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AMC’s The Walking Dead returns for its fifth season Sunday with what executive producer Gale Anne Hurd says is a season filled with dark places — and hope — with a structure that she describes as a mashup of all the seasons that have come before.
Indeed. Season four featured a number of more intimate character explorations (complete with backstory) that the new season will build on. “We’re going to see how much pain our cast of characters can survive,” Hurd tells The Hollywood Reporter. “We’re going to take them to some dark places but we’ll also give them hope. Hope of a cure and hope of love. We’re going to see some pretty interesting relationship stuff.”
To get the scoop on what’s ahead — beyond what EP/VFX guru Greg Nicotero warns are rotting and decomposing walkers — The Hollywood Reporter decided to put a Walking Dead spin on a fun NSFW game and quiz the cast with one question: Will your character hook up, be killed off or be separated from the group? Here’s what they said — and the advice everyone would offer their onscreen counterparts.
Andrew Lincoln (Rick)
Hook up, die or be separated: Hook up! I’m only joking! Maybe, because I’ve had a shave, though that could be a flashback or I’m off the show!
Advice for Rick: Shave!
Norman Reedus (Daryl)
Hook up, die or be separated: Hook up, but with who is a whole other question! Why can’t we all get along and have one giant Walking Dead orgy! Actually, there is a Walking Dead porno where Daryl has a threesome with two zombies and it’s kind of amazing. The noises that came out of that were amazing.
Advice for Daryl: Learn how to sail a boat because I think we should go on the water now!
Emily Kinney (Beth)
Hook up, die or be separated: I’d love her to hook up with someone. I don’t know who. She had the boyfriends and in the apocalypse, everyone wants to get some action! I feel like Beth should grow up and get a really good boyfriend.
Advice for Beth: Use everything you learned from last season. Last year, she was with Daryl a bunch and he has some great survival skills. I’d hope that Beth stores those away and doesn’t hesitate to use those survival skills.
Lauren Cohan (Maggie)
Hook up, die or be separated: hook up! But with her husband? Are there other options? I was going to go down a bisexual route but I’m not going to say — but there’s one person…I can’t even go down this road because then it’s in print everywhere that Maggie wants to be a lesbian. She doesn’t! She loves being with her husband. If her husband was gone, she might think about it — because you become resourceful!
Advice for Maggie: Trust your gut. She always does, but she needs to continue to do so.
Steven Yeun (Glenn)
Hook up, die or be separated: I’d say two out of the three of those things! (Laughs.) He’s probably going to hook up.
Advice for Glenn: Stay true to yourself.
Michael Cudlitz (Abraham)
Hook up, die or be separated: He’s going to shag like a bunny! That dude likes to get naked in the zombie apocalypse!
Advice for Abraham: Shoot for the head!
Josh McDermitt (Eugene)
Hook up, die or be separated: I hope Eugene hooks up. He’s girl crazy, he already hit on Tara at the end of last season and that went horribly awry. That’s what I love about Eugene: He lacks so many social cues that after spending so much time with her, he didn’t realize she was a lesbian and still hit on her. It wouldn’t surprise me if he does it again! He’s got options now! He was riding with Rosita for the longest time and moved on to Tara and now he’s exposed to Maggie and Sasha, let’s see what’s going on!
Advice for Eugene: Stay close to Abraham because that’s his protector, his walking muscle and the guy who is going to do all the killing for him. This season is so intense that he’s going to need him more than ever.
Alanna Masterson (Tara)
Hook up, die or be separated: She’ll separate from the group and then create her own empire! (Laughs.) You’ll see slowly but surely, she’s going to find someone and fall in love and it will be great.
Advice for Tara: Stretch! So that when you’re running away from zombies, you don’t get a charley horse!
Andrew J. West (Gareth)
Hook up, die or be separated: All of the above, I hope. But hook up. If it happens, it’s going to have to be alluded to in some episode I didn’t read, but let’s hope that’s the case!
Advice for Gareth: Keep on doing what you’re doing — you’ve got a good thing going. He’s made it so far and he’s figured something out. I’d be asking him for advice. What we are going to learn about Gareth is we don’t know the ways in which he has managed to survive this long, but what we do know and will come to learn is that he is a philosopher of survival. He’s given it a lot of thought and meditated on what it takes to survive in this new world. We are going to get to see many sides of him over the course of the beginning of the season. It’s not just going to be a one-dimensional kind of thing. We’ll see a lot. I wouldn’t say he’s The Governor.
Sonequa Martin-Green (Sasha)
Hook up, die or be separated: I can’t answer that!
Advice for Sasha: Stop being so afraid — and afraid to connect with people. Sasha has a lot of issues brewing under the surface. She’s fueled by wounds — like everyone is — but she has consistently seen things not go her way and has been suspicious of things and been right.
Tyler James Williams (Noah)
Hook up, die or be separated: I haven’t gotten all the scripts, so possibly all and possibly none at the same time! For where it is now, I could see any of those things happening. But he’s survived the zombie apocalypse so obviously he has some gravitas.
Advice for Noah: I can’t give him anything, I’d never survive two years in the zombie apocalypse. His advice to me? Just always run!
The Walking Dead returns Sunday at 9 p.m. on AMC. Stay tuned to THR‘s The Live Feed for more Walking Dead coverage.
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