Getty ImagesNew York Comic-Con's Season 5 panel for AMC's The Walking Dead did not disappoint the rabid fans in attendance. Here's what we learned today about what lies ahead and some insights and revelations the production team and cast were happy to confide.
1- Buckle up: Following the exclusive two minute clip from the show's season premiere which airs tomorrow night on AMC at 9 pm ET, director and special FX wizard Greg Nicotero told the gasping audience that "he's viewed the episode about 10 times and it still gives him chills." Producer and writer Gale Ann Hurd followed that up with a guarantee that Season 5 will be, "kickass, relentless and totally heartbreaking" while showrunner Scott Gimple revealed that "there will be a few devastating episodes." Panel moderator and host of Talking Dead, Chris Hardwick echoed these sentiments by saying tomorrow night we will see "the most intense, jam-packed and satisfying premiere to date." Wowsers.
2- Faithful readers of the comics can expect to see some very familiar visuals. Creator Robert Kirkman promised many big comic book moments will be pulled into Season 5. There may be some made-for-TV changes but this time around, the series will follow the comics more than it has in the past.
3- Who among us doesn't feel dead inside when the show takes a break from airing during the holiday madness? Let your countdown begin because it was officially announced that the second half of Season 5 will premiere on Sunday, February 8, 2015.
4- As the plot has progressed to feature the uncertainty of Terminus, ever-charming Andrew Lincoln (Rick) said "he regrets killing Shane now because he may have been onto something three seasons ago." And of his good guy character's trip to the dark(er) side he remarked, "It's been such fun - I kill so many people."
5- When asked what unscripted traits of the characters the actors draw upon during filming, Steven Yeun (Glenn) shared that he remembers his character telling Rick that he had two older sisters. He imagines his character being babied his whole life yet now in the Apocalypse, he's had to step up as a big brother of sorts. Lauren Cohan (Maggie) said she now thinks of her on-screen husband's character as a soldier who found his way home to her. Both Yeun and Cohan agree that their reunion was a "validation of hope."
6- From the department of Daryl, Daryl and more Daryl: Those tremors you may have felt around 3:50 pm Eastern time did not come from an earthquake. That was the sound of a couple thousand eggs being thrown from audience member ovaries onto the stage as larger-than-life crowd pleaser Norman Reedus made his entrance. Of his character's brooding and inner contemplations, Reedus said he channels negative and embarrassing memories Daryl likely had from his time growing up in big brother Merle's questionable, controlling shadow.
7- Danai Gurira (Michonne) said that even though her character has become softer in that she finds herself with new and different people to love, she's thrilled that her strength remains "unapologetic." Noting that she's a "scaredy cat" in real life, she shared how in order to thwart off nightmares in the real world and get some sleep, she simply keeps reminding herself about the "science of zombies," how they can't unlatch her windows and how the living are smarter than them.
8- Sonequa Martin-Green (Sasha) is experiencing the unique situation of going through a real-life pregnancy while she portrays a survivor on a violent show that focuses on the harsher side of human nature. Her days on the set and how she identifies with her character often remind her of all the things she plans to teach her child.
And of his role as baby Judith's protector on the show, Chad Coleman (Tyreese) offered up that "the most noble thing a man can do is protect a child." But he didn't let on exactly what might be in store for "little asskicker" so that's still a wait-and-see.
9- Michael Cudlitz (Abraham) -with whom we're all still just getting acquainted -gushed that he has never worked in such a warm creative environment. He asserted it's that dynamic which allows for the cast to connect with the audience the way it does and convey the power of the story.
10- Melissa McBride (Carol) has witnessed her character undergo what is undeniably the most powerful evolution on the show. While she still isn't quite used to people she encounters at the grocery store advising her to not stare at the flowers, she is so taken by the impact her character has had on her own life, that she became visibly emotional. Never fear- in true Daryl form, Norman Reedus was quick to jump out of his seat and give her a tissue.
See you tonight when we dish about the premiere!