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Dispatches From the Set – Executive Producer David Alpert on Season 5

The Walking Dead‘s Executive Producer David Alpert shares his favorite moments from the show and the comic character he can’t wait to introduce.

Q: You’ve known Robert Kirkman for over 12 years now. What still surprises you about the stuff he comes up with in the show and comic?

A: The thing that surprises me most is that he still has the same shirts from 12 years ago. [Laughs] In all honesty, the thing that gets me about what Robert does is really finding the humanity in these insane situations. So many creators and writers get wrapped up in the pyrotechnics and the setting. Robert always finds the character and the spark.

Q: Last year, you mentioned Season 4’s theme related to the possibility of civilization. What would you say the theme for Season 5 is?

A: I think with Season 4, Scott Gimple really focused on whether you can get away from the things that you’ve done. Can you turn your back on your past? I think Season 5 is a response to that, in that you are what you’ve done, where you’ve been and where you’re from.

Q: You’re working on a new sci-fi movie, Air, starring Norman Reedus. Is this going to be Daryl Dixon in space?

A: It’s a post-apocalyptic thriller in a world that’s been overrun. The key people in this world, like scientists and biologists, are being held at a biogenic facility. Norman Reedus plays a maintenance man that is woken up every six months to clean the air filter. He’s been doing it for years and years, but this time, something goes horribly wrong. It’s a really interesting character study with this giant post-apocalyptic backdrop. Daryl is very strong, but can be child-like at times. In Air, Norman’s character is very independent-minded and he’s very much a leader, whereas Daryl, I think, is the perfect #2. Norman’s character in Air would never be working with Rick.

Q: How was your experience presenting The Walking Dead at San Diego Comic-Con this year?

A: It was insane! It’s the greatest place for a The Walking Dead fan to be. Chandler Riggs (Carl) came out on stage with a giant can of pudding like it was no big deal, like, “Sup?” He said to the audience that he’s been on the show for a third of his life and that’s a remarkable thing to think about.

Q: How has his character changed over time?

A: I think Carl has become a straight up bad-ass. He’s physically different, he’s imposing, he’s tough, he doesn’t look silly with a gun and he totally handles himself. Carl has really gone through a coming-of-age story in the show and that’s some intense stuff. Carl in Season 1 vs Carl now is a totally different character.

Q: You’ve shared your favorite moments from Season 2 and 3. What would you say your favorite Season 4 moment is?

A: That’s like making me choose between my children! I think Carol and the “look at the flowers, Lizzie” moment was so intense, personal and heart-breaking. Even talking about it makes me tear up.

Q: We’ve heard the Season 5 Premiere was quite ambitious in terms of production. What are you most excited for fans to see once it airs?

A: We’re attempting things that have never really been done before on the show. We’re taking some bigger swings and I can’t wait for the fans to see that. Hopefully, they feel as good about it as we do.

Q: What one element from the show do you wish was in the comic?

A: It’s more like things in the comic that I can’t wait to get to. I cannot wait until we introduce Negan. He is just like the coolest f—ing character on the planet. You thought the Governor was bad news?

Q: Negan’s worse?

A: [Laughs] Man, wait until you meet Negan! He’s one of the greatest villains ever created. It’s so exciting.

Q: If you had to brave the apocalypse yourself, what would be your weapon of choice?

A: First of all, I’d be zombie food. I’m slow and I’m not good with my hands. I’d throw myself down so my wife and kids could get away.

Q: Aww…

A: Yeah. I’ve got good life insurance!

Click here to read an interview with The Walking Dead‘s Stunt Coordinator, Monty Simons.

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