Madison Square Garden was overrun during New York Comic Con, but not by zombies. It was by lots and lots of ecstatic fans of AMC’s The Walking Dead! Much like the way we’ve witnessed the panel at San Diego Comic-Con, we knew we were in for a badass panel when we saw the extensive row of chairs that took up the majority of the stage. What we didn’t know, however, was that the moderator for The Walking Dead panel would be fanboy extraordinaire Chris Hardwick. He wasted no time introducing panel guests: Scott M. Gimple, Robert Kirkman, Gale Anne Hurd, Greg Nicotero, David Alpert, Steven Yeun, Lauren Cohan, Sonequa Martin-Green, Austin Nichols, Danai Gurira, Melissa McBride, Lennie James, Michael Cudlitz, Alanna Masterson, Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Norman Reedus. Seth Gilliam who plays Father Gabriel ran a little late due to NYC traffic but joined fellow castmates shortly after the panel started.
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Without a doubt the biggest question on everyone’s mind was who was the victim of Negan’s barbed wire bat Lucille. And of course……no one was talking. But that’s okay. The panel was a complete delight and although we were missing our fearless leader Rick, the castmates made sure the crowd had a lot of fun which kicked off with Norman Reedus reading a note from Andrew Lincoln who couldn’t make the trip. In the note, Lincoln made Reedus read a hilarious apology from Reedus to Lincoln about the pranking that took place – especially the “ongoing glitter war” that some fans are familiar with. The note ended up having several copies and was also in the hands of Steven Yeun and Michael Cudlitz to make sure Reedus didn’t skip any parts. At the end of Lincoln’s note, he made Norman read a trivia question about the show that resulted in Norman tossing the baseball cap he was wearing into the audience. The note paved the way for other notable moments like the deafening roar of applause when Hardwick’s line of questions made their way to Melissa McBride – who possibly got the biggest reception of anyone on stage. There was an especially touching moment from Lauren Cohan when asked about Maggie’s strong character development, especially with the way the last season ended.
Fans couldn’t have asked for a better panel for one of the best shows on television. We were treated to a video montage of Negan playing “Eeny, meeny, miny, moe” as well as the teaser seen below. The teaser had everyone going CRAZY with it’s key scenes.
Here are some of the panel highlights:
What is it about season seven that is most exciting?
I think the first thing is that it really is a larger world. There are new worlds that we’re going to be exploring with new characters, obviously Ezekiel and Shiva being two of them. Even though the show isn’t a big show, it’s essentially been contained. We had the Atanta season, we’ve had the Farm season, had the Prison….Woodbury. Now we have a Walking Dead Universe thanks to Mr. Kirkman. – Gale Ann Hurd
Will you clarify once and for all, Scott M. Gimple, that we do actually find out who Lucille lands on in the season premiere?
We do indeed. I will sign whatever document you need me to sign. — Scott M. Gimple
What do you think is going through Daryl’s head when he’s on his knees at that point?
I think, you know, that we’re all gonna die. That’s what going through everyone’s head. That we’re outnumbered and it doesn’t look good. It’s a weird feeling to be that powerless…….when we’ve always fought to survive. It’s a horrible feeling. — Norman Reedus
Michonne had experience with the Governor. What is it that you think makes Negan different from the Governor.
Oh yeah….the Governor was small potatoes compared to this guy…because he has a structure in place. And he doesn’t have one town like Woodbury, he has outposts in various places that we don’t even know about yet. We know it’s more than one at this point. And he’s extremely smart that’s becoming more and more evident. — Danai Gurira
Maggie, as the last Greene, she has become such a strong character. How do you think she would have dealt with things differently if she’d have been completely healthy?
Hearing 99 [episodes], I’m in such rough shape right now. [Starts crying, crowd cheers for her] Thank you and thank you for caring about our show and for being mad when you don’t know things. [Hardwick asks the question again] I think we were pretty incapacitated because we knew somebody was going to be hurt if we rebelled and reacted. I mean, it takes everything in everybody’s power to not get up and just headbutt that guy over there [motions to Jeffrey Dean Morgan]. — Lauren Cohan
Is this unlike anything you’ve experienced before, coming onto this show?
Yeah. It’s not even close. I mean, the show hasn’t even aired yet. But this (points to crowd) and what’s about to happen is already nuts…..and we haven’t started the year yet. Nothing close. — Jeffrey Dean Morgan
From Negan’s point of view, do you think he’s a bad guy? As the performer, you must understand him. He must believe he’s good. Do you see him as a good character or a bad character?
I think in order to approach a character like Negan and to have somewhere to go, you have to believe in what you’re doing – and what he is doing is essentially the same thing these guys have been doing for the last seven. He just happens to carry a baseball bat that he loves dearly. But yeah, I think he absolutely thinks he’s right. But he’s also a bit of a showman. This world is his stage and he owns it. You can call it cocky but we’ve watched Rick and these guys kinda get cocky in the last seven years, especially last year. — Jeffrey Dean Morgan
The Walking Dead returns on Sunday, October 23rd