Fear and Dead City: The Walking Dead Universe at WonderCon 2023
by Transmute Jun
The Walking Dead universe made a splash at WonderCon 2023, highlighting both an ending and a new beginning.
Fear The Walking Dead will premiere its 8th and final season on Sunday, May 14. This season will be different from previous ones, in that its two halves will only be composed of 6 episodes each (for a total of 12, rather than the usual 16) and also because there will be a time jump of 7 years into the future. This puts Fear into roughly the same time as the end of the ‘mothership’ Walking Dead show.
Fear is also relocating geographically. After having taken place in Texas for multiple seasons, the survivors have moved to Georgia, to an area controlled by PADRE. The 8th season was filmed in and around Savannah, including multiple scenes in the surrounding swamps. The cast members, who are unfazed by multiple walker attacks, gore and body parts, were often unsettled by live alligators appearing on set as filming took place.
Being the final season, showrunners Ian Goldberg and Michael Satrazemis were consciously trying to wrap up the storylines of the series’ many characters. In many ways, these endings were a way of coming full circle, as characters dealt with things that had haunted them since their beginnings in the Walking Dead universe. For example, this season Morgan will return to King’s County, more specifically, to the house in which he was living when he first encountered Rick Grimes. He will come across the rifle given to him by Rick, with which he was supposed to kill his walker wife. Of course, Morgan was unable to pull the trigger at that time, which led to his son Duane’s eventual death at her undead hands.
Other characters will also deal with their past traumas. June, in particular, has had something of a mental breakdown and has ‘gone rogue’, emerging into a dark place. Dwight and Sherrie, who were on the raft to PADRE at the end of season 7, hoping to find a safe place to raise their coming child, are now living in PADRE, suffering under its heartless and intractable rules, realizing that they have traded one bad situation for another.
As revealed in the Season 7 finale, Kim Dickens has returned to the show as Madison Clarke. Kim stated that she was honored to be returning to help the show reach its conclusion, especially since she was also there at the beginning of the series.
Of course, most of Season 7 was spent in a radioactive wasteland, and this is not without consequences. The show runners confirmed that there will be medical issues suffered by some of the characters as a result.
Dead City will make its premiere on June 18, following the Fear mid-season finale. This series takes place a number of years (showrunners chose not to specify exactly how many, although the role of Herschel has been recast to reflect an older youth) after the end of the main Walking Dead series, and features the characters of Maggie and Negan. This unlikely pair are still at odds and distrusting of each other, yet they are thrown together when Herschel is kidnapped by an old associate of Negan’s known as the Croat. Maggie and Negan make their way to Manhattan (which is fraught with its own perils, since this means crossing water to get to the island, and dealing with millions of walkers packed into a small geographical area) to recover Maggie’s son. On the way, they run afoul of a community known as New Babylon, and Negan finds himself the subject of a manhunt led by Perlie Amrstrong (played by Gaius Charles), a Marshall from that settlement.
Unlike the mothership Walking Dead show, which featured nearly two dozen characters, Dead City will keep its focus on Maggie and Negan, allowing deeper insight into the pair and their interactions. The show will also make the most of its New York location (much of the show was actually filmed in Manhattan) and feature some ‘iconic landmarks’ that have evolved as a result of the zombie apocalypse.
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