Yes, we're still reeling from last Sunday's brutal The Walking Dead finale. But when it comes to a good zombie apocalypse, there's no time to stop and deal with the horror of Dead without Glenn or Daryl or Michonne. No, indeed. It's time for the return of Fear The Walking Dead and, in an exclusive interview with Blastr, New Zealand actor Cliff Curtis and executive producer Gale Anne Hurd promise no one is safe when Season 2 premieres Sunday on AMC at 9 p.m.
“It's very exciting and entertaining,” said Curtis, who plays former teacher Travis. “We kick into a whole different gear in the second season in terms of there's a lot more going on. In season one our characters are all in the dark. They didn't understand what was happening... Reality has struck in season two.
“We're out at sea. It's no safer on sea than it is on land. We're completely adrift and we don't know where we're going. It sets up some great tensions. There's eight characters and they don't necessarily all get along and they're stuck on a boat at sea with imminent threats in multiple directions,” he said.
“It's not just the zombies you have to worry about. It's the other people as well,” said Hurd. And just like on the parent series, The Walking Dead, she promises the humans may be more dangerous than the walkers, “because they're a lot less predictable.”
“So many fans of The Walking Dead over the years have said, 'I know what I'd do. I'd get on a boat and get out of town.' Now we're going to see how well that works out,” said Hurd with a laugh. “You'll see it's not exactly a solution.”
Last season was a “slow burn” that followed Travis and Madison, a couple with a blended family that suddenly found themselves in the middle of an “outbreak.” Of course, the outbreak turned into a full-on zombie apocalypse. As the first mini-season came to a close, Travis was forced to make an devastating decision when his ex-wife, Liza, was bitten by a walker.
When Season 2 returns, there's no time to “mourn in this world. There's no time to be a normal human being. So what does that do to you? And Travis's primary concern at the end of season one is his son and that's going to create tension, so there's going to be issues with that. Before the problem was Nick. Now what's going to happen with my son? He's obviously not going to like me very much. The whole of Season 1 we had issues. Imagine the kind of issues we're going to be facing in Season 2," said Curtis.
Hurd added, “Sometimes the people that you think are going to be most able to deal with the apocalypse are not always the ones that you initially expected. We're dealing with a 'normal family'. In The Walking Dead we started with Rick and Shane. They're police officers. They're figures of authority. They're used to weapons. They're used to dealing with violence. And that is simply not the case with our core group.
“We get to experience the guilt that they feel over what they've had to do, but accepting that responsibility is really to keep themselves and their families alive,” she said.
And keeping his character Travis alive is one thing Curtis admits he worries about. “I like Travis. I think he's a really good stand up guy and I've always thought he was sort of least likely to survive the apocalypse (laughs),” he said.
“Compared to Rick, compared to Daryl (on The Walking Dead), compared to Salazar or Strand, Travis isn't likely to survive. He's a good guy, sure, but he just doesn't have a clue. He's clueless. His values in life, his morals, his sense of identity just doesn't allow for killing people whether they're infected or not infected. He's just not equipped for this world. I don't know that he's going to make it,” said Curtis.
“Look, if I'm going to keep having a job, Travis is going to evolve. I don't really think he's Rick material or Daryl material personally. I don't know what happens to a man like that when they've got to kill people that they love,” he said.
It's certainly likely that all the human and zombie danger does not bode well for one or more of the characters at some point during the second season, especially since several new characters are joining the show in recurring roles. After all, The Walking Dead does have a habit of killing off significant characters.
“I keep looking at the call sheet and wondering if my name's not going to be on it,” said Curtis with a laugh. “It is a perilous show and you just don't know. Travis is so far down the totem pole of survivalists. He's the idealist. He's the optimist. He's the guy who thinks he can fix stuff. He doesn't have the capacity of the other players. We're half way through the season and I still don't know what it is that they've got in store for Travis that's really going to revolutionize him to get up to speed with everybody else.
“We'll see. It's a fun ride. I think there's some really interesting things that we're going to explore in this show because we're not a comic book series and we're not obligated to the comics. I don't know exactly what's coming up but I get a sense that we're going to explore some very interesting territory. Going out to sea was a fantastic start to the season," said Curtis.
According to the busy Hurd – who has four shows on TV this year (including both Walking Deads, Syfy's Hunters and USA's upcoming horror series, Falling Water) – like the original Walking Dead, Fear's second season will continue to explore “the quest of, 'Is there anywhere safe,' and 'Who can you trust,' and 'What are the skills that you need to survive the zombie apocalypse,' and 'Can you maintain your humanity when the pressures begin to build.' But seeing that through an entirely new group of people. And encountering things you just don't encounter in The Walking Dead,” she said.
Like heading to sea, something Hurd is thrilled about.
“I've done shows in the water before like The Abyss and it's an opportunity to go back and revisit the world. I love the water. I love the ocean. I love the opportunity of showing what it's like. When fans kept saying, 'I would get on a boat,' the opportunity to show them one way that that could turn out is fantastic.”
Considering Hurd's glee about the boat thing, it's entirely possible it's a really, really bad idea, and one that Travis and some of his gang of survivors might have a really hard time making it out alive and into a third season.
Fear The Walking Dead will air on AMC on Sundays at 9 p.m. in a 15-episode season – which airs in two mini-seasons.
Here's a look at Season 2's Fear The Walking Dead: