Comic-Con 2013: The Walking Dead Will Fear the Unknown

By Tim Surette

Jul 20, 2013

The cast of The Walking Dead are like the rock stars of Comic-Con. They travel in a huge pack, they're followed by a large security detail, and fans flock to them with pens in hopes of snagging an autograph, rather than just gawking from a distance. I wouldn't be surprised if their hotel rooms don't have televisions and there's a pile of ash where the bed used to be. But you know what else? They're cool. 

And so it was with humor that we took the limited amount of information they could give us during their press room at Comic-Con. Yes, they've already filmed a large chunk of the upcoming Season 4 (debuting October 13), but the season is so shrouded in secrecy that more than half of their answers were some variation of, "I don't think we can talk about that," "We're not going to tell you," or "You know I can't answer that." Fine with me, I don't need any spoilers ruining my fall.

But there was one major tidbit that kept popping up, about a core piece of The Walking Dead's first season under new showrunner Scott M. Gimple. We just don't know what it is. "By the end of the first episode [of Season 4] we introduce a new threat," said executive producer and gore-maker extraordinaire Greg Nicotero. "It's really the one episode in the entire season where there's a little bit of lightheartedness and then the shit hits the fan, so to speak. It doesn't last very long, it's like 44 minutes and then we're kind of into it." 

Okay, but what is this threat?

"It's a new threat," Gimple stated. "It's something we haven't seen before. You can't stab it in the face, you can't reason with it. It's a force that would be dangerous in this world, and in the world of The Walking Dead, it's terrifying." Okay but what is this threat? 

"There's a new threat that can't be killed," teased Lauren Cohan, who plays Maggie. Okay, but what is this threat? A poisoned water supply? Global warming? Zombie ghosts? Ghost zombies? It's something the cast kept their lips tight on, but it's something that's going to be huge, according to all of them. I'm just going to assume that it's the spirit of T-Dog, and he's angry about not getting enough dialogue. Whatever it is, we'll at least find out about it quickly in the new season. 

Another major addition to Season 4 are the new prison residents, courtesy of Rick letting the rejects from Woodbury crash at his place. That's going to cause some new problems (and provide a ton of redshirts for zombies to snack on), mostly with how the group is run. Rick will be focusing more on being a father, according to actor Andrew Lincoln, and the responsibilities of keeping things in order will fall to the group as a whole. The Ricktatorship is over, and democracy will rule.

There were specific call-outs to Daryl, Michonne, and RIck having some pretty interesting storylines this season, but two characters will get even better material. Without going into specifics (there were very few specifics), David Morrissey said of his Governor, "There's an element of what he does at the end of Season 3 that he wears very heavily, he doesn't carry it lightly, he can't wash that off. He has to have a real turning point in him. He was a man who realized there was a switch that went off in his head. And even though he's done terrible things in Season 3, that particular thing ramped him up to somewhere else. He was out of control, and I think that's a very worrying thing for him, that switch that takes him to a dark place." And he said all that in his awesome David Morrissey voice, which made it sound extra spooky. But as far as learning which side of sanity this broken man lands on, we'll have to just wait.

The other character getting a cast favorite story is *drumroll* Carl. "Carl got a lot of flack, and now I guarantee that at the end of the season, people will be so pro-Carl," said Norman Reedus, who plays fan favorite Daryl Dixon. I can't wait for Carl to get his due, and I think we saw a lot of him change for the better in Season 3. He's Little Ass Kicker's big brother, he better start getting better, right?

And because this is The Walking Dead, people will die. But it was stressed that character deaths were there to serve the story. "We're not throwing a death out just to have a shocking death," said Nicotero. "They're really grounded. I miss Laurie Holden (Andrea) and I wish she was still around because I think there was a lot more that we could have done with her character. I feel like the end of Season 3, her character got a little lost and I wanted to see her around more and rejoin our group. [Scott Gimple] is really thoughtful about those moments." I guess that's an indication that Andrea's death will resonate in Season 4. 

"We don't do it for shock value," said executive producer Gale Anne Hurd. "I think the mistake a lot of shows make is, 'Oh my goodness, we haven't done anything shocking, let's just do something shocking!' If it isn't an organic evolution driven by characters with the results affecting the characters [then we don't want it.] A lot of people said, 'Andrea didn't die in the comic, why are you killing her?' Well, the impact she had you can see it already. In the season finale, when Rick decides to being the Woodburyites in, that wouldn't have happened before."

Just make sure it isn't Daryl you're killing, The Walking Dead. Or the internet will explode.

And just in case you missed it before, here's the trailer that was unveiled during the panel

  • Comments (38)
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  • TrevPlatt Jul 21, 2013

    Here's a YouTube link for all of us that are "locationally challenged".
    I really can't wait for the new season, it's going to brilliant. I have so many questions now thanks to trailer!

  • tlstap08 Jul 21, 2013

    This comment has been removed.

  • sangbaran Jul 23, 2013

    There a few things better than a desperate Glen!!! Daryl comes in first!!

  • CherokeeRose Jul 22, 2013

    I think Beth is a given at some point - Sasha sooner rather than later, but I think Maggie is here to stay. I am hoping with Glenn and Ty, they don't go the way of the comic.

  • anthonyjohnli Jul 21, 2013

    Nazi Zombies!!

  • CherokeeRose Jul 22, 2013

    Like Dead Snow - that would be kind of cool. Pun intended.

  • fujin_mage Jul 21, 2013

    plz do kill Herschel this season, he´s served his purpose..

