- May 4, 2005
A "reinvented" Fear the Walking Dead is saddling up for a Season 7 co-showrunner Ian Goldberg describes as a nuclear zombie apocalypse western story. Season 6 ends with underground cult leader Teddy Maddox (John Glover) firing a submarine-launched missile and detonating nearly a dozen nuclear warheads over Texas, turning the Lone Star State into ground zero of the second apocalypse. By the end of "The Beginning," Morgan Jones (Lennie James), Alicia Clark (Alycia Debnam-Carey), and Victor Strand (Colman Domingo) are among the survivors still left alive to deal with the literal fallout that's going to make Fear look like "a whole different show."
"The world has changed. The landscape has now changed. We have multiple nuclear warheads that have detonated, so that's gonna change everything," Goldberg said during a post-season live stream with TWDUniverse on Twitch. "That's gonna change the walkers, that's gonna change the living conditions, that's gonna change everything about how our characters navigate this world. Just when they got a handle on how to deal with the apocalypse, now we have another apocalypse on top of the one they've been living in."
The explosive end of Season 6 is "going to obviously shake things up in a major way" in Season 7, which rolled cameras in April. Now in his fourth season as showrunner with Andrew Chambliss, Goldberg said Season 7 of Fear will continue the anthology approach with character-focused stories of the post-post-apocalypse survivors who once again find themselves scattered.
"On a macro level, it's still a western story that we're telling. Also the anthological approach to the stories, which we started to really dig into Season 6, that's going to continue into Season 7 as well," Goldberg said. "We're telling these really concentrated two or three character stories that have true beginning, middles, and ends. You saw at the end of Season 6, the characters are all scattered in different locations and different pairings."
"Not necessarily saying that's who they'll be with when we come up with them in Season 7, but I think it's not a spoiler to say that people are scattered to the four corners and they're going to be struggling to survive in this new world and finding each other might just be a small part of how they're gonna navigate that," Goldberg said.
Season 6 left off with Morgan and Grace (Karen David) as the adoptive parents of the orphaned Baby Morgan, Strand on the precipice of becoming the "ultimate version" of himself, and Alicia as the begrudging leader of a bunkered group of survivors hand-picked by Teddy. Elsewhere, Althea (Maggie Grace) recruited soldier Isabelle (Sydney Lemmon) to shuttle her friends to safety aboard a CRM helicopter, flying the small group to parts unknown.
"I think it's gonna look like a whole different show. It already does with the dailies we're getting and the cuts that are coming in," Goldberg said of the nuked setting of Season 7. "Honestly, it feels like a different planet with how much the landscape has changed — everything from the costumes to the landscapes or the walkers, everything."
Fear the Walking Dead is leaving the Lone Star State: The Walking Dead spinoff is exiting Texas and relocating production to Savannah, Georgia, for Season 8. Early seasons of the AMC zombie drama filmed in California, Canada, and Mexico before moving to Texas for Season 4 in 2017. Now the ATX Studios and Austin-based Fear the Walking Dead, currently airing its seventh season set in a post-nuclear zombie apocalypse Texas, will wrap its time in the state on December 17, according to the Austin Chronicle.
"To say this is a significant loss is an understatement," said Austin Film Commission director Brian Gannon, who credited Fear for creating "consistent, well-paying jobs for close to five years."
The reason for the move is unclear. Texas Motion Picture Association executive director Paul Jensen raised concerns over the "underfunded" Texas Moving Image Industry Incentive Program, a rebate for productions that shoot in-state.
In January, Texas lawmakers reduced the TMIIIP from $50 million for the 2020-21 biennium to $45 million for 2022-23.
"This program is really wildly underfunded, and that we're losing projects so early in the two-year cycle is indicative that there's a huge amount of media production that wants to work in Texas, and we're not supporting that," said Jensen, who confirmed Fear is leaving Austin.
There are also concerns the Texas Film Commission, which administers TMIIIP, is playing favorites by "prioritizing applications from areas outside of Austin," according to the Chronicle, potentially "discouraging studios with long-term investments in the Texas economy from applying in the first place."
"We are so grateful that AMC made Austin home, for Fear the Walking Dead and The Son before that. They put our professionals to work, and a substantial amount of money into the local economy, and we hope to see them back in Austin in the future," said Gannon, who lamented the loss of funding to the Texas economy — upwards of $50,000 per hour of production on Fear.
No one's gone until they're gone: Kim Dickens will return as Madison Clark on Fear the Walking Dead. Gone from the Walking Dead Universe since Madison's apparent death in the Season 4 midseason finale in 2018, Dickens is confirmed to make her first appearance when The Walking Dead spinoff's second half of Season 7 airs April 2022 on AMC. Revealing Madison's return live on Talking Dead following Sunday's midseason finale, "Padre," AMC Networks also announced Dickens continues as a series regular in an officially renewed Season 8 of Fear the Walking Dead.
"If there were a Mt. Deadmore, Kim Dickens' face would be on it. Madison Clark is a foundational character to TWDU — heroic, complex, an everyperson who becomes a warrior and then a force of benevolence," said Scott M. Gimple, Chief Content Officer of AMC's The Walking Dead Universe. "Kim Dickens' raw talent, strength, and brilliance will electrify TWDU once more and we couldn't be luckier to have her back."
Dickens' unexpected exit as the leading character was in Fear's fourth season episode "No One's Gone," the midway point of a revamped season installing Morgan Jones (Lennie James) as series lead in a crossover with The Walking Dead.
