Spoilers for The Walking Dead Season 7 Episode 9 follow.
The Walking Dead's Rock in the Road was not deadly for humans but it may have taken out more zombies than any episode before it. It certainly did it faster than ever before.
When Rick Grimes and Michonne raced down the highway with cars attached by a wire, they plowed through a herd of walkers, slicing right through hundreds of undead biters about a quarter of a mile. It was the most epic moment of the episode and will be tough to top in the future. As it turns out, the scene was not in the episode's script -- it was spawned from the mind of executive producer Greg Nicotero on set as he directed the episode.
"It wasn't in the script," Nicotero told ComicBook.com in an exclusive interview. "We wanted the episode to have a big bang so when we come back, we were always coming back with a splash. We knew that we had a lot of pressure because of what we did last mid-season premiere, and we were like, 'How are we gonna top what we've done before?' The script, great script, basically it was written as they just push it, just a little too far. They're taking the explosives off the wire and the zombies surround the car, and then Rosita opens the sun roof and throws one of the explosives at them and it blows a hole in the herd and they take off."
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It wasn't until they got to the set that Nicotero came up with the scene which would turn out as one of The Walking Dead's most memorable.
"Then we started working on it," Nicotero said. "When I read the first draft I was like, 'It's right there.' I said, 'If you guys would have had another day to work on the script you probably would have found it. This cable that's attaching the two cars. You have a perfect opportunity.'"
Showrunner Scott Gimple had to get on board. "I pitched it to Scott. I said, 'Let's have them hot wire the cars. As long as we can separate Carl and Tara and them from Rick and Michonne, it gives us a great opportunity to have Rick and Michonne do something together.'"
As for Andrew Lincoln, the man charged with playing Rick Grimes, he was as excited as anybody for the scene to come to life. "What I loved about that whole thing is that obviously Rick's getting his mojo back, but I loved the way we shot it and I loved the cars that we used," Lincoln said. "It felt like we were in some 1970s lone, low fi American indie movie. It was a pretty wild day. It was amazing. Then they called in all these drones."
As for the technical aspect of accomplishing the creative scene, Nicotero enlisted a drone for help with the shot of the cars zipping down the highway.
"We had everything," Nicotero said. "We had five cameras. We had two cameras on electric cars, they were driving parallel, and we had a zoom lens on so we were snap zooming into Rick and Michonne. Then we had the drone and we had a hundred zombies, and all the rest were all CG in the back. Having all the zombies approaching the cable and go away from us and then just cut right in it.
"It's so much fun. I'm so exited now about the moment that it ignited in my brain to see it finished."
MORE THE WALKING DEAD:
How Tom Payne Plans To Make Negan Look Stupid / Season 7 Finale Cliffhanger? / Rock In The Road Recap / How Will Rick Convince King Ezekiel? / Khary Payton Explains Ezekiel's Decision / Ross Marquand On Aaron And Eric's Emotional Scene / Those Epic Zombie Kills Almost Didn't Happen!
The Walking Dead returns for the rest of its seventh season on February 12 at 9 p.m. ET on AMC. Fear the Walking Dead's third season does not yet have a premiere date but with The Walking Dead finale set for April 2, expectations for Fear's return are set for April 9. For complete coverage and insider info all season long, follow @BrandonDavisBD on Twitter.