SDCC 2014: SKYBOUND’S THE WALKING DEAD PANEL RECAP
It was the first full-length day of Comic-Con, and a little franchise called The Walking Dead was featured in its own panel. This panel was focused specifically on the comic book (the TV show will have its own moment in the sun tomorrow). Writer/creator Robert Kirkman and artist Charlie Adlard were both present, along with editor Sean Maciewicz, to discuss recent big developments and the future of the series.
Kirkman touched on several subjects pertaining to the series’ lead protagonist, Rick. Rick’s anger streak seen in recent issues can be chalked up to the tenuous state of society in the aftermath of “All Out War” and the need for every member to perform their jobs. Kirkman doesn’t regret introducing the plot twist that saw Rick lose his arm, though he admitted it does cause certain practical challenges in terms of how Rick can hold and use various objects. While he was obviously noncommittal about the idea of killing off Rick, Kirkman did note that the series could very easily survive past Rick’s death.
Regarding Negan, the main villain of the series for the past couple years, Kirkman voiced an interest in fleshing out the character’s back-story. However, that would likely occur within the comic and not in the form of a tie-in novel like with The Walking Dead: Rise of the Governor. Kirkman also said to expect Negan to show up in the TV series eventually, but not anytime soon. Interestingly, Kirkman mentioned that Negan is based on a real-life person, though he was reluctant to specify whom.
Kirkman reiterated a topic he’s touched on in the past when he said he has no plans to reveal the source of the zombie plague, even calling the idea “boring.” However, he did reserve the right to change his mind a few years down the road. As of right now, Kirkman has the series loosely plotted out for 150-200 issues.
One thing Kirkman and Adlard seemed very much in agreement about was that they don’t allow the TV show or video games to affect how they portray the characters. Adlard noted that he feels a sense of pride whenever the show casts an actor who looks similar to his character designs (mentioning Danai Gurira’s Michonne specifically), but that he only draws the characters as he envisioned them. Kirkman said he has no plans to introduce characters created in the show or games, such as Daryl Dixon or Clementine.
Don’t expect the comic to shift away from the usual cast to focus on other areas of the world and how they’re dealing with the ongoing zombie apocalypse. If the setting of the series changes, it’ll only be because the core cast are moving.
Finally, Kirkman did offer one TV-related tidbit. He confirmed that while the spinoff to the TV series won’t be officially announced at SDCC this week, an announcement will be coming soon. That series is expected to premiere in 2015.