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 have off-seasons anymore. Last season bid farewell to Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and hello to a strong ensemble cast (and a "Big Bad" fronted by Samantha Morton in an award-earning turn as Whisperers leader Alpha). In doing so, series EP/showrunner Angela Kang did the near-impossible: made 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.
Entertainment Weekly is running daily reveals leading up to Comic-Con International: San Diego (SDCC) and so far we've learned: comic book character Dante will transition to the small screen; efforts are underway to bring Lauren Cohan (Maggie) back to the Walking Dead universe; the big themes for this season will be propaganda, paranoia, and PTSD; and Michonne (Danai Gurira) finds herself in a "hot" situation in the season's first official image.
Today? Kang is discussing the fate of Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) with Entertainment Weekly – and the possibility of the wicked bat-wielder getting his freedom this season. To play "Devil's Advocate," Negan did rescue Judith and has spent a righteous amount of time in prison, sooo…
"We had a whole year with him in his cell, so I think after his heroic rescue of Judith, people might've noticed that when he was in that bed in the infirmary, he was not tied up or cuffed. So we're dealing with the next stage of what things are for Negan. I think for people who have been wanting us to release the Negan, there will be some satisfaction there."
While Negan's story is one of Kang's "personal favorites" this season, she's quick to reassure viewers that a free Negan does not mean a "kinder, softer" Negan:
"Things get complicated, because it's Negan. Some of the stuff [Jeffrey Dean Morgan] is doing is so compelling, because here's this guy who has been on a path of trying to redeem himself in some way, but he's still Negan. He's not the hero. He's, at best, an antihero, but there's definitely darkness and an edge to him."
So will Negan play a role in the war against Alpha and The Whisperers? Kang's tease has our Magic 8 Ball showing "Yes":
"When that is in the mix with a story having to do with this new set of enemies, and when he himself still is an outsider in the community, just a lot of explosive things are at play."
"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.
From what we're hearing, there might be a surprise appearance or two – possibly from the names below…
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.