It makes sense for AMC’s The Walking Dead to put on a good showing later this month at San Diego Comic-Con. After all, the hit zombie drama is based on the comic of the same name by Robert Kirkman. Also, there’s a sizeable overlap between people who like comics and people who like zombies. It’s a win-win for everyone involved. In preparation for the mammoth gathering of all things geeky, the cable network has confirmed that the show will in fact have a panel at the Con, unveiled a new banner poster for the event, and released the title for the first episode of season four, scheduled to premiere in October.
The banner is pretty damn epic. Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and Daryl (Norman Reedus) are the main focus, which makes sense, one is the leader, and the other is the best character on the show (some may argue the only consistently good character on the series). The duo is flanked on either side by relative newcomers Michonne (Danai Gurira), astride a mighty steed, hacking walkers to bits with her trademark katana, and Tyreese (Chad L. Coleman), hammer in hand, caving in biter skulls left and right.
Hopefully some of this action will translate from the still images to the moving ones when the show returns. While I’m not one of the people screaming for more zombies and nonstop action, many episodes of The Walking Dead could stand to pick up the pace a little bit.
Perhaps some of this will be on display in the first episode, which we now know is called “30 Days Without an Accident.” With a title like that, we can infer a couple of things. First, you assume the narrative picks up a month after the events of the season three finale, “Welcome to the Tombs.” The group is probably still reeling from numerous deaths (one in particular), as well as introducing all of the survivors from Woodbury into their prison stronghold. The name also implies that this has been a relatively peaceful month in the wake of the violent clash with the Governor (David Morrissey), and taking into account the track record of the survivors, that illusion of serenity is about to be shattered. We’ll have to wait and see how this all goes down, maybe the Governor pops up from whatever hole he’s been hiding in, but it’s a safe assumption that things will take a turn for the worse.
Though there is no time or location set for The Walking Dead Comic-Con panel, it will go down on July 19. Considering the massive popularity, you have to imagine that they warrant the hallowed Hall H space. You can also bet that you’ll see some new footage from the upcoming season four, and get to rubberneck at a ton of cast members and behind the scenes players. So far the confirmed list of attendees includes everyone on the poster, as well as co-stars Steven Yeun, Lauren Cohan, Morrissey, and Scott Wilson. The call list also includes Kirkman himself, executive producers Gale Anne Hurd and Dave Alpert, as well as special effects guru, executive producer, and occasional director, Greg Nicotero.
The name I’m most interested to hear from is Scott Gimple, who took over as showrunner after the very public parting of ways between The Walking Dead and Glen Mazzara. Over the past three seasons, the show has varied wildly in quality, but the episodes that stand out as the best—“Pretty Much Dead Already” and “Clear”—were written by Gimple. His writing showcases the true potential of the show, illustrating how good it can be. Episodes like these are why I still tune in week after week, slogging through the tedious hours just to get to a good one.
In a perfect world, under Gimple’s guidance, The Walking Dead will continue to get better. Killing off Andrea (Laurie Holden) at the end of last season was a bold departure from Kirkman’s comics (Andrea is still alive and kicking on those black and white pages). My hope is that the show starts to differentiate itself from the comics, becoming its own standalone entity, rather than try to mimic the source material, something it has already failed to do time and time again.