No Walkers Here: Toronto Welcomes the Walking Dead

No Walkers Here: Toronto Welcomes the Walking Dead

September 5, 2014 0 By Steph Mernagh

On Sunday morning, the cast of The Walking Dead took center stage in room 105 during Fan Expo. It was absolutely no surprise that the room was packed to capacity with eager fans waiting the arrival of their favorite cast members. This year had a wealth of actors and actresses from the popular TV show that fans could get autographs and photo ops with, and the resounding cheers as they all took the stage proved just how strong the fans are holding on to their favorite characters.

The panel consisted of Lauren Cohen (Maggie Greene), Norman Reedus (Daryl Dixon), Michael Rooker (Merle Dixon), Fanex2k14-44-2Danai Gurira (Michonne) and David Morrissey (The Governor). Two of the five are already dead on the show and the remaining three kept incredibly tight lipped about the upcoming season five premiere. Morrissey, however, was happy to talk about the previous seasons finale, despite the ending meaning he was no longer in the show.

“It’s sad when people have to go and especially sad in Scott Wilson (Hershel Greene)’s case. He is a fantastic actor.”

The entire cast agreed with one another though, and on multiple times, that while they were moving on to other projects and different life stages, it was difficult to leave what they all called their ‘family’ behind.

[blockquote]“We feel as deeply for one another as you do.”[/blockquote]

Cohen admitted during the panel, saying that they all felt like they were closer family in real life than portrayed in the series.

Not only is The Walking Dead a rough ride for fans who tune in every week at home (and I’m talking edge of your seat, sweaty palms, ‘no one can talk unless it’s a commercial’ rule), but it certainly is trying on the actors both physically and emotionally. Between having to say goodbye to coworkers who meet an especially bloody end to working in Georgia in 115 degree weather with ‘bugs flying in your eyes and trying to crawl up your mouth and nose’ as Rooker described it.

Despite this, it’s clear that every actor on the stage cared deeply for their characters, especially Gurira who was more than happy to speak about Michonne being in a veritable war zone.

[blockquote]“Where’s your humanity when everything falls?”[/blockquote]

Gurira spoke on not only being a woman in the middle of the apocalypse, but how other characters influence the ones they come in contact with, saying, “Will you be a Daryl and rise up or will you be the Governor and fall to your demons?” She spoke at length about what it meant to her to be representing such a strong woman in the show, and one who, relatively recently, we’ve gotten to know more about and what she was like before the bottom fell out from under her and she was thrown into an apocalypse, anger and death creating a warrior. She explained her connection to the katana, and how it was “merely an extension of Michonne’s power.” The sword, she said, isn’t like Excalibur, but more about pragmatism, getting the job done and surviving.

Reedus also spoke warmly about his costar Emily Kinney and her character Beth, whom Daryl had been traveling with in the latter half of the season when the main cast were separated in the skirmish that unfolded in the prison.Fanex2k14-46-2

[blockquote]“She is the little flame of hope at the end of a long tunnel.”[/blockquote]

Now that the flame is gone, however, many fans are wondering what will happen to not only Daryl, but the core group of survivors who have just been reunited in Terminus under less than desirable circumstances.

Everyone agreed that while their subject matter on the pages of the script is grim, it’s all they can do to keep each other laughing on the set in between takes and long days. Following that, the panel then took a hilarious turn then too, when Reedus began to speak about his daily routine once Daryl’s bow was brought up.

Reedus explained that his mornings usually consisted of making a coffee and then going to the back yard where he’d set up targets with the compound bow he has. He explained that he liked to do a target practice with the bow, and that many of the trees on his property have arrows stuck so far in them, he can’t get them out. Of course, Reedus also had to explain that he did this while only wearing ‘tie dye tighty whities’, which earned some whistles and cheers from the audience.

Lastly, the panel moderator asked each cast member what special moment really stuck out in their minds during their time filming. Each had a great story to tell. For Cohen, it was in season three when she and Kinney sang around the fire in the prison yard. “I look back on that feeling like family,” she said with a gracious smile. For Reedus, it was Scott Wilson’s last day on set, when everyone wore suspenders in honour of the man that so many, both costars and fans, found hard to say goodbye to. For Rooker, his favorite moment is still happening, and he gestured out to the crowd, “Life is great with these guys!” For Gurira, it’s the spirit of everything the show has to offer. “It’s a gift to be a part of this; the support, the fans, the crew; work is a blessing.” Finally, Morrissey summed it up rather simply; “it’s the experience of being there.”

A saying I’m sure Walking Dead fans are sure to repeat themselves when they recall the panel. Despite that it was a panel run strictly by the moderator who asked all the questions instead of it being a fan-based interaction (most likely due to time; the panel started roughly twenty minutes late), fans still seemed to really enjoy being able to hear their favorite actors talk about the show that they love.

See more photos from the Walking Dead panel Right Here!