Lauren and her Walking Dead cast mates attended Paley Fest last night to talk about the remainder of Season 7 and upcoming Season 8. Below is a link to the pictures from the event. I’ll be adding more tomorrow when I get them!:
‘The Walking Dead’ Cast & Creatives On Dream Deaths For Beloved Characters And “The Epic Tale To Come” – PaleyFest
DEADLINE – At the Dolby Theatre tonight, just two weeks after the Oscars’ envelope fiasco rocked the same room, a raucous crowd gathered on opening night of PaleyFest to greet the cast and creatives behind AMC’s The Walking Dead.
While Danai Gurira and baseball bat-wielding Jeffrey Dean Morgan were notable absences this evening, on hand for the panel were stars Andrew Lincoln, Melissa McBride, Josh McDermitt, Lauren Cohan, Sonequa Martin-Green, Alanna Masterson, Christian Serratos, Seth Gilliam, Ross Marquand, Austin Amelio and Tom Payne.
Also present were executive producers Scott M. Gimple, Greg Nicotero, David Alpert and Robert Kirkman, the latter of whom wrote the comic books on which the series is based. And while the EPs held their cards close to their chest throughout the spoiler-free evening, with the Season 7 finale of The Walking Dead fast approaching, Gimble did take a moment to reflect on where the series is heading.
“[The future of the series] focuses on Eugene’s shorts,” the showrunner joked. “No, the end of this season is very much the end of a chapter. It’s very much a conclusion that promises this gigantic, epic tale to come.” Gimple noted that the first episode of Season 8 will also mark the 100th episode of The Walking Dead, a revelation that drew big applause from the crowd.
“The first episode [of Season 8] is, I think, less about [the fact] that we reached 100 episodes; it’s more about setting up the next 100 episodes,” he said.
Throughout the 90-minute conversation, the’ cast shared anecdotes from production, reflecting on their character arcs and the brutal situations the survivors now find themselves in, as Morgan’s Negan looms large. McDermitt discussed Eugene’s “cockroach”-like survival impulses; Cohan discussed Maggie’s reaction to Glenn’s death, and the life inside her that drives her on; and Masterson recalled jumping back into action-packed Atlanta days shortly after giving birth.
While not included in PaleyFest’s initial cast announcement for the panel, Martin-Green was also on hand to discuss her journey with the series. In December, she was cast as Lt. Cmdr Rainsford in CBS All Access’ series Star Trek: Discovery, leading to speculation about her future on The Walking Dead and the potential for her character to be among those next meeting their maker. Featured prominently in an extended sneak peek at upcoming episodes, her comments left fans no reason not to speculate.
“What is it, if not a miracle, just to be a part of this experience, this world, this story, this family, this extended family?” she said. “It’s been truly phenomenal to dig deeper and deeper into the story as I’ve been on the show. For me as Sasha, I feel that all roads have led here.”
Among the sprawling TWD ensemble, the MVP of the night was Lincoln, who had the audience in the palm of his hands while plotting out the way he’d like to see Sheriff Rick Grimes die—getting bit by walkers, patching himself up like the true survivalist he is, and simply refusing to die. “Holy sh*t. Maybe I’m the cure,” Lincoln joked.
Following the panel, fans amassed like herds of walkers at the foot of the stage, much to festival planners’ chagrin.
The Walking Dead: PaleyFest Panel Recap
The panel is kicked off with a highlight reel of The Walking Dead’s seventh season. Scenes which see Rick teling Maggie he is ready to fight, the junkyard gang surrounding his group, Carol and Daryl reuniting, Eugene taking charge in the Sanctuary, Rick and Michonne killing nine walkers, and Morgan telling King Ezekiel about Richard’s plan round out the footage.
On hand: Melissa McBride, Andrew Lincoln, Seth Gilliam, Ross Marquand, Tom Payne, Lauren Cohan, Sonequa Martin-Green, Alanna Masterson, Josh McDermitt, Christian Serratos, Austin Amelio, Robert Kirkman, Greg Nicotero, Scott Gimple, and David Alpert.
The panel begins with Scott Gimple talking about the ground the season has covered. “The first episode was traumatic, for you guys, and for everybody here. My mother. And to get from that point to a point where these characters can smile again, now granted that smile is about the prospect of kicking maybe his ass, and I mean Austin [Ameilo],” Gimple said. “It was seeing these people come alive again and earning the place where they are now.
The moderator wants to talk about Negan actor Jeffrey Dean Morgan.
“We had Jeffrey for two nights during 6×16,” Gimple said. “Jeffrey had to come out in front of several kneeling cast members and deliver and enormous dialogue that Robert [Kirkman] generously wrote.” They knew after the first takes that he was one with the cast.
“We have an amazing cast, as you all know,” Nicotero said. “When Jeffrey came on set, he had 12 pages of dialogue.” He goes on to point out that some cast members were fans of the show prior to joining as a character and they’ll get excited to Rick Grimes.
Kirkman says he is most impressed by Morgan’s ability to make Negan, such an evil character, likeable.
Greg recalls reading Glenn’s death in the comic for the first time. “It really easy the situations and the things that just, it broke my heart when I saw that, and I thought, ‘God, I hate to imagine being the guy who shoots that scene.'” He jokes that he ended up shooting it. The darkest panels in Kirkman and Charlie Adlard’s comics are what have haunted him the most.
“I remember shooting one particular take of Steven [Yeun] and I sent it to Robert and he responded, ‘You’re f—ed up!'” Nicotero said.
“I love Steven! And I’m like, ‘Oh, it Greg, sending me pictures of my dead friend!'” Kirkman said.