Fear the Walking Dead's seventh season will officially rise from the grave on AMC Sunday, Oct. 17, co-showrunner/executive producer Ian Goldberg confirmed during Comic-Con@Home. He also announced that new episodes will drop early for subscribers of the AMC+ streaming service.
In terms of the narrative, Fear upended the status quo at the end of Season 6 with a number of nuclear detonations, which had major repercussions in Season 7. The human survivors now have two things that could lead to a horrible death: Walkers and radiation sickness.
"We were looking for a way to reinvent the show," said Goldberg's fellow showrunner/EP, Andrew Chambliss. "We're gonna reset everyone in terms of apocalypse survival. Everyone's kind of back to zero, having to learn how to do it all over again ... We are adding so many new elements. In many ways — from what we've shot so far — it feels like a new show."
Goldberg chimed in to tease "a big escalation" since we'll be returning to an irradiated slag heap. The producers stuck to their overall love of classic Westerns, but also looked to Mad Max and The Hills Have Eyes for inspiration when making the new season. Goldberg even mentioned two films that might surprise you: The Neverending Story and Darren Aronofsky's The Wrestler.
"We're dealing with multiple nuclear warheads that have detonated across the landscape," he continued. "It's gonna change everything. It's gonna change the Walkers; it'll change how our characters navigate the world outside, where in a lot of cases, the air is not breathable unless through a gas mask. Resources are gonna be more scarce and we'll also see that it's going to — as with any new apocalypse — bring about a whole new brand of human adversary that will challenge our group. It's a whole new world in a lot of different ways."
Chambliss and Goldberg's stage-setting was followed by an exclusive clip of Morgan Jones (played by Lennie James) comforting the baby he and Grace (Karen David) adopted last season in what looks to be a reinforced bunker. We then cut to a character walking outside, monitoring the radiation levels and walking past a trapped Walker whose flesh has been totally wrecked by the explosion.
"It's gonna take everybody by surprise," James said. "Luckily, Morgan happens to be having a relationship with someone who's a nuclear expert. We've got somebody on hand who, when he doesn't know what to do, can go, 'Don't do that, you idiot. You'll die.' That's kind of useful. Morgan and Grace were ready to call it a day based on the after-effects of these bombs dropping might bring with them. And then they heard the baby crying [so] now they have to live for that child and build a future for that child." A second clip showed June Dorie (Jenna Elfman) and John Dorie Sr. (Keith Carradine) heading into a bunker created by Teddy Maddox (John Glover). "Not only made by the man who destroyed the world, but was also made by the man who destroyed John Dorie's world a very long time ago when he became obsessed with putting Teddy away in jail," Chambliss said.
When asked about faces old and new, Chambliss admitted that Omid Abtahi and Sydney Lemmon will reprise their roles as Howard and Isabelle, respectively. Gus Halper is joining Season 7 as a brand-new character, but the showrunner refused to give up any more details. And while we're on the topic of spoilers, Walking Dead brand manager Scott M. Gimple decided to tackle a rather loaded question from moderator Chris Hadrwick about the mysterious Civil Republic Military (CRM).
"Each show has a different piece of the puzzle, but those pieces of the puzzle aren't just plot," explained Walking Dead brand boss, Scott M. Gimple. "They're personal stories for the characters that do advance aspects of the greater mythology. But the CRM stuff in Fear really has to do with a couple characters very deeply. Their situation, it bleeds out to other characters, but it's part of a personal and emotional story on this show. It just so happens, though, that it does give other information to the greater world in which they inhabit."
When asked if Fear will ever meet up with the flagship TWD series (coming up on its eleventh and final season), Gimple stated that "it's possible," while still noting that both shows are "pretty far away from each other right now."
Season 7 of Fear the Walking Dead debuts on AMC Sunday, Oct. 17 at 9 p.m. EST.
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