Robert Kirkman and the Stars of The Walking Dead at Paley Fest: What's in Store for Season 2 of the Zombie Survival Hit?
Ostensibly the purpose of the Paley Center for Media's annual springtime festival of the best in television is to celebrate what is on right now, the series that have captured the zeitgeist of our pop culture. In the case of AMC's The Walking Dead, the show's most insatiable fans might actually split hairs on that premise, due to the fact that the show isn't on the air right now. Hey, it happens, all shows go on hiatus now and again. Except that for The Walking Dead, the year-long wait from last fall's all-too-brief six episode debut until this fall's return seems apocalyptically long.
Unfortunately [spoiler alert!] - at least one of the cast and crew of the hit show who gathered for the Paley Fest panel on Friday won't be returning for season two: Emma Bell, who portrayed Amy, younger sister to Laurie Holden's Andrea.
Paley Center for Media Darabont, Kirkman, and Lincoln during the panel.
"It's like I walk around with a perpetual raincloud over my head," Bell laughs now. "[People say] 'Emma, awww!'"
Amy was killed off at the end of episode four. Episode five, which includes an extraordinary extended sequence of Andrea making peace with her sister's demise and subsequent return as a zombie, was screened prior to the panel. Both Holden and series executive producer Frank Darabont spoke at length about the creative power in packing an emotional punch along with the terror in scenes such as these. "What if you could look [a loved one] in in the eye and tell them how sorry you are for how you failed them in life," Darabont explains, "but they can't really hear you? That's fuckin' cool shit [to write]."
Speaking of writers, both Darabont and comic book creator/co-producer Robert Kirkman all but confirmed that rumors of the show having no writing staff in the upcoming sophomore outing aren't entirely true. They've assembled a team who have begun to break the second season now. It's clear simply from their rapport with one another, though that Kirkman and Darabont have a shared vision and appreciation and mutual respect for each other's creativity, developing storylines which converge with some aspects of the comic that Kirkman is several years deep into at this point, but not always.
Paley Center for Media (l.-r.) Callies, Jon Bernthal, Holden and Yeun.
"[The writers are able] to look at the underside of the comic... I get to sit around in a room going 'Oh, why didn't I think of that?" Kirkman says. "You get seven people in a room and they come up with angles I never thought of."
When the idea of cross-pollinating the comic with characters unique to the show - such as Norman Reedus' popular redneck rogue, Daryl Dixon - came up, Darabont erupted in an almost reflexive "Cool?!"
After a bit of audience laughter, Kirkman followed with "Is it cool, or are you going to sue me?!"