Comic-Con 2011: ‘The Walking Dead’ 11 Things to Know From Comic-Con (Video)

From the Season 2 premiere date to the ticks on the set and a new trailer, here’s what happened Friday from the AMC series’ panel.
Courtesy of AMC

1. Season 2 will premiere Sunday, Oct. 16 at a new time, 9 p.m., as part of AMC’s Fear Fest programming block. Executive producer Gale Anne Hurd announced the date and new time to open the panel, encouraging everyone in Ballroom 20 to break out their smart phones ahead of the announcement. Now that’s viral marketing.
2. Comic book writer/creator Robert Kirkman never envisioned the long-running series being adapted at all. “I was of the mind that it would never, ever be a television show because it is so dark and it is zombies,” he said. “The idea of the show is that people get eaten and torn apart and that’s not something you’d see every day. … [Executive producer/writer/director] Frank [Darabont] came along and never went away.”
3. The success of the first six-episode season has created a bigger opportunity to do more for the upcoming second season. “The good thing about the first season is that nobody knew what was coming,” Kirkman said. “It’s empowered us to try harder and cross more lines and do bigger things knowing that there’s a rabid fan base out there saying that we love the show.” Added Darabont: “This year we have a room full of writers who know the show now as fans of it, having seen the first little half season, they came into the room going wow, we get to do The Walking Dead. The first six episodes, nobody knew what the hell we were doing. … It was an unknown quantity as a TV show.”
4. A full, extended trailer offering more details on Season 2 (below) premiered at Comic-Con on Friday where the cast makes their way out of Atlanta and to the farm featured prominently in the comics. It’s intense, filled with black and white flashbacks and played extremely well at the panel. And because once wasn’t enough, the panel ended with an encore of the trailer. Moderator Chris Hardwick, from Nerdist, was smart in how he handled the panel, having the exec producers out first for a Q&A, screening the panel, then bringing the cast out for more of a discussion with fans in the jam-packed 6,500-person ballroom, for which some fans started standing in line at 5 a.m.
5. Co-star Sarah Wayne Callies (Lori Grimes) never knows what’s coming next. “I think I’m going to get whacked in the next episode,” she joked, adding that Season 2 will be more about the survivors’ internal demons. “You start to realize that the most dangerous things out there are the monsters inside.”
6. Laurie Holden says her character Andrea will be pushed further in Season 2 after the loss of her sister, Amy. “Amy was the love of my life and there was no cleansing,” she noted. “Every character is pushed to the max [in Season 2] … if you are a fan of the graphic novel, I think you’re really going to love this season.”
7. Jeffrey DeMunn is happily clueless playing the father figure of the group, Dale. “I guess he’s so terribly near sided that he doesn’t see the trouble he’s in,” he noted.
8. Tick, tock: Steven Yeun, who plays the handy Glenn, described a typical day at work that’s book-ended by tick checks. “You wake up, do a tick check – you check everywhere – you go to work, you take it all in and you sweat your butt off and then you come home and do another tick check,” he said. “There’s ticks where we shoot -- they’re small and you don’t notice them … one of them climbed my mountain and planted a flag right on the peak of my mountain,” he joked, at which point co-star Norman Reedus (who plays redneck Daryl) quickly motioned to his privates. Only at Comic-Con.
9. Even Kirkman doesn’t always get the rules of the Walking Dead universe, which he created. Asked what he would do if there were to be a zombie apocalypse, he joked that he’d kill himself or jump off a bridge. “I’ve written this stuff so long and I’ve seen what happens to people in this world … you would be someone’s pet,” he joked. “The whole world turns into prison.” Hurd, however, was quick to point out Kirkman’s rule that you must be killed with a bullet to the head or decapitated before you are actually dead and don’t return to life as a zombie. “Read the comic book, learn the rules, Robert!” she said.
10. Ed O’Neill, AMC has work for you. When asked who he’d cast as Michone, Tyrese and the Governor – the famed characters from the comics – Kirkman has one guy for all three roles: “Ed O’Neill, Ed O’Neill and Ed O’Neill,” he said, noting that that’s been his go-to response when asked about casting. “My backup is John Stamos,” he joked. Added Darabont about casting the three roles: “We are having those conversations now.”
11. How long will it take for Lincoln’s Rick to become the hero he is in the comics? It might be a bit. “The comic book series has been going for so long that I’ve had time to add little things and do horrible things to Rick Grimes … but the plan is to get there,” Kirkman said. “It’s not something we can rush, we have to take our time with it and do it in a way that makes sense.”

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