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AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead isn’t a prequel. It’s not going to reveal the cause of the outbreak — or a cure. But what it will do is introduce a new cast of characters to (hopefully) legions of die-hard fans of the original zombie series and comic book that inspired the TV ratings behemoth. Which character will break out? Who is Fear‘s Rick Grimes? How does Fear‘s central couple compare with Rick Grimes and his late wife Lori?
“Unlike the original show, there’s no love triangle,” showrunner Dave Erickson says. “It’s not about Shane’s (Jon Bernthal) love for Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies). And now Rick’s back and it’s not like, ‘You lied to me. I didn’t lie to you.’ Which is also something (creator) Robert Kirkman pitched very early. It’s just a solid relationship. Nobody cheated on anybody. Travis’ last marriage didn’t work, it’s nobody’s fault. It happens, which could be a little bit bland, but I think it’s honest on how it goes down.”
Here, The Hollywood Reporter takes a look at how the Fear characters compare with the original series and gets the inside scoop from the cast and Erickson about AMC’s new survivors.
Madison Clark (played by Kim Dickens)
Who she is: A widowed mother of two who works as a guidance counselor at a high school in El Sereno, Calif., with a past she tried to hide.
Whom she’s most like: Rick (Andrew Lincoln). “She has some heavier baggage than you might think,” Erickson says. “And that’s why she moved to California. They are things she has not shared with her children or with Travis and that’s the very thing that helps her adapt to this new world.”
Travis Manawa (Cliff Curtis)
Who he is: An English teacher at the school and a divorced father with a strained relationship with his ex-wife and son who just moved in with Madison and her two teenage children while still trying to have a relationship with son Christopher and ex-wife Liza.
Whom he’s most like: Dale (Jeff DeMunn). “His weapons of choice are going to be his favorite book, a note from Maddie and a photo of his kids,” Curtis says. “Those are going be the things that he’s going to grab. He has a clear head, a clear mind and a strong heart; those are his weapons of choice. He’s not going to grab a gun or a bow and arrow. He leads with his heart — and that’s his name, actually: Manawa means heart.” Adds Erickson: “He leads from his heart and he suffers for it. His earnestness can be off-putting. If I’m channeling myself into any one of these characters, it’s Travis. He believes he can fix whatever problem there is, find some remedy or repair. And what happens to that guy when he has to handle the fact that he can’t? Or that the only way to fix things is to become someone that he finds to be reprehensible?”
Nick Clark (Frank Dillane)
Who he is: Madison’s 19-year-old son is a drug addict who, in the pilot, is trying to rebuild his life. He’s also the first person to realize the severity of what’s happening around him.
Whom he’s most like: Shane (Jon Bernthal). When viewers first meet him, he’s a drug addict trying to get sober but post-apocalypse, he’s trying to rebuild his life. One of Fear‘s central themes is reinvention — which is a big reason the show is set in L.A., where so many people come to seek a new start. “He’s streetwise,” Dillane says. “He has a good ability to get what he wants.”
Alicia Clark (Alycia Debnam-Carey)
Who she is: Madison’s daughter, who is the opposite of her brother Nick and is an ambitious teen and model student who can’t wait to leave home for college.
Whom she’s most like: Maggie (Lauren Cohan). “She was the one who had a really specific, defined idea of who she was and where she was going,” Erickson says. “She has to work through that and process it. She’s also somebody who lost her father. She’s also somebody who’s a little more fatalistic in her thinking. There’s a great scene down the road between her and Chris’ character.” Adds Debnam-Carey: “Alicia and Maggie have obvious parallels. A lot of people would say Beth (Emily Kinney) at first glance but Alicia has more of a fighting instinct in her. She has a lot of power and it’s about finding that and learning how to use that in this new world.”
Chris Manawa (Lorenzo James Henrie)
Who he is: Travis’ teenage son with his ex-wife Liza who feels like his father has forgotten them in favor of Madison and her children. He’s brave and isn’t afraid to go against his family — even when it doesn’t behoove him. (Caaarrrrrrllll!)
Whom he’s most like: Carl (Chandler Riggs). “As much as he is pissed off at Travis, he still is somewhat more idealistic. He still believes that things can be made better. He still has that quality of him,” Erickson says.
Liza Ortiz (Elizabeth Rodriguez)
Who she is: A single mother to Chris and Travis’ ex-wife who is trying to put herself through nursing school.
Whom she’s most like: Merle (Michael Rooker). She believes she knows what’s best at all times and, at first, isn’t willing to give anyone the time of day to hear otherwise.
Daniel Salazar (Ruben Blades)
Who he is: A refugee from El Salvador who owns a barbershop but prioritizes his family over everything else.
Whom he’s most like: Hershel (Scott Wilson). Initially afraid to let anyone in amid crisis and fiercely protective of the life he has built.
Ofelia Salazar (Mercedes Mason)
Who she is: Daniel and Griselda’s hardworking daughter who helps them understand the harsh realities of living in the U.S. and eventually clashes with her parents when the shit hits the fan.
Whom she’s most like: Carol (Melissa McBride). “Ofelia really starts to come into her own as the season continues,” Erickson teases.
What are you looking forward to seeing? Fear the Walking Dead premieres Sunday at 9 p.m. on AMC. Stay tuned to THR‘s The Live Feed for more coverage after the episode.
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