SDCC 2018: 'The Walking Dead' Panel Recap

Following the Season 9 trailer, producers and actors brought onto the stage. Andrew Lincoln, Danai [...]

Following the Season 9 trailer, producers and actors brought onto the stage. Andrew Lincoln, Danai Gurira, Norman Reedus, Lauren Cohan, Jeffrey Dean Morgan are all on the panel along with new show runner Angela Kang. Kang first talks about taking over as show runner and she notes that one of her biggest dreams was to work on The Walking Dead. Host Yvette Nicole Brown says that everyone working on the show has adored Kang's work so far. Gale Anne Hurd says the same thing. They are all glowing about the work from the new show runner.

Kang confirms the time jump and mentions that Maggie's baby has been born. This has been a service to what happened after the All Out War in the comic books. They're building for the future when the new season begins.

Brown address Andrew Lincoln and the crowd roars. He says that the Rick we see in Season 9 has "been through a lot of stresses and strains. He's had a tough time, so he's got a tough haircut."

Lincoln finally addresses his exit:

"There seems to be an elephant in the room, regarding whether or not this is my last year....This will be my last season playing the part of Rick Grimes. I love this show, it means everything to me. I love the people that make this show. I am particularly fond of the people that watch this show. This has been the most extraordinary, amazing and beautiful experience of my career, made possibly largely by you guys. In this room and rooms across the world. And I just want to thank you....We're deeply proud of the work that we've done this season. I think that Angela is astonishing, leading with such class.;;What I wanted to say is my relationship with Mr. Grimes is far from over, and some part of me will always be machete wielding sheriff's deputy from London, England. This will continue to be an ensemble show."

Scott Gimple says that Season 9 will be completely different from the previous seasons. He says that it's the opposite of All Out War, beginning a new chapter of the entire series.
Danai Gurira talks about resetting the new world in Season 9 and she says it's something that Rick and Michonne have discusses for a long time. "It's really kind of this moment the they've worked for, and Carl really cemented that. There has to be something to work for. Maybe everyone is on different pages about how that goes down, so we definitely see the complications. When folks are not on the same page there's going to be some serious conflict.....Navigating through that has been fun, but you know not everybody always wants to be civil."

Reedus jokes about Daryl not saying much in the trailer. "He's always had this fight or flight attitude, with his back against the wall. This season he grows his voice and a lot has to do with Rick and Daryl's relationship evolving. It feels like a freaking Western this year, it's great."

How did Daryl come to be: "Right from the first season, I remember Frank Darabont told me, 'You do Daryl.' It was such a gift to be able to mold something in that direction. I've liked the freedom to have the door wide open, it's awesome."

Lauren Cohan on the time jump: "We obviously left on a pretty sharp note. It was a lot of fun for us, it was fun to know that the baby was coming. It felt in a lot of ways like it would with a movie....A lot of pieces that were laid down get to be addressed. There is a lot of conflict along with the progress. The future looks different from everybody, and we get to explore that. My [Maggie] child has no father and the person responsible for that is still around. When it really comes down to it, what do you do? That's what this season is about."

Jeffrey Dean Morgan on changes to Negan this season: "Yeah it's a different Negan, a different side of Negan. He's in a bit of a predicament and he's having to face some stuff both internally and outside that he hasn't had to deal with before." He also teases new relationships for Negan. Brown asks if he's enjoyed the more relaxed part this season. "He likes to talk, so it's important that people come and visit him. As an actor it's been okay, but as the character I could be itching to get out of there."

Kang on what to expect from Negan: "Were getting to see some sides of Negan that we've never seen before. I mean, Jeffrey is f***ing amazing. You know, Negan is Negan and Negan likes to stir up trouble sometimes, so we will play with those stories."

Nicotero also mentions some of the changes with Season 9, and goes on to praise the work that Angela Kang has done this season, and throughout the entire series. "We're in store for a lot of emotion this season. We get to see Daryl and Carol together, we get to see Rick and Michonne."

Kang on the new characters: "We have some really cool new characters for comic book fans, you'll get to see some familiar faces. Earl the blacksmith of Hilltop is coming." Zack McGowan and Dan Fogler are joining the cast. Fogler will play the role of Luke and McGowan will play a Savior.

Kirkman: I think we all may have noticed that there was a whispering zombie at the end of that trailer? You may recognize Samantha Morton who will be playing Alpha.

"We're going to look at the past, present, and future of the universe," says Gimple of more potential crossovers.

Danai Gurira says that she learned how to ride horses during Season 4 and she had to re-learn a bit this season. She says that Lincoln is very good at riding horses. Lincoln makes fun of Norman Reedus for being the one main character that doesn't ride a horse during the season.

"It's so cool being on horseback, it's like cowboys vs zombies this year," says Lincoln. The actor then goes on to joke about his scene riding the motorcycle with Norman Reedus. At one point, Reedus popped a wheelie on the bike while they were both riding. Reedus then confirms that Lincoln can, in fact, ride a motorcycle. The two men proceed to talk about their ongoing prank war that has extended for multiple seasons. Lincoln confirms that he paid someone to wrap Norman's muscle car in toilet paper.

Yvette Nicole Brown opens it up for fan questions and the panel ends.