The Walking Dead kicked off its PaleyFest panel in Los Angeles, California on March 17, 2017 in a packed Dolby Theater on Hollywood Boulevard.
The pane; is kicked off with a highlight reel of The Walking Dead's seventh season. Scenes which see Rick teling Maggie he is ready to fight, the junkyard gang surrounding his group, Carol and Daryl reuniting, Eugene taking charge in the Sanctuary, Rick and Michonne killing nine walkers, and Morgan telling King Ezekiel about Richard's plan round out the footage.
On hand: Melissa McBride, Andrew Lincoln, Seth Gilliam, Ross Marquand, Tom Payne, Lauren Cohan, Sonequa Martin-Green, Alanna Masterson, Josh McDermitt, Christian Serratos, Austin Amelio, Robert Kirkman, Greg Nicotero, Scott Gimple, and David Alpert.
The panel begins with Scott Gimple talking about the ground the season has covered. "The first episode was traumatic, for you guys, and for everybody here. My mother. And to get from that point to a point where these characters can smile again, now granted that smile is about the prospect of kicking maybe his ass, and I mean Austin [Ameilo]," Gimple said. "It was seeing these people come alive again and earning the place where they are now.
The moderator wants to talk about Negan actor Jeffrey Dean Morgan.
"We had Jeffrey for two nights during 6x16," Gimple said. "Jeffrey had to come out in front of several kneeling cast members and deliver and enormous dialogue that Robert [Kirkman] generously wrote." They knew after the first takes that he was one with the cast.
"We have an amazing cast, as you all know," Nicotero said. "When Jeffrey came on set, he had 12 pages of dialogue." He goes on to point out that some cast members were fans of the show prior to joining as a character and they'll get excited to Rick Grimes.
Kirkman says he is most impressed by Morgan's ability to make Negan, such an evil character, likeable.
Greg recalls reading Glenn's death in the comic for the first time. "It really easy the situations and the things that just, it broke my heart when I saw that, and I thought, 'God, I hate to imagine being the guy who shoots that scene.'" He jokes that he ended up shooting it. The darkest panels in Kirkman and Charlie Adlard's comics are what have haunted him the most.
"I remember shooting one particular take of Steven [Yeun] and I sent it to Robert and he responded, 'You're f---ed up!'" Nicotero said.
"I love Steven! And I'm like, 'Oh, it Greg, sending me pictures of my dead friend!'" Kirkman said.
The following slides are updated live with the panel...