How 'Fear The Walking Dead' Created Post-Apocalyptic Austin, Texas
Fear the Walking Dead shot the entirety of its fourth season in the greater Austin, Texas area, even converting a baseball stadium to a post-apocalyptic survivor camp, but journeyed into Austin's city limits in its latest episodes. It was a difficult but exciting adventure for the AMC zombie show.
"One great thing we can say about shooting in Austin is it gave us a lot of variety in terms of locations to shoot at this season," Fear the Walking Dead's co-showrunner Ian Goldberg told ComicBook.com. Goldberg, along with Andrew Chambliss, took over showrunner duties from Dave Erickson with the current season and made some major changes in the process. "Everything from the baseball stadium, which was sort of on the outskirts of Austin, a place called Round Rock, to the water park, so much of this season has been about our characters on the road from one place to the next. You know, I think our production department probably got sick of reading 'exterior road' on a lot of our slugs. But they did an incredible job of just sort of selling the journey through the different locations that we used in Austin."
The technical aspect of creating a post-apocalyptic city without shutting most of the city down for production left a lot of heavy lifting for the show's post-production crew. "Then in Episode 4x14 where we're at the hospital, that's the first time we actually were within a city of Austin and the first time we saw a much more urban setting in the apocalypse," Chambliss said. "That was something we've been wanting to do for a while, and when we ended up on the roof of the hospital, there was really no way of hiding the city. It was not an easy or cheap thing to achieve. The rooftop, that was all practical set dressing, but then everything beyond that really became a visual effect."
As seen in photos from the episode, the Austin skyline is visibly decayed by the absence of human life and the upkeep which comes with it.
"The capital building with the dome half caved in, all the buildings with dirt and windows blown out, that was all done after the fact, when we were working with our post department and a bunch of different visual effects companies," Chambliss said. "Stuff that, when we're coming up with these ideas we don't even think about, but the fact that you see a road in the distance and there is rush hour traffic on it for miles and miles, we have to then go in and create all of that. So we love seeing that, but when it's on a roof, it's very expensive. We do want to see more of kind of the urban side of the apocalypse in that landscape and that's something that we'll see a bit more in this season and hope to kind of continue seeing going on into next season."
Heading into Season Five, the showrunners do hope to get an opportunity to explore more city-scapes. So far, the Dead universe has unveiled Atlanta, Los Angeles, Tijuana, Washington D.C., and Austin. "We are filming in Austin again for Season Five," Goldberg says. "But what we can say is we, without giving away sort of where we're going story-wise, we will be exploring different parts of the greater Austin area, and possibly the greater Texas area, as part of the story we're telling. So we're always trying to avoid repetition, and that will continue, yeah, as these characters take the next evolution in their journey."
Fear the Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on AMC. The Walking Dead returns for its ninth season on Oct. 7, 2018. For more updates and insider info all year long, follow @BrandonDavisBD on Twitter!