The Walking Dead might be getting a 90-minute premiere when it airs its second season this October, but it’ll be doing so without original showrunner Frank Darabont, which has more than just fans concerned about the show’s future.
The show’s cast stayed silent about Darabont’s departure during the The Walking Dead cast panel on Friday at Dragon*Con 2011 — their first large public appearance since San Diego Comic-Con in July, after which Darabont was fired.
I’ve embedded a video of the panel below, but I feel obligated to give fair warning to the people who are only looking for spoilers: It doesn’t really contain much information about the next season. Oddly, there also isn’t any mention from the actors about what it’s been like working under new showrunner Glen Mazzara.
On the panel was Jon Bernthal (Shane Walsh), Laurie Holden (Andrea), Steven Yeun (Glenn), Chandler Riggs (Carl Grimes), Madison Lintz (Sophia Peletier), and Addy Miller (the frightening little girl zombie from the opening episode).
The audience was told precisely eight times (yes I counted) prior to the panel beginning not to ask about Darabont. And while the children on the panel didn’t have much to say, all three adult actors shared at least one “Frankism” — all the while staying very guarded about Darabont’s departure.
One notable “Frankism” mentioned by Yeun came when he explained the different terms the characters use for the zombies, such as geeks, walkers, and roamers.
“I don’t think we ever refer to them as ‘zombies’, because it’s a world that didn’t know what they were prior [to the zombie outbreak],” Yeun said. “So, to call them ‘zombies’ is a little too convenient since that word hasn’t been created yet.”
“It’s a Frankism,” he added.
In another instance, Bernthal responded to a fan question about feeling liberated that his character Shane has managed to stay alive longer than his graphic novel counterpart.
“Frank and I, when we started, we really set out to do something very specific with Shane and I knew he would last longer than he does in the graphic novel,” Bernthal said. “Knowing that your character could bite it at any moment is tough, especially when you’re working with a bunch of people that you really, really love…”
Personally, I believe the cast is mostly pissed off about how AMC has treated its highest rated program and are also scared they’ll get canned if they speak up about it.