A lot had to happen in the couple of months Rick Grimes spent in a coma for all of civilization to fall to the zombie hordes, and this summer we’ll get to see that fall in AMC’s new series Fear The Walking Dead.
Moving the action to Los Angeles and starring an all new cast, Fear the Walking Dead will take viewers back to the days before the zombpocalypse, telling the story of teacher Sean Cabrera, guidance counselor Nancy Tomkins, and her children Nick and Ashley. We know that Sean and Nancy work at the same school, Nick has a drug problem and Ashley is “ambitious”, whatever that means.Beyond that, we have heard that the series will progress a little faster than The Walking Dead, bringing it up to the same time frame as the original series somewhere before its current two-year commitment is up, and that we’ll see the zombpocalypse unfold in a lot more detail than the brief minutes of the Fall of Atlanta that we’ve seen so far.
On the production side of things we’ll have Robert Kirkman, creator of the comic, executive producing along with Gale Anne Hurd, Greg Nicotero, David Alpert and Dave Erickson. Erickson is also showrunner, and co-wrote the pilot with Kirkman. The pilot finished shooting in February, and the first season will be six episodes, airing in the late summer 2015, then returning for the second season in 2016, presumably also in the summer.
As for the cast, genre fans will likely recognize at least a few of the faces here. Cliff Curtis stars as Sean Cabrera, and has appeared in Sunshine, Live Free or Die Hard, Three Kings, Whale Rider, Training Day and, although we won’t hold it against him, The Last Airbender. The New Zealand-born actor and producer has also starred in the TV shows Traffic, Trauma, Missing and Gang Related.
Nancy Tomkins is played by Kim Dickens, who viewers may know from Lost, Deadwood, Sons of Anarchy, House of Cards and Friday Night Lights on the TV side of things, as well as from films like Zero Effect, Mercury Rising, The Hollow Man and Gone Girl. She’s also in the upcoming film adaptation of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, although what role she’s playing has not been announced.
English actor Frank Dillane may be best known to American audiences as Tom Riddle, AKA the young Lord Voldemort from the Harry Potter films. He plays Nick here, and will star in the The Wachowskis/ J Michael Straczynski-created new science fiction series Sense8 on Netflix. Alycia Debnam-Carey is Fear’s Ashley, and plays Lexa on CW’s The 100.
And that’s… about what we know at this point.
We have had a teaser trailer… that certainly lives up to the “tease” part:
Of course we can make guesses about what will happen, based on the style of story we have here, as it is unlikely that it will be an upbeat story, what with the whole undead-eating-the-living thing, but there are some obvious differences from The Walking Dead to note.
First and foremost, we’re in original story territory here, as this series doesn’t have a comic source material to follow, even in the sorta/kinda parallel of its parent show. While hitting a lot of the same beats, The Walking Dead has played fast and loose with the storylines of the comic, keeping some characters alive far past their deaths on the page, and killing others off far earlier. We’ve had characters such as Daryl created for the show, but in many ways he served as the TV version of Tyreese, even when Tyreese made his first screen appearance, and Carol and Sasha have picked up aspects of Andrea from the comic, when the show version of the character veered far afield from the comic version.
Here though, we have a new cast without comic analogues, and any accompanying expectations for the fans. Equally important, we have a new location, one with a far higher population density (Read: LOTS more zombies), and a pretty significant difference in landscape. As anyone who has ever driven in LA knows, things are not all that conveniently close together, so places that our new cast might consider safe are likely few and far between. We’re also more likely to encounter other survivors in much larger quantities than before, but if the Fear follows The Walking Dead model, odds are good that we’ll see more of the worst of humanity than the best in any large group of survivors.