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SYFY WIRE The Walking Dead

The Walking Dead cast talks Red Wedding/The Fair comparison at PaleyFest

By Adam Pockross
lauren ridloff eleanor matsuura the walking dead

With The Walking Dead’s own social account dropping a Red Wedding teaser for Season 9's penultimate episode, we were awfully intrigued about such a comparison. So while some of the cast walked the blue carpet for tonight’s PaleyFest panel in Hollywood, we thought we’d find out if Game of Thrones' most shocking episode is truly an appropriate reference for Sunday's "The Calm Before."

“Such a crafty question,” Eleanor Matsuura (Yumiko) told SYFY WIRE, playing coy. “It is appropriate, because a fair happens, and a fair is a big event like a wedding … so I guess that’s similar … literally, I can’t say anything.”

With secrecy at a premium per usual (with both shows), that’s probably the answer we should have expected. Still, we persisted in that line of questioning with Ryan Hurst (Beta), who not only confirmed that his character is very much alive after that brawl with Daryl in last week's "Scars" episode, but also gave us just a bit more to chew on about that Red Wedding tease: “Well, if you read the comic, you know that there is some death that is going to happen on the show at some point. That’s about as much as I can tell you.”

Okay, perhaps death on TWD isn’t exactly surprising. But would Hurst say the death toll is higher or lower than on Game of Thrones? “It’s a solid tie,” he said with pride.

Lauren Ridloff, who plays slingshot-wielding Connie, also thinks the Red Wedding is an appropriate tease. “As you know, the Red Wedding for Game of Thrones was huge, so I think the Fair of this episode is going to be huge as well, so I think that’s a good teaser,” she said through an interpreter.

Keep in mind, the Red Wedding, aka "The Rains of Castamere," is one of the most shocking episodes of television ever created. So does living up to that comparison make Ridloff feel the pressure? “No, I'm feeling pretty confident," she said. "We have our own story to tell, and I think fans are going to really appreciate the huge story that is going to be coming.”

Part of that story will include big things for Matsuura’s Yumiko. “Actually, in the next couple of episodes, I do think that Yumiko does go through massive changes. I don’t want to give away too much, but I know that since we joined at Episode 5 to where we are at the moment with Yumiko, she’s already been through so much,” said Matsuura. “I think it’s okay to say that I go off on a bit of an excursion in this upcoming episode. I physically go on a journey, but also emotionally, Yumiko is in a very different place by the end of the episode.”

After the carpet, Ridloff, Hurst, Matsuura, Norman Reedus (Daryl), Christian Serratos (Rosita), and showrunner Angela Kang stepped inside the historic Dolby Theater for a panel discussion, moderated, of course, by Talking Dead host Chris Hardwick.

Reedus addressed how much his role has changed over the years. “I’ve seen so many people on the show come and go,” said Reedus. “And right now on the show, those ghosts of all those guys are with me, like every single scene.”

As a result of such loss, particularly that of Andrew Lincoln, Reedus said, “The weight of Darryl, he’s gotten wiser. ...  The hole that I was left with. I was like, ‘Dude.’ But I remember I was talking to Angela: I was like, ‘Don’t give me Rick Grime speeches.’ Daryl’s not the guy who’s going to build a soapbox and say, ‘We’re gonna build a community!’ He’s just not that guy. ... She’s done such a good job of keeping Daryl Daryl, which I’m super grateful for."

So yeah, Andrew Lincoln is still very much a presence. Even with all the buzz about the new characters, new foes, and new fairs, the set still feels him “massively,” said Matsuura, who arrived the same show that Rick left.

“Really, I’ve ever only known the show without him there. Which is so strange, because you know, he is so much of THE show," Matsuura told SYFY WIRE. "You feel him around in the storylines, the characters, and the crew – the way they talk about him – he’s there. His presence is felt in the best possible way. His legacy lives on.”

The Walking Dead also lives on when it returns Sunday to AMC for its second-to-last episode of Season 9, likely with plenty of blood to spare.