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Comic-Con 2012: ‘The Walking Dead’ Panel Showcases New Zombie-Fighting Footage

Comic-Con 2012 'The Walking Dead' Panel
Kevin Winter, Getty Images

AMC has let out a flood of promotional material in anticipation for its Comic-Con 2012Walking Dead‘ panel, including a new season 3 poster that may have revealed more than it originally intended to, and the news of a zombie obstacle course called ‘The Walking Dead’ Escape. Oh yeah, and the fact that Comic-Con attendees will get to see the zombie-proof Hyundai car up close and personal.

But what about the actual panel? Was it worth the hype?

The cast, including Andrew Lincoln, Sarah Wayne Callies, Bryan Cranston and Jonathan Banks, made appearances along with producers and moderator Chris Hardwick at the Friday panel, giving it one of the largest turnouts.

Authors Note: Comic-Con is a total rhymes-with-witch. Our ‘Walking Dead’ expert got caught in the gordian knot of human traffic and could not get into Hall H. Somehow, I was able to secure a seat. Alas, I haven’t seen one episode of the show. Been meaning to, but keep putting it off. I’ve read some of the early comics (but a long time ago) and I generally like zombies, so it was hardly a prison sentence to stick around and take notes on the panel.

Here’s what went down:

Chris Hardwick (a natural born moderator) introduced writer/creator Robert Kirkman, calling him cupcake, special effects whiz Greg Nicotero, legendary producer Gale Ann Hurd and some other folks who work behind the scenes.

Kirkman teased that there will be a prison in Season 3. (Hey! I remember that from the comic, but we also figured that out from the latest Comic-Con 2012 ‘Walking Dead’ poster.) Greg Nicotero said there’ll be more detail in the animatronic zombies. Specifically, more ribs. This’ll show how decomposing and starving the zombies are, which makes me wonder if a zombie doesn’t eat for a long enough time, can it die?

Producer Hurd teased that the new character of Michonne kicks ass with a katana (which we also already new from a teaser image and video). Then we saw some much-anticipated new footage.

Over ominous music we saw an American flag on a porch, a field and then… a double-decapitation. Youch.

Then we’re inside a helicopter that’s going down, and a blonde is singing around a campfire. “We’ve got to go in,” Rick Grimes says. He’s talking about the prison and there’s some intense hand-to-hand combat. A knife in the eye. (This is on TV?) Then the music turns to badass country.

There’s a little kid with a rifle, a woman with a crossbow and a tough guy saying, “Welcome to Woodbury.” After shots of the little community (and the leader who looks untrustworthy) there’s a close-up of a dude that makes the audience flip out. I’m told it’s Merle, who we thought was left for dead back in season 1.

The place went nuts and I wondered why the hell I didn’t watch this show.

The cast then hit the stage and, with the house lights raised, all commented just how massive the Hall H auditorium was. “If one woman became a zombie, the infection would spread really quickly in here!”

According to some members of the cast, the toughest part of shooting ‘The Walking Dead’ was either the heat of shooting in Georgia or the intensity of cold due to air conditioning on set. You just can’t please anybody.

During the audience Q&A, Andrew Lincoln compared ‘The Walking Dead’ to Cormac McCarthy’s ‘The Road,’ and said he was having a major bromance with Norman Reedus. Lincoln, a Brit, also mentioned that he keeps his southern accent off-set while shooting.

Also, a very giggly woman in a very tight Team Dixon t-shirt came very close to passing out from the vapors while talking to the cast. It was… a moment.

Then an adorable young woman confessed she loved Steven Yuen and he got all red… until Chris Hardwick asked how old she was. (Answer: not old enough!) It got very awkward, very quickly — especially when another tweenish gal confessed her love for him. Chris Hardwick announced that Yuen was not allowed to go to Legoland.

Norman Reedus, to show how unlike he is from his character, revealed that he recently tried to go fishing using bacon as a bait. Not a lot of luck.

But it was the final question that got the panel to tease that in season 3, revealing the women in the group are going to be a little more in the fight themselves. Can’t wait!

Stay tuned for more Comic-Con 2012 coverage, and check out ‘The Walking Dead’ season 3 premiere this fall Sunday, Oct. 14 at 9 p.m on AMC.

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