Comic-Con: 'Fear the Walking Dead' Promises a New Level of "Zombie Savvy"

Plus, Nick will find a new kindred spirit to bond with in the second half of season two.
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What’s worse than trying to survive a zombie apocalypse? Trying to survive it on your own.

When we last saw the characters of AMC’s hit zombie spinoff Fear the Walking Dead in May’s midseason finale, they were all scattering in different directions: Madison, Strand and Alicia fled the Mexican compound by truck, but Nick stayed behind to explore his strange kinship with the undead. Meanwhile, Kim’s boyfriend Travis and his son Chris struck out on their own after Chris’s violent tendencies scared off the rest of the survivors. Oh, did we mention there are still zombies out there trying to feast on everybody’s flesh?

We won’t have to wait long to get answers: Fear returns August 21 to resume its second season, and the cast and producers sat down in front of a huge Hall H crowd at San Diego Comic-Con on Friday to tease what’s next. A new trailer shows a blood-streaked Nick heading for Tijuana and hooking up with a weird cult of people who have the same affection for zombies that he does. While Madison relentlessly searches for her son, she and Strand find themselves surrounded by a room full of those infected. And it doesn’t look good for the future of the group; as Alicia ominously says: “We’re not gonna make it.”

“They have enough zombie savvy now to know there’s no going back,” says executive producer David Erickson. “We’re gonna see a level of intensity of violence in the second half we haven’t seen before.” The characters are older and wiser, he emphasizes: “No one is going to talk to zombies this season. There’ll be none of that.”

The Comic-Con panel also included a new cast addition: Danay Garcia (Prison Break), who’ll play Luciana, a member of that Tijuana community that takes Nick in. “Nick is on a sort of spiritual journey,” Erickson says. “He meets this group of people who ... don’t see the dead as a bad thing necessarily. And Luciana is this sort of badass soldier in this group. The two of them, they form a bond.”

More fresh intel from the Fear the Walking Dead panel, moderated by Talking Dead host Chris Hardwick:

* Cliff Curtis (Travis) promises that we’ll see things from Travis that we haven’t seen yet: “I think he’s gonna be a badass dad.” But he defends Travis’s choice to go off with his damaged son and remove him from the group. “I think it’s the right thing for a dad to take the time and … learn how to help him.” Lorenzo James Henrie (Chris) doesn’t think Chris really would have stabbed Travis in the midseason finale: “I think he was giving his dad a little tease. ‘Don’t mess with me, Travis.’” (Thanks a lot, son.)

* Executive producer/special effects wizard Greg Nicotero is excited to incorporate the plane crash from the “Flight 462” web series into the upcoming episodes: He wants to “see an infected get hit in the head with a propeller.”

* Don't mess with Alycia Debnam-Carey, unless you want to get stabbed. The actress behind Alicia learned a practical self-defense lesson from her Fear character: "I have actually learned how to use a switchblade. I used a butterfly knife in, I think, episode four this season ... and I've had it with me ever since."

* Nick has found a way to move among the infected by slathering himself in zombie blood and guts, but Frank Dillane (Nick) doesn’t love the makeup process: “It’s really miserable, actually. It’s really sticky and hot. It sticks under your arms.” He also thinks Nick may have overdone the blood a bit, covering himself from head to toe: “I think I ended up looking like Hellboy or something.”

* When Hardwick asked which castmember ruins the most scenes by laughing, the whole cast immediately pointed to Colman Domingo (Strand). This was proven by a hilarious blooper reel screened for the Comic-Con crowd, highlighted by a pair of musical moments: the cast singing and boogying down to the Destiny’s Child classic “Bootylicious,” and Strand showing off some impressive moves dancing to MJ’s “Beat It.” Domingo explains, “I’m from the theater, so we always have jazz hands available at all times.”

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