We’ve already had some tantalizing teases of what to expect from AMC’s The Walking Dead companion show, Fear the Walking Dead. But at San Diego Comic-Con Friday afternoon, the network finally released an extended look at the new series, which debuts Aug. 23 with a special 90-minute episode. AMC has made the trailer available to the public as well, and it offers a chilling vision of a stable society that suddenly, violently collapses thanks to an unanticipated zombie uprising.
That’s a part of the story that The Walking Dead skipped over, instead beginning post-apocalypse when hero Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) was conveniently in a coma. So mastermind Robert Kirkman is using Fear as a way to rewind and depict the end of the world as we know it through the eyes of West Coast-based characters played by Kim Dickens, Cliff Curtis, and Frank Dillane among others. “It’s a new genre for me,” Dickens told the audience at the show’s panel. She plays high school guidance counselor Madison Bennett. “When I first heard about it, I didn’t know if I fit in, and then I read the script and thought, ‘This is the most amazing character.’ I’ve had a few nightmares trying to process it, but it’s been great.”
The stakes of Fear the Walking Dead are established by a chilling line that comes toward the end of the trailer: “When civilization ends, it ends fast.” That thought is almost as frightening as an army of zombies, and executive producer Dave Alpert admitted that his research into the real-world circumstances of societal collapse freaked him out. “What happens when there’s a broken down interruption of the food supply is that the supply is gone in three days,” he said. Co-star Mercedes Mason, who plays Ofelia, daughter of immigrant parent Daniel (Ruben Baldes), echoed that thought: “If there’s an apocalypse, I’m going to starve in six hours.”
Given the prequel nature of Fear the Walking Dead, and the fact that it’s set on the opposite coast from it’s parent show, fans probably shouldn’t expect a crossover event anytime soon. “There are no plans to conflate the two stories,” executive producer Dave Erickson said. “I think [The Walking Dead showrunner] Scott Gimple would kill me if I pitched that idea.” If and when it does come to pass, though, Curtis already knows which fellow survivor he wants to face-off with. “I want to meet Rick,” he said, adding, “I have a bromance with the man.” That sounds like a match made in zombie heaven.
Fear the Walking Dead premieres Aug. 23 at 9 p.m. on AMC.