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Last week, AMC's Fear the Walking Dead bade farewell to longtime cast member Alycia Debnam-Carey ahead of last night's Season 7 finale. But when one undead door closes, another one opens. That's how the saying goes, right?
While Debnam-Carey exited the proverbial stage left, the series brought back another fan-favorite character in the form of Kim Dickens' Madison Clark, who was thought to have perished in a baseball stadium fire all the way back in Season 4. "It's something that we will be unpacking," co-showrunner Ian Goldberg told Entertainment Weekly when pressed for details of Madison's miraculous survival. Also chatting with EW for a separate post-finale breakdown, Dickens admitted that she did not go back and watch any old Fear episodes to prepare for her return.
"The Walking Dead universe, it's not in like other universes, like Marvel, where these certain characters will show up in different films," the actress explained. "I kind of felt like I'd been gone a while and it was a different show and that I was going back to a new show. As long as I knew my character and I felt they were writing truthfully, I just show up and be in this other show. When I did show up, my day one, it was pretty nostalgic and there were some familiar faces, but I was pretty much alone that first day, character-wise. But then, an hour or so in, it was like, 'Oh yeah.' It's like riding a bike."
Madison — who decided to start kidnapping babies on behalf of the shady organization known as P.A.D.R.E. — seemed to come to her senses in the final episode of Season 7 when she agrees to help Morgan Jones (Lennie James) rescue his own infant child, Mo.
This long-awaited team-up between two characters that never got a chance to spar in previous seasons was "a lot of fun," according to co-showrunner Andrew Chambliss. "Because I think these are two characters who are incredibly iconic within the Walking Dead universe. They were on screen in the same episodes in season 4, but they never actually met. And it was a lot of fun to put them together, but to put them together in a way that was antagonistic."
"To come back in this way, with these two characters, coming back in an antagonistic way, it was really kind of fiery and explosive," Dickens added. "There's no greater scene partner than Lennie James, because we just had to jump in. My first fight back was with Morgan. No better hands to be in than Lennie James though. Through the action and the sadness — everything was great. I told him 'Look, my favorite scenes are when Morgan has to carry all of Madison's props,' because I had like six props this time. He's such a great guy and an amazing talent."
Season 8 of Fear the Walking Dead is scheduled to kick off production this summer with the story moving to Savannah, Georgia for a wetter change of pace. "We end the season with Morgan and Madison going out to a boat," Chambliss said. "So I think it's safe to say that Season 8 will have a very different environment from what we have seen before. And it will, in many ways, be centered around the water."
"The other thing I could just say in conjunction with moving to Savannah, we always talk about doing reinventions on the show every season," Goldberg continued. "This will be one of the biggest reinventions we've done. We'll be introducing P.A.D.R.E., and kind of seeing that for what it is, removing the location. But the circumstances in which we find the characters is, we hope, going to be very surprising for everyone. It's a big change."
Per Dickens, both showrunners provided her with a general rundown of what to expect in the forthcoming episodes:
"They were generous in giving me this sort of plan. I'm excited to do it and see what other predicaments they're going to put Madison in. I look forward to working with some of the new characters. I haven't worked with Dwight [Austin Amelio] and Sherry [Christine Evangelista] and Grace [Karen David]]. I look forward to seeing the old gang as well. Danay [Garcia] and Ruben [Blades], I haven't seen in forever, and Jenna [Elfman] and Lennie, of course. It's going to be exciting. I think it's going to be a great season."
All 16 episodes of Fear the Walking Dead Season 7 are now streaming on AMC+.
If you're looking to satisfy your zombie craving immediately, head over to Peacock and check out the movie that kickstarted the entire genre: George A. Romero's Night of the Living Dead. If you're looking' for more horror, the Firestarter remake is in theaters and streaming on Peacock now.