Madison appeared to die in a fiery blaze saving children Nick (Frank Dillane) and Alicia Clark (Alycia Debnam-Carey), her sacrificial last stand happening inside the walls of a stadium overrun by walkers.
Fear the Walking Dead star Lennie James wants a swing at the French's faster walkers revealed on The Walking Dead: World Beyond. In a post-credits scene trailing the series finale of the spinoff, a French doctor (Carey Van Driest) recovers old transmissions from American virologist Dr. Edwin Jenner (Noah Emmerich) conferring about the French's reports of the undead's "variant cohorts" overseas. "We haven't seen anything like that seen here at all," Jenner says in the video recorded in a lab at the CDC, "nothing close." These faster and potentially man-made variant zombies are unlike any seen before in the Walking Dead Universe — and the Morgan Jones actor wants a crack at them.
"I can't wait! I'm like, 'bring it on.' I've been waiting for walkers to catch up for years," James, who starred on The Walking Dead before crossing over to Fear, said on Talking Dead. "I stand there, wait for them to come, stick a stick out, wait for another one to come, back in the head. I want them running at me so I can swing and take them all out at speed."
The regular walkers of the Walking Dead Universe "only move fast when you're not looking, but I can see them coming fast," James pointed out. "I'm really looking forward to killing some fast-moving walkers."
"Girl, you need to call me." That's the text Colman Domingo sent Kim Dickens from the set of Fear the Walking Dead, initiating talks that would bring about Madison Clark's comeback in the second half of Season 7 and a renewed Season 8. The original series lead of The Walking Dead spinoff announced her return live on Talking Dead in December, confirming the mother of Nick (Frank Dillane) and Alicia Clark (Alycia Debnam-Carey) survived her apparent death midway through Season 4. According to Domingo, who plays villainous Victor Strand in the second part of the season returning April 17 on AMC, that first on-set phone call was the start of many.
"I was very instrumental in Kim coming back," Domingo exclusively told ComicBook ahead of Dickens' Season 7 return. "She's not only my best friend, such a great colleague, but also knew that the showrunners... I was doing the showrunners' bidding, to be very honest. I wanted to make sure that Kim knew that she was going to be well cared for when it comes to story, and coming back to a show that she helped build from the ground up. I wanted to make sure that she knew that not only the cast and the crew, and the show owners and producers, that we've got her back."
After the late 2020 text from Domingo informing her producers were trying to gauge interest in a conversation, Dickens met virtually with Walking Dead Universe chief content officer Scott Gimple and Fear showrunners Andrew Chambliss and Ian Goldberg.
Domingo, now a producer on the Robert Kirkman and Dave Erickson co-created series he's starred in since the first season in 2015, was instrumental in persuading Dickens to continue Madison's story. Dickens will guest star in the back half of Season 7 before returning as a full series regular in Season 8.
"We wanted her to know that she can flex here. She can stretch here, that there'll be great creative there for her, which is all any good artist really wants, is the creativity to be on point and there to be a reason for her return," Domingo said. "And I know that I was instrumental in making sure that I'm bridging that gap. So I was very excited [about Dickens' return] after many late-night phone calls and strategizing and figuring it out on both sides."
Fear the Walking Dead star Alycia Debnam-Carey has booked a new leading role on Hulu. Debnam-Carey, who has played Alicia Clark across all seven seasons of AMC's Walking Dead spinoff, will replace You's Victoria Pedretti as the lead of the psychological drama Saint X. Pedretti exited the adaptation of Alexis Schaitkin's novel over "creative differences," according to reports. The eight-part series is produced by Disney's ABC Signature (Little Fires Everywhere, Grey's Anatomy) and will film in the Dominican Republic. Deadline first reported Pedretti's recasting with Debnam-Carey.
Debnam-Carey will not be on set for the beginning of production on Fear the Walking Dead Season 8 but could join later in the shoot, according to the report. AMC Networks is relocating the spinoff from Texas to Georgia for the eighth season with a planned shooting start in June-July.
Due to COVID, Debnam-Carey was in her native Australia for much of the first half of filming on Fear Season 7A. Alicia didn't appear this season until episode 707, "The Portrait," returning to declare war against old friend Victor Strand (Colman Domingo) in December's mid-season finale "PADRE." She's now leading the fight to take Strand's Tower in the second half of Season 7, airing Sundays on AMC. (Kim Dickens, who played Alicia's mother Madison Clark in the first four seasons, will appear this season before returning as a series regular in Season 8.)
Saint X is "a psychological drama told via multiple timelines and perspectives that explores and upends the girl-gone-missing genre. It's a show about how a young woman's mysterious death during an idyllic Caribbean vacation creates a traumatic ripple effect that eventually pulls her surviving sister into a dangerous pursuit of the truth" (via Deadline). Debnam-Carey will play Emily, "a sharp and ambitious woman whose carefully constructed, seemingly perfect life begins to crumble."
Leila Gerstein (Hart of Dixie, The Handmaid's Tale) is writer and executive producer with director Dee Rees (Empire, Mudbound). Saint X will stream on Hulu.
Now the Dead will be Dead, but they're also irradiated and if the producers want, they can mutate things and bring out something's that are not possible, except in the fantasy realm. But overall I think the Dead need more variation, and them becoming bigger threat than before.
Ironically they should also be the end to Victor Strand. He should go down with them for betraying everyone and not to be forgiven, as some sins are unforgivable. How to weave it into the story is up to the writing team, but just like Negan Strand has crossed that thin red line and there's not many ways to come back.
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