  • CherokeeRose Jul 21, 2013

    Served his purpose? Not quite. Let's hope they spare most of the core cast this season. They're already going to kill off Sasha. That's enough.

  • Nickylucas Jul 21, 2013

    And his death would serve the plot, as comic fans will know.

  • fujin_mage Jul 22, 2013

    yes, but i wasn't gonna give that away....

  • CherokeeRose Jul 21, 2013

    Yes and no. As comic book fans also know, that was at a time when all his children (there were more of them in the comic) were killed except for Maggie and he just gave up. With both of his kids still living (although I think Beth may be killed by the Governor by the end of the season) it would not really serve the plot for Hershel to die.

  • Nickylucas Jul 21, 2013


    I love the character but the fact of the matter is that his death would further the "zombie outbreak" virus storyline.

    ---END SPOILER---

  • CherokeeRose Jul 21, 2013

    I respectfully disagree. It was immediate and if it was going to kill him, I think it would have been sooner than this. Once someone is bitten, the fever starts very quickly (Jim, Andrea) and Hershel's been hopping around for what, about 8 months or so? I would find that hard to swallow. It would be more threatening if people became sick with something new and unknown, dying and turning. I knew those old Woodbury people (the weakest) would be trouble! LoL

  • Nickylucas Jul 21, 2013

    @Cherokee Because cutting off Hershel's leg isn't enough to save the virus from killing him.

  • CherokeeRose Jul 21, 2013

    This comment has been removed.

  • LeePierce Jul 20, 2013

    It has to be something like a natural disaster. I'm thinking a horrible thunderstorm, or something like that... does Georgia lie on any fault lines? Could it be an earthquake?

  • CherokeeRose Jul 21, 2013

    It's some kind of illness. Either airborne or viral, but that seems to be what all the face covering is about. Daryl has been pictured with his face covered and so has Carol in different scenes.

  • LeePierce Jul 20, 2013

    the biggest earthquake georgia had was a 4.2. Would that be big enough to crumble a few walls of the prison?

  • CherokeeRose Jul 21, 2013

    Although.... maybe it's a Sharknado!

  • TrevPlatt Jul 21, 2013

    Brilliant! Sharknado... with zombie-sharks!

  • katikool Jul 20, 2013

    Maybe it's some sort of shite in the air like radiation after a power plant melt-down! That's totally plausible, right? There're a few nuclear power plants in the south. Whatevs, just as long as it isn't something dumb and introspective like "fear" or "inhumanity".

    Guys, I'm trying to get pumped up for the new season, but I just don't know. I just feel so meh about it after last season's disappointing and angry-making finale.

  • superjulia Jul 20, 2013

    When I read about the new threat I immediately thought of the weather. Maybe there will be a huge hurricane or something. That would raise the stakes in a totally different way! The disease idea is interesting, too..

  • MissMunchkin Jul 21, 2013


  • current Jul 20, 2013

    And what gives with the video here being unavailable? TWD is shown in the UK. Stoopid AMC - said in Homer voice!!!

  • current Jul 20, 2013

    Yeah, it looks like disease of some sort as the zombies appear from an office, or such, have fucked up bleed/muck lines from their eyes/faces. Whether the water line was sneaky misdirect though, as you see a person going for some but with zombies aplenty about, we'll have to wait and see.
    Psyched to see another member from The Wire in the cast :)
    This season looks like lots of infighting too. I bet, though, some of the, "We've got to get out of here" bits refer to missions for food or culling zombies as opposed to just flying the coop.

  • CherokeeRose Jul 21, 2013

    Not really infighting. Sasha is presumably killed in such a way that Tyreese blames Daryl. He goes to punch Daryl, Rick intervenes, Ty punches Rick and Rick punches him back.

    Also, they will probably fly the coop by the end of the season. That voice on the radio will lead them to head for Alexandria. The great news is..... the pick up Morgan on the way! Yay!

  • current Jul 21, 2013


  • CherokeeRose Jul 21, 2013

    Not really. The fight scene is in the trailer. The bit about Morgan has been said by Scott Gimple many times.

  • MissMunchkin Jul 20, 2013

    Ha! T-Dog's ghost. I like that idea. Let's go with that.

    But seriously, I'm pretty sure the new threat is some form of disease. Pictures have been released of Norman (as Daryl) wearing a bandana over his face, and you can clearly see Melissa (as Carol) also covering her nose and moth with a cloth in the trailer. Obviously, they're trying not to breathe something toxic in. I'm just not sure what.

    Also, Hershel said in the trailer that, "You take a drink of water, you run the risk of dying" (paraphrased), which means that obviously their water supply is contaminated. That sucks. So, they could be talking just about that... but I really think it's disease.

  • CherokeeRose Jul 21, 2013

    That isn't what Hershel says, but a lot of people are misunderstanding that. He says something along the lines, you go outside, you die, you take a drink of water you die - he means because of all the walkers, it's not safe. That's before they realize the walker numbers are mounting because someone is feeding them.

  • katikool Jul 20, 2013

    I'm calling it now: Radiation! A power plant meltdown released radiation into the air and poisoned the water. Yesssss!

  • CherokeeRose Jul 21, 2013

    Nope. Airborne virus.

  • Ian281099 Jul 20, 2013

    I think you might be right, since it defenitly fits into what they're saying. And Daryl covering his mouth... Also, from what I sawin the trailer it might be that there are more zombies or the zombies are getting stronger somehow, 'cause they were able to bring down the fence.