Robert Kirkman, writer/creator of The Walking Dead comic book, TV show and merchandising empire has revealed more details about the upcoming prequel series Fear The Walking Dead, also for AMC.
In an interview with EW, Kirkman spoke about some aspects of the new show, the cast and character dynamic, it's place in relation to TWD, and more! Let's break it down:
New Characters, Different Family Dynamic
While he stated the show will have a large, diverse cast much like TWD, this show focus on Madison, a widow who will be played by Kim Dickens and divorced dad Travis, played by Cliff Curtis. Each bringing children in tow, she with a daughter Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey) and college age son Nick (Frank Dillane), and Travis with a young son, Chris. Travis and Madison are school teachers in Los Angeles and are very much in love.
One of the interesting angles Kirkman teases is that this couple isn't the dysfunctional type TV is so fond of lately. These two are not Lori and Rick. They are a team, he says, they back each other up.
"They do love and respect each other. They’re a happy couple, which is something that you don’t see a lot of on cable television these days. Usually cable television focuses on infidelity, love triangles, divorces, marriages breaking down—that’s really the meat and potatoes of the drama we mostly deal with on TV. So having this interesting couple at the core of this show, fighting against the backdrop of civilization crumbling and the zombie apocalypse, really is the core of things."
He also sees their teacher training as a solid background full of all sorts of storytelling conveniences:
"There’s logistical knowledge, there’s people management, a lot of skills that come from that. And to a certain extent, I think schoolteachers are on the front lines of a lot of things these days with kids and parents and families and all kinds of different elements of society. They are fairly tough individuals, so we’re going to be dealing with a couple of fairly tough individuals on this show."
So how does the zombie apocalypse start? Kirkman and his team figure it would creep up on us, as it will on the new show:
"It would be happening for a while behind the scenes. In pockets of civilization there would be news stories that didn’t really make sense and didn’t seem connected. And that’s kind of where we pick things up. There are a lot of things on the news, there’s a lot of chatter and paranoia and concern. And yet the vast majority of the population is ignoring these things and talking about their daily lives, and that’s kind of where we pick things up. And things ramp up very quickly from there."
He goes further and points out that because none of these characters know what to expect in this new and changing world - but the viewer does - a new layer of tension should arise.
"There will be situations in the world of Fear The Walking Dead where you’ll know that something that they’re doing is dangerous, but the characters themselves haven’t gotten that information yet. So as we’re telling these stories, we’re going to be able to play with that dynamic in a lot of very cool ways."
So, as far as the undead go, how will this show visually set itself apart from the um... Rot Design (?) of the original show? Zombie F/X genius (and episode directer and show producer) Greg Nicotero has been at work on tweaking the look, but Kirkman was coy.
"It will harken back a little bit to the early days of the first season of The Walking Dead. But there’s also going to be some nuance, and some cool things added in that will give this show a very unique look. So yeah, there’s going to be a lot of differences and definitely a lot of cool things for fans to catch on to, because they’re actually going to see the early days for the first time."
Kirkman points out that this show, on it's surface, won't be far too different then TWD. The difference will be in the characters.
"These are characters that are focused on survival and they’re not focused on saving the world and they’re not focused on curing the outbreak. They’re focusing on making sure they have enough food, making sure that they’re in a safe place, and making sure that they’re not being attacked. In that respect, it will be somewhat similar to the original show, but they’re going to be surviving in much different ways. And they’re going to be with much different people and be in an extremely different location. So even though they are after the same goal, they will be arriving at the goal in a much different way."
The Walking Dead returns in October, but Fear The Walking Dead will come shuffling at you this summer on AMC.
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