With the cast and crew of AMC's The Walking Dead already in a deep-dive production-wise on the tenth season, life in the Walking Dead universe has become a lot like the NFL: neither of them have off-seasons anymore. Season 9 said goodbye to Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and hello to a strong ensemble cast (and a "Big Bad" fronted by the amazing Samantha Morton in an award-earning turn as Whisperers leader Alpha). In doing so, series executive producer and showrunner Angela Kang did the near-impossible: found a way to make the show feel fresh and dangerous again.
Meanwhile, spinoff Fear the Walking Dead charged into a fifth season with Austin Amelio's Dwight and a storyline tying directly with the upcoming Rick Grimes film trilogy. Reports that the second Walking Dead spinoff series (co-created by TWD CCO Scott M. Gimple and showrunner Matt Negrete) had started were officially confirmed. Then there's Entertainment Weekly and their continuing "road of reveals" leading into Comic-Con International: San Diego (SDCC) that revealed comic book character Dante's transition to the small screen and an active effort to bring Lauren Cohan (Maggie) back to the Walking Dead universe.
Well, Kang and EW are back at "The Exclusive Game" once again – this time offering up some scoops/teasers about the season overall:
● Season 10 begins a few months after last season ended, noted by the fact that Rosita's (Christian Serratos) pregnancy status "has changed" – as well as some other suprising turns:
"A little time has passed. They've been living with some of the Whisperers' rules, and we'll see that some things have changed and some people have done some unexpected things in the time that has passed to deal with the trauma at the end of last season."
● Biggest themes for the upcoming season? Propaganda, paranoia, and PTSD:
"There's a lot of brinkmanship and things like that, because the Whisperers are so different. Alpha pulled her big move on our people by being in disguise and sneaking around in the middle of a fair. It's just open for all to see, and somehow nabbing these people. That's a very different way of operating than any of the other people that they've had to deal with, really. So we've been having a lot of fun playing with that feel for the season.
We're dealing with a lot of things also to do with people's trauma, and the idea of what is real or not real. Things having to do with illusion, or just memory breaking, PTSD. So there's a lot of stuff that we're doing that's pretty unique to the feel of this season."
● Viewers should also prepare for warfare that will be quite a bit different from the battle with the Saviors. First off, guns aren't going to be as much a factor as they used to be – a situation that Kang reveals has led to some "fun" ways of redefining warfare:
"We're also having a lot of fun with the fact that the last time our people were in a war, it was automatic weapons and gunfire, but we're just not really in that period of time anymore. So we're working on some battle stuff that is unlike anything we've done on the show, which I'm super-excited about. [Director and executive producer Greg Nicotero] has been in rehearsals for some stuff we're about to shoot that I think is pretty cool."
● Things won't be too rosy on the other side of the conflict, either. As we learn more about The Whisperers and their backstory, viewers will also learn that Alpha and Beta (Ryan Hurst) have their own internal issues to deal with. Kang also implied that our heroes may not have been as "unobserved" crossing into The Whisperers' territory last season as they first thought – and that the concept of "borders" will be a major factor:
"There are some pretty strange and interesting things that happen around that story having to do with those lines, and whether you can cross them, and what happens when you're caught. And of course, Samantha Morton as Alpha, and Ryan Hurst as Beta — they are so great. We love them as people, and as performers I think they bring so much to those roles. So I'm really, really excited for the audience to see what they're bringing to this season because there's much more to explore with them."
"The Walking Dead" returns to SDCC's Hall H on Friday, July 19, from 1 pm-2 pm. Joining Cudlitz for the event are cast members Norman Reedus, Melissa McBride, Danai Gurira, Ryan Hurst, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Avi Nash, Nadia Hilker, Eleanor Matsuura, and Cailey Fleming, along with Gimple, Kang, executive producers Robert Kirkman, David Alpert, Gale Anne Hurd, and Greg Nicotero. The panel will be moderated by Talking Dead host Chris Hardwick.
Also, Skybound confirmed earlier reporting that the second The Walking Dead spinoff series (co-created by TWD CCO Scott M. Gimple and showrunner Matt Negrete) has cast Alexa Mansour (Madame Secretary), Nicolas Cantu (The Good Place), and Hal Cumpston (Bilched) to star in the next chapter of the Walking Dead universe, which follows two female protagonists with a focus on the first generation to come-of-age in the zombie apocalypse.
Mansour's character is a good-natured rule breaker who lives for today. She is likable and funny on the outside but sad on the inside. Cantu's character is small for his age in addition to being friendly and an old soul. He also has a black belt in karate. Cumpston's character is big for his age. He is a shy loner that scares some kids, but he hates the fact that he scares people.
AMC's "The Walking Dead" Season 10
Speaking of the upcoming tenth season, as Lincoln assumes the helm on an episode for the first time while speculation over just how much of a role Michonne will have this season continues to grow. Of course, there's continued buzz over Lauren Cohan's Maggie returning in some capacity – especially now that ABC's Whiskey Cavalier appears to have shuffled off the programming coil and still hasn't found a home.
As we mentioned earlier, Cudlitz is back this season to direct – and an earlier post with Cailey Fleming (Judith) melted our hearts and reminded us that we do – in fact – have the capacity to feel. Cudlitz then followed-up that post with an image that got arenaline raging as he joined Norman Reedus (Daryl) and Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Negan) to reassure fans that "these fuckers are killin' it" in his episode:
The Walking Dead is expected to return to AMC in October 2019, with filming currently underway. Fear the Walking Dead currently airs on Sunday nights at 9 p.m. ET, with production on the second spinoff series currently underway in Virginia.
Heading into season 5 of Fear the Walking Dead, the group's mission is clear: locate survivors and help make what's left of the world a slightly better place. With dogged determination, Morgan Jones leads the group with a philosophy rooted in benevolence, community and hope. Each character believes that helping others will allow them to make up for the wrongs of their pasts.
But trust won't be easily earned. Their mission of helping others will be put to the ultimate test when our group finds themselves in unchartered territory, one which will force them to face not just their pasts but also their fears. It is only through facing those fears that the group will discover an entirely new way to live, one that will leave them forever changed.