San Diego Comic-Con is like a magical wonderland for people like crowds, waiting in long lines, and getting the first look at upcoming movies and television shows. And probably comics, somewhere. Because it has a foot in both worlds, The Walking Dead has always used the platform of Comic-Con to reveal news and footage, and this year is no different, as AMC’s hit zombie series revealed this lengthy new trailer, as well as a premiere date for season five.
There may be some light SPOILERS for Walking Dead fans beyond this point. And some swear words.
This trailer picks up in the final moments of season four, with Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and many of the other key characters trapped in a train car in the supposed safe haven of Terminus. When Rick growls, “They’re screwing with the wrong people,” (apparently the Blu-ray will substitute the word “fucking” for “screwing”) you know things are about to get hairy. Fans of the long-running comic book will be pleased to see this moment because it really is the first glimpse of Rick as the badass, makes-the-tough-choices leader that he is in the comics. He’s going to have to step up.
From the rest of this trailer, things are going to get very, very bad for many of the people involved in The Walking Dead. There are hints of cannibalism, the characters are trapped and tormented, and things look as bleak and violent as they’ve ever been. In addition to ominous images and the characters in imminent danger, which is nothing new for the series, you get your first look at the direction season five will take, at least initially.
You get an idea of how new addition Gareth (Andrew J. West), who we met in the season four finale “A” and got bumped up to series regular shortly after, will fit into the continuing story line. The arc appears to be that after whatever unpleasantness goes down at Terminus, the survivors team up with their captors to go on that fool’s errand to get Eugene (Josh McDermitt), who supposedly has a cure to the zombies, to Washington DC.
We also have a definite answer to the question of whether or not Beth (Emily Kinney) is still alive or not. You’re still not exactly sure who took her, or what the situation is, but you get the impression that she’s in a kind of prison, and whatever the specifics, this is definitely a tough, unpleasant place for her, or anyone, to be.
As grim as everything looks on the surface, there is still a spark of hope, however small. That’s one thing that helped make season four, especially the final eight episodes, become the best we’ve seen in the entire run of the series. One of the problems thus far has been a tendency to bog down in complete, utter desperation and hopelessness, which weighs on fans week to week. If everything is the worst, there is nothing to look forward to, but you get the feeling that there is a goal, something to strive for, however faint.
We weren’t able to be at Comic-Con this year to see The Walking Dead panel, but wonderful older sibling Cinema Blend was there, and they revealed a ton of new information.
Perhaps the biggest announcement is that they finally revealed the season five premiere date. The massively popular series will return to your TV on Sunday, October 12.
Showrunner Scott Gimple, who I largely credit with, if not turning the series completely around, taking it around a sharp corner, says that this is the season that will truly and finally define these characters.
Both comic book creator and producer Robert Kirkman and producer Gale Anne Hurd talked about how the upcoming episodes will follow and be inspired by the source material. Kirkman says fans can expect to get back to familiar stories “very quickly, early on this season,” while Hurd says some scenes set in suburbia are also lifted from the black and white pages. It seems very likely that she is talking about those earlier reports that the production is erecting a 15-foot-high wall around a suburban neighborhood outside of Atlanta.
Chandler Riggs, who plays Carl Grimes, showed up with a giant can of pudding, which isn’t particularly noteworthy, but it’s a funny nod to a moment last season.
Check out a few shots of the cool Walking Dead display at Comic-Con that we talked about the other day.