The Walking Dead Panel closed out New York Comic-Con Saturday night at the Hulu Theater at MSG, and it was bittersweet, as it was Andrew Lincoln‘s last one as Rick Grimes, as this is his last season as the popular character. Chris Hardwick (The Talking Dead) moderated, and after a bunch of amazing trailers and The Walking Dead commercials, he introduced the dazzling cast and crew: new showrunner Angela Kang, Scott Gimple, co-creator Robert Kirkman, producer Dave Alpert, executive producer Gale Ann Hurd, producer and director Greg Nicotero, stars Andrew Lincoln (Rick), Norman Reedus (Daryl), Melissa McBride (Carol), Danai Gurira (Michonne), and Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Negan).
Fans got a lot of reveals as well as the promise of the first few minutes of the episode at the end, but it was mainly an Andrew Lincoln love-fest (as well it should be).
Rpbert Kirkman spoke about how when he first saw Andrew talking to Steven Yeun one time, and seeing this world come to life was absolutely moving and unnerving. And that was something that has never really gone away. Seeing everything that Lincoln has been able to do, the work… He accused Hardwick of trying to make him cry, and said it’s tough when people leave the show. He joked, “How about we just not kill someone for an entire season?” And then said, “I love you, Andy.”
Lincoln replied, “I love you, too.”
Hardwick asked Dave Alpert for a favorite Rick Grimes moment. Alpert responded with the first episode of Rick riding a horse and seeing the horror of Atlanta and how surprised he is, and then in season 4 when he is leading the swat team completely transformed… tougher, wilder.
Hurd’s favorite is that Lincoln lied to her for years about not liking soccer when he really did – Manchester United.
Nicotera Loved directing Lincoln for his enthusiasm and intensity.
Lincoln talked about his last day on set – he pulled the set down on top of the cameraman and his toe was tickled so it was very unprofessional, but amazing.
Some other details:
– Norman Reedus wins at pranks.
– Melissa McBride did a lot of squats and stretches because of the horseback riding.
– There are more words coming out of Michonne’s mouth this season. It’s more meaty.
– Audience voted on favorite scene – episode 4.16 when Rick calls Daryl his brother.
– Feels more like a Western.
– There’s a whole different side of Negan this year. Jeffrey Dean Morgan hopes it’s redeemable.
– Lincoln taught Reedus how to surf in Costa Rica.
And… Confirmed! Jon Bernthal, Scott Wilson (RIP), and Sonequa Martin-Green will make appearances in season nine, as well as… the Whisperers are coming.
After a brief Q&A they gifted the fans with the series premiere, under the promise of death if one spoiler got leaked.
The Walking Dead 9.1 “A New Beginning” airs tonight at 9:00pm ET on AMC.