Fear the Walking Dead has been steadily stepping out of the shadow of the main Walking Dead series, so it's no surprise that the FTWD panel at San Diego Comi-Con 2019 would be an event worth of Hall H. With the first half of season 5 nearly done, the cast and creators of Fear came to SDCC with plenty of sizzle to sell.
Talking Dead host Chris Hardwick was the moderator for the panel - after remingind the fans that the midseason finale is this sunday, and the midseason premiere is on August 11th, Hardwick brought out the showrunners, Andrew Chambliss, Ian Goldberg, Robert Kirkman, Scott M. Gimple, Michael Satrazemis, Dave Alpert, Gale Anne Hurd, and Greg Nicotero.
Satrazemis got huge love from the crew (as well as the cast cat-calling from the sidelines), due to the fact that he used to be a camera operator / fan of the show, and is now a major director on Fear. Hurd highlighted Fear for its celebration of diversity, from the female characters and directors, to the Native Americans and people of color.
Alpert revealed some new cast members that will be joining Fear soon (more on them later), while Nicotero talked the visuals of the show, and the challenges of creating new zombies for Fear, while maintainting continuity with the main Walking Dead series. Hint: He has the zombie crews from both meet up.
Kirkman revealed that he loves the way Fear has opened up characters like Dwight, in ways that he never expected or thought of himself.
Scott M. Gimple revealed that Fear The Walking Dead has been renewed for season 6, before giving fans the further reveal that an entire universe of Walking Dead civilizations are still out there, and will be explored in some new series - starting with the already-revealed new series about young people growing up in the Zompocalypse.
After that, the trailer for season 5B was rolled. The first half functioned as one of Al's home movies about the group trying to establish a new safe haven - but things get darker and more serious, as the latter half reminds us of all the enemies that are still out there - including the group of factory workers that jacked the team's new base at the start of season 5.
The cast was brought out, including Lennie James, Alycia Debnam-Carey, Danay Garcia, Rubén Blades, Maggie Grace Jenna Elfman, Karen David, Alexa Nisenson, in Austin Amelio.
Alycia and Lennie talked about Alicia and Morgan's respective evolutions into leaders and protectors - something we saw heavily teased in the season 5B trailer, which had imagery of Alicia training in the stick martial arts with Morgan.
Maggie Grace talked about the joy and honor of getting to make the recent episode where Al made a connection with Isabel, the operative from that mysterious organization that took Rick Grimes in the main Walking Dead series. Unfortunately, in Grace's view, Al would forgo that forbidden love going forward, knowing that she and Isabel are on very different sides of the issue.
Jenna Elfman teased how June may unravel a bit at not being able to find John (the two are separated again). She called it the "John Dorie Effect," which brings the calm June needs. "He slows the world down for her."
Alexa Nisenson gushed about getting to ride in a hot air balloon shaped like a beer bottle, alongside Coleman Domingo. Domingo couldn't be at the panel, so he left a note read by Hardwick, in which the actor hope the cast had brought some style and glam to Hall H. He predicted the girls looked stunning - and funny enough that Blades would be wearing all black (he is).
Ruben Blades thanked the fans, crediting them for being the reason that Daniel Salazar wasn't killed off after the dam incident. He went deep about where Daniels mind is now, before lighting the whole room up with funny anecdotes about getting to act alongside his cat co-star, "Skidmark." He requested the cat (the wouldn't give a dog, it was too Daryl-like); by the time he got his wish, he'd pretty much forgotten about the request. He joked about Skidmark having his own stunt double.
Amelio talked about getting to open up new dimensions of Dwight, and how he ws in awe of the cast he was joining. He loves the old west vibe of Fear, and felt that it was perfectly suited for Dwight and the story that continued after The Walking Dead. The showrunners echo that being able to do things like take a story left off in Walking Dead and pick it up in Fear makes them view the entire Walking Dead universe from a much wider scope.
Debnam-Carey got two big questions: is Alycia ready for a relationship? ("With someone who makes her feel safe.") And who does Alycia trust the most now. (Strand and Luciana based on experience, coming around to Morgan).
Elfman shot down a question about June trying for motherhood again. She's good with just John right now.
James talked about the surreal moment of filming a scene with Amelio for the first time, and how he contacted the Austin, Texas native when he started filming Fear, without ever telling him the crossover was happening. Amelio described being able to be with this family in Austin while filming Fear the Walking Dead as being "the dream."
James also answered a Rick question by saying Morgan would definitely go looking for Rick, if he knew what happened during the Whisperer War.
Blades is celebrated for his musical talent, with anecdotes about how he sings for the cast. The actor joked that his band wants him to get zombified, so he can be with them full-time. He describes Fear as his primary responsibility. Garcia is a director, and a fan asked if she's going to be expanding that talent. She will be, and gushed over how her entire Fear cast came to the premiere.
Hardwick inquires when Season 5B picks up. Goldberg teases that episode 509 will be a documentary format episode with more of the team filming like Al. He teases that it will catch us up to where and when season 5B takes place. Lennie James jokes that 509 will be "Just like The Office."0comments
Jenna Elfman and Colman Domingo are single-out as the ones who keep it light, though Elfman admits that she needs a therapeutic walk often.
The midseason finale of Fear the Walking Dead is this Sunday. The show returns for season 5B on August 11th.