The walkers are coming.
After far too many zombie-free months, The Walking Dead returns this Sunday with an all-new episode. Following the action-packed and heartbreaking midseason finale, Rick (Andrew Lincoln), Carl (Chandler Riggs) and the rest of our post-apocalyptic gang are finally crawling their way back into our homes.
To help prepare you for all the action, drama, and blood that is headed our way, we talked with executive producer Gale Anne Hurd and she promises plenty of ass-kicking adventures in this second half of season four. Read on for exclusive details on Michonne's (Danai Gurira) past, if Glenn (Steven Yeun) and Maggie (Lauren Cohan) could still walk down the aisle, baby Judith's fate and much more...
In this first episode back, fans will get an in-depth and heartbreaking look at just how strained Rick and Carl's relationship has become. "Any relationship between a father and a son, especially a son going through puberty and becoming a teenager ultimately, is going to be fraught with difficulty," Hurd explains. "And that's amplified by the fact that they're now separated from the rest of the group, and Rick still isn't in good shape, so I think it's likely that the balance will go back and forth as to who needs who more."
Carl will have a particularly rough hour this week as the perils of this new life-on-the-run will shake up his overly-cocky behavior. The executive producer teases, "It gives you a glimpse into just how tragic and traumatizing the zombie apocalypse is for children." Damn, and here we thought it looked like they were at Disneyland!
We also pressed for more information on Little Ass-Kicker's whereabouts, but Hurd was pretty tightlipped on Judith's fate: "You know, we've got our fingers crossed for her well-being. I can't say more than that." We're currently crossing our fingers, toes and everything else in hopes that Rick and Carl will be reunited with their little one soon. We certainly don't want another Sophia (Madison Lintz) situation…
Viewers will also get a sporadic glimpse into Michonne's pre-epidemic life in Sunday's midseason return and we will continue to collect little pieces here and there along the way. However, if you're expecting the sword-master's background to be exactly as it was in the comic books, think again, as Hurd says, "Obviously, as with everything in our show, there are changes from what's in the comic book, but it's clearly an element [that we're going to explore]."
Rick and Co. have not entertained the notion of a zombie cure since the very beginning of season one, however, in a rare and hopeful change, many upcoming episodes are going to further explore whether or not an antidote could be possible.
Well, that's something that "I think one always holds out hope that not only did certain institutions survive, especially scientific research institutions, but that a cure can be found—a vaccine, an inoculation, whatever," the showrunner reflects. "That's a storyline that is in the comic books as well, that there's one character who might hold the key to that knowledge." Start making your guesses in the comments below!
As for everyone's favorite post-apocalyptic couple? Hurd hopes that fans continue to cherish their brief, yet oh-so romantic engagement scene in season three. "You know, you don't have to go to Kay's jewelry store in the zombie apocalypse," she jokes.
Many fans, ourselves included, would love to have seen Maggie and Glenn's quaint, yet uplifting, marriage ceremony while the gang was at the prison. However, it looks like our dreams for a happy moment have now been put on pause. "I think it would have been great to have a wedding, but everyone's on the run, and I think survival is first and foremost on people's minds," Hurd explains.
But if there were to be a wedding, the EP explains that she would like to make it the complete opposite of another well-known TV ceremony: "I'd certainly love to see the antithesis of The Bachelor wedding," she quips. "But ultimately it's not going to be the same without poor Hershel walking them down the aisle." And now the tears are coming back…
Although we're still heartbroken over Hershel's demise, (and fuming that The Governor beheaded our beloved veterinarian), Hurd promises that Walking Dead fans will "of course" have the opportunity to connect with new characters. "I mean that's one of the many great things about Robert Kirkman's comic book is that you're constantly encountering new survivors and having to wonder if you can trust them or not," she says.
The Walking Dead's midseason premiere airs Sunday at 9 p.m. on AMC
What are you most looking forward to when The Walking Dead returns? Would you like to see Glenn and Maggie finally tie the knot? Are you surprised that a zombie apocalypse is traumatizing for children? Sound off in the comments below!