ComicBook.com is live at the New York Comic Con event spread between the Javits Center, Madison Square Garden, and the Hammerstein Ball Room. The four-day event will cover topics from Nickelodeon to Netflix and everywhere in between with live panels, celebrity interviews, breaking news and more.
*** 6:00 p.m. ET - The Walking Dead panel begins at Madison Square Garden ***
Chris Hardwick takes the stage to introduces the cast and crew of The Walking Dead to an eruptipon from the audience.
Scott Gimple starts the panel by confirming we will see who dies in the season 7 premiere. "We do indeed." Gimple says.
"In putting together these episodes, I will say, this season...the performances this year are astounding. The actor this year are the star of the show," Gimple promises. "Be on the look out for some amazing performances, some really weird creepy strange walkers."
"You might have noticed a tiger," the showrunner jokes.
"There's also amazing new faces. We have a gentleman by the name of Khary Payton who plays Ezekiel," Gimple reminds the audience.
Gale Anne Hurd joins the conversation, saying "I think the first thing is, it really is a larger world. There are new worlds we're going to be exploring with new characters, obviously with Ezekiel and Shiva being two of them." She explains that so far, the show has been contained in seasons past but says now, "We have a Walking Dead universe thanks to Mr. Kirkman."
A clip from the upcoming The Walking Dead: The Journey So Far plays, giving audiences an inside look at the season one scene where Rick and Glenn had to cover themselves in walker guts.
Andrew Lincoln couldn't make it to the panel, so he sent a letter via Norman Reedus.
"Dear New York Comic Con, this is Andrew Lincoln here. I've occupied Norman Reedus here. I'm inside his mind. I'm sorry I couldn't be there today," Reedus says in a letter from Andrew Lincoln, which Yeun and Cudlitz also chime in with their own copies. "The chicken in his trailer was juvenile. The ongoing glitter war was ill judged and consistently knowing names or characters or new plot lines that Daryl is not involved with."
The letter concludes with Reedus offering a piece of his clothing in exchange for answering a question.
"How many squirrels did Daryl Dixon throw at Rick when I told him I handcuffed Merle to the rooftop?" he asks.
After someone in the audience says, "Three," Reedus throws him the hat.
Reedus jokes aobut pranks keeping things light in such a heavy season coming up.
"They're all gonna die. That's what's going through everyone's head," Reedus says of Daryl's state of mind to end Season 6. "It's a weird feeling to be that powerless when we've always survived."
"I hated filming that," Reedus concludes.
"Negan was one of the best comic book villains of all-time," Gimple says of the new villain. "Negan really is a ign of the new world...They've run into somebody that is bigger, stronger, more organized, better equipped. They are outnumbered, outgunned."
"The Governor was small potatoes compared to this guy," Gurira teases, emphasizing how "structured" the Saviors are.
Turning the conversation to her relationship, a big shift from the character we got to know in Season 3. "She realizes she needs a community," Gurira says "I think I wan to pursue my humanity." The actress goes on to cite Andrea as a major inspiration for the change.
Hardwick sets his sights on Morgan. "The show hasn't even aired yet," Morgan says of the fan reactions. "They had a little bit, 13 minutes in 16 last year."
"To have somewhere to go, you have to believe in what you're doing. What he is doing is essentially the same thing these people are doing. He just happens to carry a baseball bat who he loves dearly."
"He's a bit of a showman," Morgan says of his villain. "This world is his stage. You can call it cocky but we all watched Rick get cocky."
The crowd cheers and Morgan quips, "Kill 'em all!"
"As much charisma as Negan has, there is also a big element of fear," the actor goes on. "I think a lot of his followers follow him for fear of getting an iron to their face or worse."
"I've played some dastardly motherf---ers but none of them hold a candle to Negan. He says negan's followers are "scared s---less"
"We surgically capture the F-bombs that matter," Gimple says of the language Negan uses.
Hardwick turns to Yeun to talk about relationships in this world. "Glenn and Maggie are classic," Yeun says as Cohan leans on his shoulder. "If you were to look at the circumstances, you could argue that having someone is a danger but I think that - what Glenn and Maggie have - they're better. They're greater when they're together."
Seth Gilliam's turn... Hardwick presses him about Gabriel's evolution in the last couple of episodes. "I'm not sure what Rick sees in Gabriel aside from his willingness," Gilliam teases. "He tried the suicide by walker, the suicide by Sasha. Neither one worked out...He's got to live."
"Rick must see some potential in Gabriel to be more of a warrior and I guess to be more of use and service than he had been before."
