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The Walking Dead Q&A – Greg Nicotero (Executive Producer, Director, Special Effects Makeup Supervisor)

Executive Producer Greg Nicotero talks about how the group ended up on their knees and what fans will be feeling after watching the Season 7 Premiere.

Q: What happened to the group at the end of last season?

A: There was a bright future for them. They learned how to work together. They had threats from outside sources that they dealt with. By Episode 15, they seemed to have a pretty good grasp on things. Then it all went downhill. The over-confidence of Rick Grimes and the group led to them finding themselves in a very tenuous situation with a guy named Negan.

Q: Were they blind to the world outside the Alexandria Safe Zone?

A: They just underestimated it. They never imagined in their wildest dreams that there would be a group of people that could not only come toe-to-toe with them, but could beat them.

Q: How was directing the Season 7 Premiere?

A: It was intense and it affected me in a way I did not expect. It was a 9-day shoot that was brutal.

Q: What can fans expect to feel with the Season 7 Premiere?

A: Every emotion that you can imagine feeling, you will feel. You think they are at the bottom, but there is a lot further for them to go.

Q: What does Jeffrey Dean Morgan bring to the role of Negan?

A: Negan is charismatic and you find yourself holding on every sick word that he is saying. You can’t take your eyes off of him. You can’t not listen to what he is saying because he is magnetic. The fact that he does these absolutely reprehensible things while he is spouting this excruciating, colorful, completely out-of-left-field dialogue – the character is captivating. Jeffrey has embodied that perfectly.

Q: Tell us about King Ezekiel

A: Just imagine, you are in the woods and you hear about this guy who has a tiger and runs this place called the Kingdom. Word-of-mouth is enough protection to keep most of the people away. Ezekiel and Rick and Negan all have this fantastic iconic triangle of word-of-mouth that keeps people from screwing with them too much.

Q: Tell us about the walker makeup this season…

A: Getting a sense of scale and a sense of scope – that is all it is about. Every single walker gag, every single action sequence that we have designed and created for this season, is about scale and about scope. Every single episode not only do we have these great dramatic themes going on and continued subjugation by Negan, we have these big elaborate set pieces. We have a responsibility and obligation to our viewers to continue to push ourselves, and that’s what we are doing.

The Walking Dead returns to AMC October 23 at 9/8c. Click here to watch a sneak peek of the premiere.

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