On Sunday night, Fear the Walking Dead wrapped up the first half of its sixth season (one episode shorter than was originally planned). The new run of episodes has been the shows best since showrunners Andrew Chambliss and Ian Goldberg took the reigns from Dave Erickson. Erickson had found a stride with Fear the Walking Dead in the show's third season, crafting one of the best single seasons of any of the Walking Dead shows. The stark change caught fans off guard when a Morgan Jones crossover, dismissal of key cast members and characters, and inconsistent story quality followed it up. Now, though, fans and critics are fully buying what Fear the Walking Dead is selling, once more.
"The thing for us is that the anthology style of storytelling really allows us to just tell these really tight focused stories that allow us to really track some change in a character," Chambliss told ComicBook.com in an exclusive interview. "We can take them from A to B within an episode, and it doesn't get lost amongst the 12 series regulars we have."
Since Chambliss and Goldberg began their runs, characters portrayed by Jenna Elfman, Garret Dillahunt, Mo Collins, Alexa Nisenson, Lennie James, Austin Amelio, and more have joined the series -- making it almost unrecognizable by comparison to its earliest seasons. Now, only Colman Domingo, Alycia Debnam-Carey, and Ruben Blades remain from the first season. After two years of building them up, the characters have been established, relationships have been built, and the show has managed to find its best stride in years. Fear the Walking Dead is must-watch television on Sunday nights.
As The Walking Dead nears its end, Fear the Walking Dead might be looking to keep this high-quality running going into a distant future. "We have not had any specific conversations about when the show would end," Chambliss said. "We have our own ideas about how we think the show should conclude, but for right now, we're just going to keep telling the stories and do it for as long as AMC says to keep doing it."
Below, spoilers for Fear the Walking Dead Season 6 and its mid-season 6 finale follow, in the uncut interview with showrunners Andrew Chambliss and Ian Goldberg.
ComicBook.com: The big difference in story has been the anthology format, but it just feels like the conflicts between characters and a lot of things have reached new, more interesting and compelling levels. What other big changes for you guys behind the scenes?
Andrew Chambliss: I think the thing for us is that the anthology style of storytelling really allows us to just tell these really tight focused stories that allow us to really track some change in a character. We can take them from A to B within an episode, and it doesn't get lost amongst the 12 series regulars we have.
I think the other thing that really helped us in amping up everything across the board was just the decision to split everyone up and take away all their power. We're really testing people and putting them in the worst situations they've been, and it's allowed us to explore who rises to the occasion, who doesn't, or who finds interesting ways to take advantage of the situation everyone's in.prevnext
CB: Much of this season has been about Morgan trying to build this new safe place for everybody. What can you tell us about his goal and what we can expect when we see everyone arrive at his safe place?
Ian Goldberg: Well, it's the place that we see him building, the one that Isaac led him to at the end of 601. We're going to continue to see how he builds that up with the ultimate goal of reuniting the family and bringing them all behind the dam wall there. Obviously, that's a tall order, and with everybody split apart under different encampments for Virginia, it's going to be tricky, but we're building toward that moment in the next several episodes.
AC: I do think the one question that Morgan hasn't asked himself is if he can build this place. Given everything everyone's been through, are they all going to want to live behind that wall together?
CB: Episode 6x07 was not originally the mid-season finale. This is one episode short of what would normally be a half-season. Is Season 6 still 16 episodes? Are there nine more episodes or is it going to be 15 total?
IG: Nine more.prevnext
The Man With The Plan?
CB: I'm a huge fan of Colman. I think he's such a good actor. I think Strand is one of the most interesting characters on the show. What should viewers think he's doing? Is he playing both sides or is he really with Ginny?
IG: Well, this episode is called "Damage from the Inside," and that is what he has been vowing to do since the end of season five, when everyone was getting split up but the ghouls. He told Alicia, "We can do more damage from the inside."
We've seen thus far he has done some of that, but it also has cost him some relationships, namely with Alicia, not to mention the tarnishing of his soul, based on things that he's done. In this episode, we see that the relationship with Alicia is far from mended, but we're going to have to see, over the next several episodes, whether his tactics and his morally gray actions are justifiable in the end, and if he will do the damage he vowed to do or if he's going to become a bit of a monster, himself.prevnext
CB: As you mentioned, the Strand and Alicia relationship has not mended. She seems to have really emancipated herself from anybody who isn't on her side immediately, especially when she tells Strand, "I'm just doing what you asked me, Strand." She's independent. She's going to be her own leader. How much more can that character grow? What direction should we expect her to go as this goes on?
AC: Alicia's journey is going to be one of continuing to define who she is and not someone who is going to be a disciple of Morgan or a disciple of Strand. I think she's in a position where she's realizing the one person she can count on is herself, and she's on a journey to figure out exactly who it is that she wants to be.
CB: With Alicia having mentioned the stadium, is there any chance that Madison is out there or Alicia could have any reason to look for her mom at this point and is there a chance Madison is the one who saved Morgan?
IG: There's always a chance. There's always a chance. We can't say much else about who saved Morgan, other than we saw the note. We saw that it was someone with an ulterior motive who said that Morgan still had things to do. It's someone that Morgan doesn't know. We know that from the note, also. I think when we do reveal who that person is who saved them, that note is going to take on a whole new level of resonance in terms of what it means.prevnext
The Real Villains
CB: There has been a quiet villain lurking in the background but they've made their presence known as the season goes on. I know you can't spoil anything, but how can we expect to see that story grow? Are they the main big bad coming up or is it going to continue to be this Virginia and Strand and the group and is that the main story?
AC: I'll say that this group, who has been lurking in the shadows, is definitely going to make themselves known. It is going to come at probably one of the worst moments for our entire group, but in terms of who the story is going to lie with, I think we want to let the audience watch as it unfolds.
CB: Fear has a history of scattering its characters. Now, John has ridden off. Sherry came and went. Dwight had to let her go. Morgan and Alicia head out together. Strand is with Virginia. It still feels like we might be building towards that big ensemble moment in one way or another. Is the anthology format something that's here to stay, or can we expect a big, heavy crossover of everybody in terms of the story format coming up?
IG: I think we can say yes to both. There will be a coming together of everybody, but we will also still be continuing the anthology model.prevnext
The End and the Movies
CB: We have also seen, especially with Al, ties to CRM and the Rick movies and World Beyond is doing its part in expanding the world in that way. How heavily can we expect those ties and the world expansion in what's coming on Fear?
AC: It's a good question. I think in terms of Al's story, she obviously made the choice to stay with Dwight, to stay with the person who she had a relationship with, that she knew was a real thing as opposed to reconnecting with Isabel. That is still going to be a big drive for Al to try to reconnect with Isabel. That may bring her back in contact with the CRM.
We're definitely aware of the larger world and how Fear plays into that. I don't think it will be the last we'll see of elements from World Beyond or from The Walking Dead.0comments
CB: The Walking Dead now has announced Season 11 is going to be its end. World Beyond has the two-season run. It seems like the majority of this universe has an end date before the next phase begins. Have you guys had any similar conversations lately or do you guys have any idea how long Fear will go on for? Will that collaborative process call for Fear to have a similar time to end?
AC: We have not had any specific conversations about when the show would end. We have our own ideas about how we think the show should conclude, but for right now, we're just going to keep telling the stories and do it for as long as AMC says to keep doing it.prev