Now, to Cudlitz, as Hardwick jokes, "Dolphin smooth!" Hardwick begins to ask about Abraham and Sasha's relationship, prompting Cudlitz to walk over to Martin-Green's chair and sing Sasha's praises. Martin-Green begins complimenting Cudlitz's Abraham.
Austin Nichols begins talkign about Spencer Monroe, who is also in a new-found relationship and struggles with trust. "I think in a very short period of time, maybe, two weeks, three weeks, brother,mom, dad. Deanna gone...My whole family gone," Nichols says. "Michone is the only one who has really reached out."
"He tried to penetrate Rosita," Nichols says to an "Oh!" from the crowd. "I think he's actually made some strides in the right direction."
Alanna Masteron gets congratulated on her "adorable child" by Hardwick. "Losing Merritt Wever as an actor is such a blow," Masterson says. "For Tara, it's gonna be a really hard thing to hear when she finds out. She really loves Denise."
Lennie James discusses the morals of Morgan, which were broken in the Season 6 finale. "I think the path he's walking is a path he's trying to walk," James says. "He's not Eastman. He's not locked away in a shed with a goat."
"If you notice, at the end when he shoots that Savior in order to save Carol, I think one bullet would have done it but he emptied the clip," James points out. "Those people who are begging for Morgan to return to the killer, be careful waht you wish for."
The crowd erupts for Melissa McBride. She discusses Carol's best qualities and says she loves that she left Carol Alexandria and loves Carol herself. "Every step she's taken up to this moment has just devastated her up to this point," McBride says of Carol. "What is it about this world that makes us want to survive so much? That's a huge question."
Now to Nicotero, who directed the Season 6 premiere. He recalls the definitive premieres of years past before discussing the Season 7 premiere. "Because everybody knows how the season ended last year and that someone's gonna go, it was more of a challenge this year going into it, knowing what to expect," Nicotero says. "For me, some of the most amazing moments were found not where you're going to expect them in the premiere."
"When we were finished, it took me a couple weeks to recover from it," Nicotero says. "I was just there whispering in people's ears and watching them do what they do so well."
"By the end of the season, we will have shot 99 episodes of The Walking Dead," Nicotero points out. "Season 8 will be our 100th episode with the premiere."
Nicotero points out how different they all look, which is on display in next Sunday's retrospective special on AMC.
Lauren Cohan is asked about Maggie emerging as a leader. Emotionally, she thanks the audience saying, "You guys have all been on such a huge journey with us. Thank you and thank you for caring about our show and being mad when you don't know things."
A fan yells, "I love you!" to which Cohan comes back with, "I love you, too!"
"This is larger than our lives. This is larger than our show. This is such a privilege," she says with tears.
She is asked about how Maggie would handle the Negan situation differently. "We were pretty incapacited knowing that somebody was going to be hurt if we did anything," Cohan says. "I can never say how she would have handled it differently."
"It's so unexpected, jarring, and destabilizing," Cohan says of the Season 7 premiere. "We will see how people deal with what the could and should and would have done."
A fan asks which character the actors would like to play other than their own.
Greg Nicotero - Juidith
Steve Yeun - Michonne
Lennie James - Eugene "because he rocks that hair."
Norman Reedus - Negan
Jeffrey - Abraham
Danai - Negan 6x16
Nichols - Shane
Another fan asks how difficult it's been to hold in the secret of who Negan killed all off-season long. Kirkman jokes about revealing it to everybody.
Hardwick introduces a new clip from the show.
Rick raises his head up with blood on his face. Negan asks, "What? Was the joke that bad?" Rick responds, "I'm gonna kill you." A bloody bat is in Rick's face as Negan kneels down and asks, "What? I didn't quite catch that you're gonna have to speak up."
"Not today. Not tomorrow. But I'm gonna kill you you," Rick says. Negan licks his lips with a smirk.
"Jesus... Simon, what did he have, a knife?" Negan asks.
"He had a hatchet," Simon responds. Negan mocks that fact.
"Simon's my right hand man," Negan says. "You have one? mMaybe one of these fine people still breathing or did I [knock sound with the bat in front of him]?" Negan sighs.
"Sure, yeah, give me his axe," Negan says. The hatchet is handed to Negan. Negan stands and puts the hatchet into his belt and yanks Rick into the RV.
The camera pans across Negan's victim on the ground - the remnants of their brains and skull make them impossible to recognize.
Hardwick thanks everybody for coming out to end the panel.