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The Walking Dead Invades Comic-Con With a Packed Panel and Autograph Session

On Fri., Jul. 22 at 11:15AM, a line of 9,000 Comic-Con attendees had amassed outside the San Diego Convention Center’s second-largest gathering space, Ballroom 20, for The Walking Dead Panel. 5,000 of them would not get in, but those lucky enough to enter were treated to an hour that showcased almost all of the show’s principal cast, the creators and most excitingly, the extended trailer for Season 2.

The panel kicked off with host Chris Hardwick — of The Nerdist podcast and Singled Out fame — who welcomed Gale Anne Hurd (Executive Producer), Frank Darabont (Writer/Director/Executive Producer), Greg Nicotero (Special FX Makeup Artist/Consulting Producer), and Robert Kirkman (Comic Creator/Series Executive Producer/Writer) to the stage. Immediately, Hurd announced that The Walking Dead would return for a second season on Sun., Oct. 16th at its new time, 9PM | 8C on AMC.

Kirkman addressed the mindset the producers and writers took going into the second season: “The good thing about the first season was that no one actually knew what’s coming,” he said. “It’s empowered us to try harder, to try more things. We’re taking that seriously, and trying to deliver.”

And then it was time to premiere the new trailer, which drew huge cheers from the audience. If you weren’t in Ballroom 20, you can watch The Walking Dead Season 2 trailer by clicking here. Go ahead. We’ll wait.

After the applause for the trailer died down, it built right back up as the cast entered the stage, including Andrew Lincoln (Rick Grimes), Sarah Wayne Callies (Lori Grimes), Jon Bernthal (Shane Walsh), Laurie Holden (Andrea), Jeffrey DeMunn (Dale), Steven Yuen (Glenn), and Norman Reedus (Daryl Dixon).

Hardwick launched into asking the cast how they came to be on the show, as well as their thoughts on the upcoming season. Callies talked about how she thought she had jinxed the show in the first season because she loved it so much. And this season? “The scripts this season are… unprecedented,” she exclaimed. “They’re the best television scripts I’ve ever seen. You start to realize that the most dangerous monsters are the ones inside.”

Meanwhile, Jon Bernthal talked about how much the fans meant to the cast, saying, “The Walking Dead fans are the best in the world. You’re hungry for it, and we want to feed you.”

Holden, for her part, teased that fans of the graphic novels will be extremely pleased with the upcoming season, while Kirkman joked that as-yet-unseen characters like Michonne, Tyreese, and the Governor should be played by Ed O’Neill.

For the rest of the time, the cast and crew took questions from the audience, ranging from how DeMunn reconciles his theater work on Death of a Salesman with killing zombies to whether the blood they use tastes good. (Nicotero says it’s not bad.) And after another round of applause, the cast headed down to The Walking Dead booth on the convention floor for an autograph session that included a surprise cameo by Emma Bell, who played Amy in Season 1.

The cast then proceeded to goof around with the wax statue of Merle Dixon and rile up the crowd — particularly Norman Reedus, whose fist-pumps energized an audience that by then had wrapped around the entire booth and beyond.

Click here to follow The Walking Dead on Twitter and read tweets from yesterday’s panel.

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The Walking Dead returns on Sun., Oct. 16 at 9PM | 8C on AMC.

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