New York Comic Con 2012: ‘The Walking Dead’ Panel Report

At the beginning of this year’s panel for “The Walking Dead” at New York Comic Con, moderator and “Talking Dead” host, Chris Hardwick played a clip from tomorrow night’s third season premiere.

In an entirely dialogue-free sequence, we see Rick, Daryl, T-Dog and even Carl clear out the walkers inside of a house before ushering, Beth, Glenn, Carol, Hershel, Maggie and a very pregnant Lori inside. Without saying a word, Rick expresses his extreme displeasure with what they find in the house in a very gripping and intense way.

Following the clip, Hardwick brought “The Walking Dead” creator, Robert Kirkman on to the stage along with executive producer Gale Anne Hurd and series stars, Andrew Lincoln, Chandler Riggs, Norman Reedus, Danai Gurira, David Morrissey and Michael Rooker.

“I think everyone would agree after the way we ended the second season, backing off in any way and slowing the pace down would have been a mistake,” offered Kirkman when the cheers died down. “I think that this is something that showrunner, Glen Mazzara feels really strongly about. We kind of hit the ground running… and it just kind of goes from there. It’s just absolutely nonstop… We really come back in a big way and I’m really excited for all of you guys to see it.”

It was also noted that the third season premiere has more zombie kills than in the first season combined.

“It’s been pretty intense this season,” offered Lincoln. “I made the fatal error this year of going into the writers’ room and saying ‘what do you think Rick’s breaking point is?’ Well, that’s the worst thing I could have said. We find out this season. It’s been brutal, it’s been intense… Because we jump forward in time, you meet this group of people and they have evolved beyond all recognition.”

Lincoln also praised his young costar, Riggs for portraying a very different Carl this season.

“It’s really cool for me to play more of a dark character,” related Riggs. “It’s like playing two different characters. From season one to season three, you can definitely see the changes from that. And it’s really, really so much fun.”

There was an odd trend of very young fans asking Riggs questions about his character and Kirkman seemed a little taken aback by that before suggesting that they were perhaps too young to be watching his show or reading his comic. Reedus also drew a lot questions and applause from the fans for his character, Daryl Dixon.

“I think Daryl feels value in these people relying on him,” shared Reedus. “I think this is his new family and he’d do anything to keep them alive. He’s more sensitive and more aggressive at the same time.” Reedus even seemed to make Lincoln blush when he added that “Rick is sort of becoming the brother that [Daryl] lost.” Then Reedus revealed that a running gag between himself and Lincoln on the set involves Reedus whispering “love you” to Lincoln; to which Lincoln replies “f*** you.”

As one of the newcomers to the cast, Gurira expressed her admiration for the show and the cast before offering some insight into her character, Michonne.

“I think the moment that people go through when they become survivors… I think Michonne is a bit of a thriver,” related Gurira. “Getting from pre-apocalyptic world to post-apocalyptic world, whatever happens there is something where you do or you die. Her choice to ‘do’ was a very intense and powerful choice that allowed her to recreate herself into a formidable force in this realm. One that is not going to go down without a fight and figure out how to actually make the realm work in her favor. Or at least make sure she’s ahead of the game.”

Morrissey is the other main addition to the cast  for season three as the Governor, whom fans of “The Walking Dead” comic book series recognize as one of the most formidable adversaries to date. In crafting his take on the character, Morrissey cited Kirkman’s “The Rise of The Governor” novel as his starting point.

When asked by Hardwick if he sees the Governor as evil, Morrissey answered “It’s an interesting term, evil. Isn’t it? Depends upon what you want it to be. I don’t think whether anyone says that about themselves…. He runs a community called Woodbury and it’s a great place… if you abide by the rules.” Morrissey joking spoke about his admiration for the Governor; which earned laughter from the panel and the crowd.

Rooker was quiet when it came to specifics about the return of Merle Dixon after being absent since the third episode of the series. When asked to explain Merle’s appeal to the “Walking Dead’ fans, he said that his character is “a tough a**hole.”

During the question and answer session, Reedus was quizzed about Daryl’s burgeoning relationship with Carol. Reedus indicated that Daryl is not a romantic figure and he wouldn’t be the one to take the first step in that direction. This led to perhaps the funniest line of the panel: “It’s love, man! Not an owl you can shoot.”

“The Walking Dead” season 3 returns to AMC on Sunday, October 14.