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*** 2:15 p.m. ET - Robert Kirkman's The Walking Dead panel begins in the Hammerstein Ballroom ***
The moderator kicks off the panel by introducing Robert Kirkman to the tune of "Bad to the Bone." Joining him is editor Sean Mackiewicz.
The first topic is New York Comic Con. Kirkman thinks he has been to almost all of the conventions, inviting the audience to shout out how many there have been.
The moderator gives a spoiler warning - all content of The Walking Dead comics to date are fair game. Kirkman jokes about Andrea dying, which the audience isn't happy about believing it for a moment, until he jokes that Shane came back and died again.
After an off topic series of jokes, the attention turns to the Whisperer War, which Kirkman is looking forward to seeing on television because of how difficult it is to say.
"Probably, eventually," Kirkman says about the likelihood of the arc coming to TV. "As long as we don't get cancelled it should."
"I can't wait to see Andrew Lincoln saying 'Now we gotta worry about the Whispererererers," Kirkman jokes, before saying they could rename the group for TV. "I think about some dark stuff."
Mackiewicz asks where the idea of wearing flesh came from. "I feel like it's something that probably evolved over time," Kirkman says beforee a tease of the Whisperers actually being the future of Fear the Walking Dead's group, saying, "Maybe they were putting blood all over their faces and were walking around in Mexico and went, 'Oh, it would probably be better if we just used skin.'"
"I'm always thinking, 'How do I up the ante? How do I introduce something new?'" Kirkman before referring to the Governor and the Hunters. He is always thinking of the future.
"I always want to show how much this world has evolved," Kirkman says. "They don't even really operate as human beings anymore. They see themselves as animals."
"It's one thing to encounter Negan. He clearly has a motive," Kirkman says. "The Whisperers, you can't understand them at all."
Changing the attention to the evolving relationship between Rick and Negan, Kirkman talks about where the two heavy hitters stand. "There's been a softening to their relationship," he says. "Negan has gone out of his way to prove, 'Hey, I'm not against you anymore," the writer goes on before citing the slaying of Alpha and not escaping prison when he had the chance.
Now, to the radio Eugene is using to talk to people who are allegedly in Ohio. Kirkman says Eugene is not hallucinating a voice on the other end like Rick did when talking to dead Lori on the phone. The topic is quickly left behind.
The next subject is Lucille's death. "It's already damaged. It already got a shot through the wood," Kirkman says.
"There are thousands of more issues that won't get spoiled," Kirkman tells an outraged fan in the audience before getting back to the death of Lucille. "I had that planned for a while," he says. "I thought it would be a cool thing to do, I don't know."
The jokes come back, this time about people whose skin they would like to wear if they were Whisperers, and they agree Jennifer Lawrence and Ryan Gosling would make good faces.
The moderator asks if there will be more of The Walking Dead: The Alien one-shot's story from Brian K. Vaughn. Kirkman solidly rules that there are not plans for a future of that story but some very talented people have reached out with interest in continuing it.
The panel is turned over to fan questions...
The first question is about Negan's language being adapted to television.
Kirkman says they have the option of Negan somewhat saying the F-word once an episode in a slurred version.
"I think that, from watching the finale especially, Negan's profanity is cool and everybody likes it," Kirkman says. "But watching the scene without the profanity, that's still Negan. There's a personality to him." They will film a few scenes two ways and "you'll get a little extra F-bombs on the blu-ray."
A few questions follow, including which character Kirkman wishes he didn't kill off when he did. "My mind doesn't seem to work that way," he says. "When they did, they're dead." He does go on to admit that he misses the characters when they die, like Axel, Tyreese, or Lori. Reminiscing on Ezekiel, Kirkman misses him but says, "Watch Season 7 of the show! He's awesome."
Will Kirkman continue with the 16-panel grids after the Whisperer War? "Probably not."
Kirkman says he knows what caused the zombie apocalypse but he's never going to reveal it. "It's not like we're going to have a scientist walk up to Rick Grimes and say, 'Hey, I was working with the President and he was working with NASA...'"
"No comment," on whether or not Nick from Fear the Walking Dead is going to be a Whisperer.
Whether or not Carl will be a villain is "definitely not denied instantly" as Kirkman puts it.
Was Glenn originally the plan for Negan's kill? "It was always supposed to be Glenn," Kirkman says. "Glenn was supposed to die earlier in the comic but then I changed my mind."
"When I run out of ideas for Negan, I'll just kill him," Kirkman says before revealing the original plan for the villain's death. "Negan was supposed to die at the end of the Something to Fear arc. He was originally supposed to be in the book for only four or five issues."
More specifically, Kirkman revealed how Negan was going to die.
"It was supposed to end when Maggie takes over the Hilltop. Rick was going to deliver Negan's head in a box to Maggie to say, 'I'm sorry.'"0comments
"Whoever it was, they were did this time last year because we knew who it was a long time ago," Kirkman tells a fan about Negan's kill on television.
A few more fun questions round out the panel, with Kirkman saying if he wasn't writing The Walking Dead and he were in an alternate universe, he would like to see it done by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips.