The cast and creators of AMC's The Walking Dead opened up PaleyFest 2013 on Friday night with a lively sold-out panel that featured co-star Norman Reedus being dubbed the new Chuck Norris, executive producer Robert Kirkman's view on killing characters and Andrew Lincoln previewing an end to Rick's downward spiral.
In addition, Laurie Holden fiercely defended Andrea, while Danai Gurira hinted that Michonne may soon start to open herself up to becoming part of Rick's camp. Here are 10 highlights from the panel.
1. Carl's journey is "just beginning." After questioning whether or not his father should continue on as leader of the group, Kirkman says the child soldier's story is only just beginning. "This season is the beginning of his journey," he said. "Where we're going to go with this kid is pretty exciting."
2. How bad is the Governor? Turns out not completely evil, according to executive producer Dave Alpert. "Rick and the Governor are facing the same problem -- trying to keep the communities alive in tough times but the Governor is doing a better job," he says. "Rick is unstable and in an emotional state but there's a part of the Governor that's good and wants to take care of people and be a father figure. The apocalypse has just unleashed the darkness."
3. It's "vagina warfare." That's how moderator/The Talking Dead host Chris Hardwick called Carol's plan for Andrea to whack the Governor after giving him a night of his life. Holden took advantage of every opportunity during the panel to defend Andrea, who she confesses has become a rather divisive character among diehard fans of the series. "[The Governor] is a bad man, how could she not see him that way?!" she exclaimed. "She sleeps with him not because she's having a weak female moment and thinks he's handsome. She thought she could follow through with Carol's plan," she added. "Sleeping with him disgusted her." Her inability to take his life in his sleep, she said, could be viewed as either weak or strong considering she's yet to take a human's life.
4. Lincoln hopes Rick's downward spiral comes to an end soon. "I'm running out of mad gags!" he said, explaining people seeing ghosts in the first year of bereavement is common. "His brain is short circuiting … guilt is a huge part of this guy and he puts himself up on a cross and can't get himself off of it. It's one of his heroic qualities but also a fault." Lincoln teased that something happens during Sunday's episode that will prompt him to get a handle on his grief. "To be called out by your son is pretty tough at the best of times and it's a bit of a moment where he realizes he has to step up. Something happens this weekend that holds a mirror up to Rick and he starts to realize he has to come back from his wounds."
5. There's a sensitive side to everyone -- including Merle, co-star Reedus said, but at the same time the elder Dixon brother is a good guy to have on your side. "He knows there's good in his brother, but then again he's tried to kill half the people at the prison. He's like a cobra -- you don't know when he's going to strike," he said. "The Dixon brothers fight because they've always had to but there's a sensitive side to both of them." Reedus -- who was greeted with shrieks from legions of adoring female fans -- said Daryl's evolution when Merle wasn't around is something that may be something his brother finds appealing. "Daryl is becoming the man he never would have become had this tragedy never happened," he said. "Having people rely on him gives him a sense of self worth and that makes his brother jealous -- it's something he's never going to get."
6. Michonne will begin to open up. After being taken in at the prison, Gurira said her katana-carrying alter ego will start to really mesh with the group and show a side of herself she hasn't yet let anyone -- save for Andrea -- really see. "She's going to start connecting with people again, to go through a healing," Gurira said. ""Rick demands it of her."
7. Glenn is "kind of off." Co-star Steven Yeun warned that Glenn's anger about the sexual abuse Maggie suffered at the hands of the Governor has him seeing red -- and it may only create a bigger rift between the former pizza delivery guy and Maggie (Lauren Cohan). "You keep telling someone who is trying to forget about that moment, 'Remember when that happened to you? I'm going to take care of you,' and it's, 'What the hell, dude! Chill out!' " he said of Glenn constantly delaying Maggie moving on from her harrowing experience. "That's coming from a place of how he thinks he's supposed to protect and be a man but he's still young and that love is still young." Their bond, he added, is still solid despite Glenn's poor approach. "It's a love that is hard to keep down," he reassured. "In his perfect world, the Governor would be dead and he'd be happy with Maggie in a field full of food!"
8. Will Carol (Melissa McBride) and Daryl ever happen? With a throng of fans hoping for the pairing -- and Hardwick almost willing the two characters to kiss when they share screen time together -- Reedus joked he didn't think Daryl had much game. "If it happens ... I don't want to make the first move!" he joked.
9. Andrea thinks Woodbury can be saved. The former human rights attorney will put everything on the line to keep the peace between the two communities. "She totally thinks it's salvageable," Holden said. "Her mind is on mediation. … She sees two leaders who are losing themselves and their humanity and they're responsible for a lot of people and she's the one caught in between." Tearing up, Holden said Andrea's being motivated by someone whom she still holds very dear. "Dale is the guardian angel on her shoulder and she's just trying to keep them alive."
10. How does Kirkman feel about killing off characters on the show? "It's fun!" he joked before quickly getting serious. "It's horrible for me; when we decide to kill a character in the comics, it's no big deal though sometimes it's a little upsetting. … On the show, there are real people involved and it's a close family and taking elements out of that is hard to do but that's the story we're telling." The reward for being whacked on the show? A death dinner, with the cast covering it up as a "birthday dinner," Holden said. Though with the cast often leaving the events in tears, she joked that they may need a new venue.
The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on AMC. What are you looking forward to seeing? Check back to THR's The Live Feed on Sunday for our weekly postmortem with Kirkman and watch the full PaleyFest panel video, below.