While the cast and crew of AMC's The Walking Dead roll along with their deep-dive production-wise on the tenth season, life in the Walking Dead universe has become a lot like the NFL: neither have off-seasons anymore. With a strong ensemble cast (and a "Big Bad" fronted by Samantha Morton in an award-earning turn as Whisperers leader Alpha) and richly layered writing, Angela Kang did the near-impossible: made the show feel fresh and dangerous again.
Speaking of Kang, the series EP/showrunner sat down with Entertainment Weekly to discuss what the season's future holds for series favorites Daryl (Norman Reedus) and Carol (Melissa McBride). Spoiler? Fans will be getting a lot of "Caryl" – "both together in stories as well as pursuing their own paths." Here's a look at some of the highlights:
● For Carol, the road to mourning the loss of Henry will lead her down a dark path to Alpha – a journey that leaves Daryl questioning his role in his friend's life:
"Carol will be surprisingly not exactly in the same place she was emotionally when we ended last season. The child that she adopted and raised into teenager-hood died at the hands of Alpha and that crushed her. And we'll see what that does to her over the course of the season as she's pursuing revenge against this person."
● Even through their trials and tribulations, Kang sees the pair as something that lasts: "This is one of the strongest relationships in the show. They trust each other, they love each other, they are truly best friends."
● As for whether or not their relationship moves into more serious territory, Kang reassures fans that their bond will remain strong:
"They have just this special bond. They both came from trauma and from nothing. There's some really deep stuff between them. There's funny stuff and then there's stuff that gets pretty hairy. They're just kind of on this adventure together."
● Having worked together since the the series' beginnings, Reedus and McBride continue to add layers to their time on screen:
"I love the two of them together. They're so good together. There are certain character pairings because we've been following them for so long where they're in a scene and you immediately feel the history between those characters. That's one of the things that's been really fun for us on the writing and producing side to see. Anytime you put those two in a scene, you immediately feel all the weight of the things that they've both been through as individuals and as a pairing over the years. There's just some really beautiful stuff between them."
Previously, Kang and AMC offered fans these additional looks behind-the-scenes at the season's production:
With the long-running series set to return on Sunday, October 6, fans have been treated to several behind-the-scenes clips, some incredibly creepy teasers courtesy of Alpha, Beta (Ryan Hurst), and the Whisperers, and very cool "PSAs" starring Judith Grimes (Caitlyn Fleming) and "Dr." Eugene Porter (Josh McDermitt). Hell, we even have Connie (Lauren Ridloff), Yumiko (Eleanor Matsuura), and Magna's (Nadia Hilker) "counter-argument" to The Whisperers – and then the rest of our heroes joined the cause.
Kang and crew gave us another look at the upcoming season recently, with the following teaser showing the community struggling between abiding by their deal with The Whisperers and going to war with them – even as Alpha's crew continues to watch… and learn…
On The Walking Dead Season 10 Preview Special, host Chris Hardwick was joined by Kang, Khary Payton, and McDermitt to discuss the upcoming season – and here are some of the highlights:
● Rosita's (Christian Serratos) baby girl's name is "Coco" – based on Serratos' family name, with McDermitt revealing that he has a lot of scenes with the baby (images here).
● In a taped segment, the cast and creative were asked to describe the upcoming season in three words:
Norman Reedus: panicky, claustrophopbic, pressurized
Danai Gurira: riveting, unpredictable, transforming
Ross Marquand: no, more, mrniceguy
Caitlyn Fleming: exciting, unexpected, fantastic
Morton: heart-stopping, unbelieveavable, incredible
Greg Nicotero: watch, your, back
● While Kang hints at a possible redemption arc for Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), she points out that fans shouldn't expect to see his "edge" go away.
● Kang had some sweet words for "Caryl" shippers out there: in season 10, there will be "a ton of Carol and Daryl this season"
● In a video segment, Reedus reveals that Daryl will be much more of a group leader this season, taking a more hands-on approach while looking to hold the group together.
