Fear the Walking Dead trailer

Fear the Walking Dead, the series spun off from The Walking Dead, will premiere on Sunday August 23 at 9PM. And while we’ve seen only a few brief teasers for the new series so far, now you can see the full Fear the Walking Dead trailer. The footage premiered at the series’ Comic Con 2015 panel, and so along with that trailer we’ve got a recap of the highlights from the panel, all below.

The panel featured exec producer and pilot director Greg Nicotero, exec producer Gale Anne Hurd, showrunner Dave Erickson, and producer David Alpert, and cast members Kim DickensCliff Curtis, Frank Dillane, Alycia Debnam-Carey, Lorenzo James HenrieRuben Blades, and Mercedes Mason.

Erickson said that from the beginning The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman  wanted a show that was distinct and different from the original show. It’s a major city instead of a more rural setting, and the idea was to “see the fall of that city… we get to show the process by which the city goes down.”

The showrunner says part of the tension of the show is that the audience knows what’s in store, and we’re watching characters slowly come to understand what’s happening. “At first glance, they don’t know what this is. They don’t assume people are the undead, they think they’re sick.”

It’s all about looking at that period when Rick was in his coma. What happened then, and how did people adjust? This starts as a family drama, and the apocalypse is filtered through that. “Robert’s feeling was that Rick was out for four to five weeks, this is a few weeks of that time.”

By the end of the first season, this show still won’t be caught up to the pilot of The Walking Dead, and Erickson says there are currently no plans for the shows to officially cross over, or for characters from one to meet those of the other. “There are no plans right now to conflate the two stories… I think Scott Gimple would kill me if I pitched that idea. I think geographically it would be difficult.”

With that in mind, check out the trailer.

Going back to the idea of how the series will really use the diverse backdrop of Los Angeles, Erickson said,

The show is anchored in East LA, close to downtown. The sprawl of the city is so spread out that it’s [becomes] isolating. When something happens we go back to our space, our house. The tension of the show is not about going beyond the boundaries of the community, it’s wondering what’s going on out in the world.

Gale Anne Hurd added “And there’s the expect that if you have money you can buy your way out, and that’s something we’ll be dealing with.”

Cliff Curtis explained that his character, Travis is “an optimist, a fixer,” but that “they’re completely unprepared. I don’t think my character has any apparent skills. He’s not a cop, he doesn’t have action skills.”

Alycia Debnam-Carey described her character, also named Alicia, as “a high achiever who is great in school. She’s had to become very self-sufficient and independent. She’s ready to get out of LA… She has so much, so she’s got a lot to lose.” But despite Alicia’s capabilities, “at the end of the day she still is a 17-year old girl. The world is falling apart, and she’s still having a moment over something trivial. She’s going to go somewhere. It might be very dark.”

Erickson explained that for this show, “it’s the question of what worked in the old world, and didn’t work. Things that make it difficult for [characters] to function may or may not serve them well when the apocalypse comes.” But there will  be some surprises. “We’ll turn things on their head more than expected right out of the gate. Kim [Dickens] goes badass in the first few episodes.”

Producer David Alpert said,

Rick in The Walking Dead is an obvious leader. He’s trained, he has a clean sense of right and wrong. When Robert and David were coming up with characters, it was more like “what if there’s not such an obvious leader?” What about an English teacher and a guidance counselor, who have problems already? Their lives are coming apart now, and then you add the apocalypse. We’ll see who is the coal that becomes a diamond, and who crumbles to dust.

Greg Nicotero explained that “the shows are drastically different.” His point was that The Walking Dead “has bigger than life characters,” while the characters in Fear the Walking Dead “are everyday people.” What do people do when faced with natural disasters? Both shows “share the idea that circumstances change people.” Here it’s all about watching these regular people change.

The two big points for the show, in other words, seem to be that (a) these are regular people, and (b) they are very much not ready for what is coming.

Gale Anne Hurd says “There is no figuring out the apocalypse.” While we’d have the hope that official agencies would figure out what’s happening this time, and that it might go away like SARS and ebola seemed to, that’s not where it’s going. “You want to believe that the instant, sensational media is blowing it out of proportion. But they’re not.”

As for walkers, Nicotero explained,

We have some signature moments in the first couple episodes, but these walkers are not decomposed. They haven’t been walking around for two years. They’re freshly turned. You still feel the humanity, you see some life in their eyes.

Here Gale Anne Hurd interjected: “But they still want to eat you.”

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