Fear the Walking Dead returns for the second half of its fourth season this weekend. When we last left our heroes, they had experienced a great deal of loss and heartbreak. Nick died, and Madison gave her own life to save her children. The Vultures ravaged the Stadium, leaving Strand, Alicia, and Luciana scared and angry and looking for revenge. John is finally reunited with his love, Laura, who the stadium people know as Naomi, but who is actually June. And Morgan finally seems to be ready to be with people again.
As Episode 408 came to a close, Strand, Alicia, Luciana, John, June, Morgan, Al, and Charlie all seemed to be getting pretty chummy -- or at least accepted that there were worse people to be stuck with. How long will that last?
Ahead of the premiere of the back half of Season 4, we spoke to Fear the Walking Dead showrunners Andrew Chambliss and Ian Goldberg on what we can look forward to in the upcoming episodes.
How has Fear the Walking Dead changed now that Madison is dead?
Ian: The first half of this season was really about a philosophy that Madison had come to live by and to instill in everyone around her. We saw in 408 just how much that philosophy meant to her, that she was willing to sacrifice her life. The back half of this season is going to be about how that sacrifice and how that philosophy continues forward with the people who survived her. This legacy of hope and optimism and light in an often bleak world. It's not always going to be easy. There will be constant challenges to keeping that philosophy going, but it's something that our characters are going to be very committed to doing.
Is there someone who is going to take over as the new "lead" of the show, or will the group be fractured?
Andrew: The back half of this season has all of our characters asking themselves that question. "What do we do to move forward? Who are we to each other? How can we come back from all these really dark things we did?" We really view this as an ensemble show, and we're going to be telling stories throughout the back half of the season that will focus on different characters grappling with those existential questions in different ways, against the backdrop of a storm that makes asking those questions all the more difficult for them. It's really going to be finding all these characters who, at the end of the midseason finale, were sitting around a campfire, seemingly together, really asking themselves what is it that holds them together now that they've put revenge behind them, now that they no longer have Madison as the leader of the stadium. It's really asking all those questions and seeing that drama play out on screen.
Can you talk about the process of coming up with unique walker kills?
Ian: One of the great challenges of working in The Walking Dead universe is that The Walking Dead is going into its ninth season; Fear is in its fourth. There have been a lot of really great walker gags, walker kills, over the course of all those episodes. So challenge #1 is to come up with things that have not been done before. In our case, we are lucky that we moved locations this year. We're now in Austin, Texas. The geography informs a lot of it now. For example, in our location scouting early on, we came across a water park and instantly thought, "Haven't seen that on The Walking Dead before." Instantly, the idea for doing algae-covered walkers in a water park seemed like pretty fertile ground.
Are there any sets or locations that you have in mind, that you are looking for?
Ian: Many. We dare not spoil them now, because some of them are in the back half of this season.
How often do you guys collaborate with the team on The Walking Dead? Do you make sure there isn't a lot of crossover between storylines and locations, or are you pretty autonomous?
Andrew: We work together to make sure the stories we are telling are distinct from one another and we are not repeating things that have been done. Scott Gimple, who is now overseeing the entire Walking Dead universe, is a big help in that. He will let us know if there is stuff coming up on The Walking Dead, even just ideas they are working on down the line, or vice versa. Ian and I will talk to Angela Kang [showrunner of The Walking Dead], and we read scripts for each other's shows. We are definitely aware of what the other is doing. At the end of the day, we just want to tell the best stories, but have them be distinct and have each show have its own identity, even though they take place in the same universe.
Any plan to have the two shows cross over or overlap in a more significant way?
Ian: We're really just focused on telling our stories on Fear the Walking Dead. It's a big universe, and certainly anything is possible. More crossovers could happen, but that could be someone else from The Walking Dead universe... it could be someone from the past on Fear the Walking Dead. That's one of the exciting things about working in this world and universe. It is ever-expanding, and the possibilities continue to grow and grow for who might pop up.
Any chance there will be a third Walking Dead show in the universe?
Ian: That is more a question for Scott. We're really just focused on making Fear the Walking Dead as good as we can. We obviously are hopeful. The more Walking Dead out there the better, but really, we can only speak for Fear.
Fear the Walking Dead returns to AMC on August 12.