● In a video segment, Melissa McBride says Carol will be feeling "isolated" after last season's losses, and fans should expect Carol to do some "unexpected" thing.
● Kang says, "We're going to see some Carol-Alpha, and it's going to be awesome" – teasing an "epic" scene between Carol and Morton's "big bad" that she had in mind at the moment but couldn't give details on.
● In a video segment, Cassady McClincy talks about how we're going to see a more "badass" Lydia this season, as she learns to use a staff as her weapon (similar to Lennie James' Morgan).
● Morton says we get to see more of Alpha's "humanity" and a better understand of how the Whisperers opperate and how one can easilt become a Whisperer – emphasizing the importance of it coming from a female perpspective.
● Kang reveals that we will learn more backstory on Alpha and Beta, giving us a better sense of how their dynamic got to be the way they are.
● McDermitt says Eugene doesn't "understand" Siddiq (Avi Nash) and doesn't necessarily like/trust him.
● Gurira says Michonne will be juggling her responsibilities as community leader – especially in light of the threat that the Whisperers pose – with her time as mother, especially as Judith (Fleming) gets older and comes into her own.
● Kang, Payton, and McDermitt contributed some major money to a Talking Dead-created "swear jar" for Fleming – with some foul-mouthed but sage advice from McDermitt.
● Kang says the storyline for Michonne this season (as they plan her exit) has been the most difficult one to map out, hopes fans appreciate the "pretty cool journey" they have planned for Gurira.
● Nicoteto emphasizes the "Cold War" paranoia permeating this season, as fear and paranoia grow on both sides.
● In the special clip, Daryl is questioning why Carol hasn't been in contact – alluding to the fact that he thinks Carol has been looking for Alpha. She says she hasn't (though we don't believe here) – and we get a Maggie (Lauren Cohan) reference: looks like the letters haven't been flowing from her any time recent.
● Final queston to Kang had to do with Michonne holding Lucille in the season's trailer: "It's Michonne. She has Lucille." – teasing how "different" she looks with it in the trailer. Hmmm…
Leading up to Comic-Con International: San Diego (SDCC) in July, – we learned: comic book character Dante (played by Snowfall star Juan Javier Cardenas) will transition to the small screen; efforts are underway to bring Lauren Cohan (Maggie) back; big themes for this season will be propaganda, paranoia, and PTSD; Michonne's (Danai Gurira) in a "hot" situation in the season's first official image; Negan's (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) possible future; Eugene's (McDermitt) connection to that mysterious voice on the radio at the end of last season; and that Lincoln will not direct an episode this season.
Post-SDCC, there were a ton of teases and news (and a sad announcement, which you can check out here) – including the start of a series of weekly reveals that began with a first look at American Beauty star Thora Birch in the role of Gamma, a Whisperer who is fiercely protective of Alpha. This week, AMC and Skybound offered a look at the second addition to the cast: Kevin Carroll's Virgil – highly intelligent, resourceful, and desperately trying to get home to his family. This season will also see Sydney Park return as Oceanside's Cyndie.
Here's our first official trailer for the upcoming tenth season as well as an overview of what we can expect when the series returns. As the war between our heroes and The Whisperers escalates, both sides must deal with issues of trust and fear from within…
The Walking Dead is a story that started 10 years ago with one man trying to find his family. That family grew and gradually communities took shape. They fought and survived, thrived and gave birth to a new generation. It is a tale of humankind and there are more stories to tell.
It is now Spring, a few months after the end of Season 9, when our group of survivors dared to cross into Whisperer territory during the harsh winter. The collected communities are still dealing with the after effects of Alpha's horrific display of power, reluctantly respecting the new borderlines being imposed on them, all while organizing themselves into a militia-style fighting force, preparing for a battle that may be unavoidable.
But the Whisperers are a threat unlike any they have ever faced. Backed by a massive horde of the dead it is seemingly a fight they cannot win. The question of what to do and the fear it breeds will infect the communities and give rise to paranoia, propaganda, secret agendas, and infighting that will test them as individuals and as a society. The very idea of whether civilization can survive in a world filled with the dead hangs in the balance.