The Walking Dead spinoff, Fear the Walking Dead, wants to show us a whole new angle on the zombocalypse! We’ve got the highlights from their SDCC panel below.
How will it be different than The Walking Dead? Well, for one thing, they’re focusing on Los Angeles. “From the beginning, Robert wanted a show that was very different tonally from the original, so we wanted to set it in a major metropolis.” (But how will audiences tell soulless zombies from the usual residents of L.A.? Heh. Just kidding, city with affordable housing and a booming creative class!)
Also, we’ll get to see the beginning of the fall of humanity. The first season will show us all the horrible stuff that went on during Rick’s coma, and actually, by the time the season ends, he’ll still be sleeping. Dave Erickson elaborates: “It starts as a family drama, and we filter the apocalypse through that, and it afforded us the opportunity to really hone in on these characters, and then see how the apocalypse crushes them.”
The actors were all trying not to spoil anything, so finally moderator Chris Hardwicke had to ask “What are they allowed to say about their characters?”
Kim Dickens called the show “a completely new genre” for her, and wasn’t sure about horror, but she liked her character, Madison, too much to resist. “It’s been really exhausting, and also the most fun I’ve ever had. I had a few nightmares at first as my subconscious was trying to process what I was doing during the day.” Cliff Curtis plays Madison’s husband, and says that his character, Travis, is an eternal optimist. (That should work well for him.) The role interested him because he “liked the humanity of the characters.”
Alpert and Nicotero talked about how this show doesn’t have any obvious heroes. These are normal people. Erickson said,“Some people are readier faster than others” and Hurd added, “Different people would react in different ways. Most would think it would just pass and the media are blowing it out of proportion.” As a teacher, Curtis’ character also doesn’t have guns or weapons training to rely on. “All of us here would react the way these characters react,” Gale Anne Hurd added. Greg Nicotero is excited by the differences between the shows: “You can’t really compare the two shows because they’re so drastically different – Walking Dead has these bigger-than-life characters, and what’s great about this show is that they are everyday characters.” Alycia Debnam-Carey plays the teenage daughter of the family, and as the youngest, a high-achieving student with a bright future ahead of her, “she has a lot to lose.” Dillane’s character, who is Madison’s son, is one of the first to figure out what’s going on, and becomes “a prophet of the apocalypse.” Orange is the New Black’s Elizabeth Rodriquez plays Travis’ ex-wife, who ends up moving in with the family for safety. This understandably complicates things.
And of course, one of the best things about being there for the start of a zombie outbreak, is that for a while, no one knows that anything’s wrong…
Like all right-thinking people, the cast members have zombie apocalypse plans. Gale Anne Hurd has transformed her basement into a “zombie survival zone” with three years of food and water, but Greg Nicotero, unsurprisingly, has a plan that will allow him to outlive us all: “I’ll just make myself up as a zombie.”
During the audience Q&A, many people brought up Rodriguez’ work on Orange is the New Black, one asking how she juggles them both: “In prison, we know the rules, we know who our allies are, and we have an end date because it’s a minimum security prison, In this world, there are no rules, and there’s a lot of fear of the unknown.” Also…any possibility of a crossover? “I think Scott Gimple would kill me if I ever suggested that – there’s no plans to do that.”
The cast also discussed the fact that in the event of a real zombocalypse, the average major city’s food supply would be gone in three days. Worst The More You Know rainbow topic ever. Erickson also promises not to destroy The Staples Center…yet. Hardwicke chimes on the LA setting, saying “LA is just a bunch of little villages connected by shitty traffic!” and asking how such a “badly planned city” works as a setting. The creators see this as an advantage, however: “What’s happening in Brentwood is not necessarily happening in Silverlake” so they can tell more diverse stories while staying within the city.
Finally, by all accounts we can look forward to a lot of female badassery! Check out Fear the Walking Dead on August 23rd, and in the meantime, you can see a great roundup of clips here, and check out the trailer below: