With the cast and crew of AMC's The Walking Dead already in a deep-dive production-wise on the tenth season, life in the Walking Dead universe has become a lot like the NFL: neither have off-seasons anymore. With a strong ensemble cast (and a "Big Bad" fronted by Samantha Morton in an award-earning turn as Whisperers leader Alpha) and richly layered writing, series EP/showrunner Angela Kang did the near-impossible: made the show feel fresh and dangerous again.
So with some serious mojo working in their favor, The Walking Dead returned to San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC 2019) with cast members Norman Reedus, Melissa McBride, Danai Gurira, Ryan Hurst, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Avi Nash, Nadia Hilker, Eleanor Matsuura, and Cailey Fleming. With Chris Hardwick back as moderator, the panelist were also joined by Kang, Scott Gimple, executive producers Robert Kirkman, David Alpert, Gale Anne Hurd, and Greg Nicotero – with a wide range of topics covered – beginning with a sad note as Gurira confirms that the tenth season will be her last:
Moving on to something that doesn't rip our hearts out… Reedus offers to go The X-Files by helping storm Area 51, and offers his thoughts on what Today's Daryl would say to the Daryl we met in the first season:
Meanwhile, Fleming has some thoughts on working with Michonne's sword – and some dream weapons that would make Daryl and Negan proud:
Kirkman clarifies some things about what the ending of the comic book series means – and doesn't mean – for the television series' future:
Finally, with The Walking Dead celebrating it's tenth season – Gimple takes us all back to the time he first met Kirkman: a match made in walker heaven:
Leading up to SDCC 2019, we learned: comic book character Dante will transition to the small screen; efforts are underway to bring Lauren Cohan (Maggie) back; big themes for this season will be propaganda, paranoia, and PTSD; Michonne's (Danai Gurira) in a "hot" situation in the season's first official image; Negan's (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) possible future; Eugene's (Josh McDermitt) connection to that mysterious voice on the radio at the end of last season; and that Lincoln will not direct an episode this season.
During SDCC, there were a ton of teases and news (and a sad announcement, which you can check out here) – and one of those announcements was American Beauty star Thora Birch joining the series in the role of Gamma, a Whisperer who is fiercely protective of Alpha. Kevin Carroll (The Leftovers) is set to play Virgil, a resourceful survivor who is desperate to get home.
AMC and Skybound gave fans their first look at Birch's Gamma – in and out of "Whisperer mode":
Speaking of "first-looks," Ross Marquand posted an image of his head clean-shaven. Biggest question: does this mean Marquand's auditioning to play Lex Luthor (watch out, Jon Cryer) – or is there more going on with Aaron that we realize? He looks a little too Whisperer-like in the image below…
Here's our first official trailer for the upcoming season and the new season overview – as the war between our heroes and The Whisperers escalates, both sides must deal with issues of trust from within:
The Walking Dead is a story that started 10 years ago with one man trying to find his family. That family grew and gradually communities took shape. They fought and survived, thrived and gave birth to a new generation. It is a tale of humankind and there are more stories to tell.
It is now Spring, a few months after the end of Season 9, when our group of survivors dared to cross into Whisperer territory during the harsh winter. The collected communities are still dealing with the after effects of Alpha's horrific display of power, reluctantly respecting the new borderlines being imposed on them, all while organizing themselves into a militia-style fighting force, preparing for a battle that may be unavoidable.
But the Whisperers are a threat unlike any they have ever faced. Backed by a massive horde of the dead it is seemingly a fight they cannot win. The question of what to do and the fear it breeds will infect the communities and give rise to paranoia, propaganda, secret agendas, and infighting that will test them as individuals and as a society. The very idea of whether civilization can survive in a world filled with the dead hangs in the balance.
Skybound confirmed earlier reporting that the second The Walking Dead spinoff series (co-created by TWD CCO Scott M. Gimple and showrunner Matt Negrete) has cast Alexa Mansour (Madame Secretary), Nicolas Cantu (The Good Place), and Hal Cumpston (Bilched) to star in the next chapter of the Walking Dead universe, which follows two female protagonists with a focus on the first generation to come-of-age in the zombie apocalypse.
Mansour's character is a good-natured rule breaker who lives for today. She is likable and funny on the outside but sad on the inside. Cantu's character is small for his age in addition to being friendly and an old soul. He also has a black belt in karate. Cumpston's character is big for his age. He is a shy loner that scares some kids, but he hates the fact that he scares people.
AMC's "The Walking Dead" Season 10
Speaking of the upcoming tenth season, now that we know Danai Gurira's Michonne is set to depart, there's growing buzz over Lauren Cohan's Maggie returning in some capacity – especially now that ABC's Whiskey Cavalier is officially over. Michael Cudlitz is back this season to direct – and an earlier post with Cailey Fleming (Judith) melted our hearts and reminded us that we do – in fact – have the capacity to feel. Cudlitz then followed-up that post with an image that got arenaline raging as he joined Norman Reedus (Daryl) and Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Negan) to reassure fans that "these fuckers are killin' it" in his episode:
The Walking Dead returns on Sunday, October 6, at 9 p.m. Fear the Walking Dead returns to Sunday nights on August 11 at 9 p.m., with production on the second spinoff series currently underway in Virginia.