Before their Madison Square Garden panel at New York Comic Con, the cast and crew of The Walking Dead spoke to press about Season 8. And regrets. And cookies.
Here’s what we learned from our zombie-fighting heroes.
Director Greg Nicotero, on how different Season 8 will be from previous seasons:
These have been the hardest episodes we’ve ever shot, because of the storytelling. We have been completing a lot of character’s storylines in one or two episodes, instead of playing out an entire season. It’s a very different way of telling stories. But the actors bring it.
Andrew Lincoln, on the pain his character Rick Grimes experienced in Season 7:
You have to go somewhere to get somewhere. [The writers] needed to break me down in order to come back stronger than ever before. They keep pushing and pulling and hurting [Rick] in fresh, unimaginable ways. I think they enjoy watching me cry.
Lincoln, on Rick’s shift in the upcoming Season 8:
He is ready for battle. I think Rick is like a shark, he needs to keep moving, otherwise he dies. “I’m willing to put everything on the line, but I will never bow before [Negan] again.” It’s a polar opposite [from Season 7]. I’m so happy to be playing that man and not last season’s Rick.
Katelyn Nacon, on her character Enid’s motto, JSS (Just Survive Somehow):
She started off in a place where it was getting by, just surviving in any way possible. It was just survive somehow. It changed when she met Glenn’s character. [He told her] We survive for those people who can’t anymore …
I think [her motto] JSS [has] a different meaning. It’s not just survive for herself. It’s “I need to survive somehow for these people.”
Creator Robert Kirkman, on scenes from the comic that didn’t appear in the TV show:
In the comic book Carl shot [Shane] and killed him, and Rick digs him up and puts him out of his misery. Burying [actor Jon] Bernthal would have been fun.
Melissa MacBride, on her character Carol’s thoughts as she heads into Season 8:
Fight. Revenge. Cookies.
Lennie James, on predicting who would survive the zombie apocalypse:
If you go back to the first season and look at who those characters were in the beginning, you would not have picked out Carol as the one most likely to survive, the one Morgan describes as our greatest warrior. If it all happened to us now, we don’t know what it could bring out of us.
Lincoln, on whether Rick would follow Maggie:
[Rick is] not a politician, he’s a general. He’s the sheriff’s deputy, that’s his DNA. That’s probably one of his strengths: He listens to people. He takes counsel. He usually ignores it.
Deanna spotted [Maggie] as a future political leader. She’s industrious. She’s loyal. She’s respected. She’s principled. Rick just wants it done.
Executive producer Gale Anne Hurd on the popularity of horror:
The show obviously deals with people’s fears. People are afraid of financial collapse, they're afraid of natural disasters. It’s the show that allows people to connect with those fears … [and see] the ethical choices that people are making and the consequences of those choices.
Hurd, on the popularity of The Walking Dead:
[The show is] equally popular in red and blue states.
Austin Amelio, on the intensity of Season 8:
It was the first time I had ever fallen asleep in my makeup chair, I was so exhausted. It’s going to be a crazy season.
Norman Reedus, on what his character Daryl regrets the most:
The good thing about this show is that there’s so many regrets, it make the characters seem all very human.
James, on what his character Morgan regrets the most:
That Morgan didn’t put a bullet in his wife’s head. That’s his big regret. He’d be a different man today if he loved his wife a little less, or loved her little more. [If he had killed her], his son would still be alive, and his heart would be a little less broken, and he’d be a different man.
Reedus, on the power of fandom:
I tweeted out a link about a person’s hospital bill. By the time I got home, [the fans] had raised all the money. I thought, I can do that?
Jeffrey Dean Morgan, on his character Negan:
Most people are taken aback by Negan’s charm. I think there’s some wisdom to him that this world needs.
The fans have been remarkably generous to me. I still get the occasional “We hate you … but we love to hate you.”
The Walking Dead returns to television for its eighth season on October 22, 2017.