anne Hurd, “We have so many characters we want to put in the show… as long as you watch.”
6:25PM: According to Greg Nicotero, it only takes an hour and a half to turn your average extra into a Zombie. What’s more, like snowflakes, no zombie is alike. Said Nicotero, “You’ll never see the same one twice.”
THE WALKING DEAD Season 2 premiers Sunday October 16 at 9PM on AMC). Catch up on past episodes you may have missed for free online at clicktowatch.tv