Hordes of “Walking Dead” fans descended on Madison Square Garden Saturday night with the hopes of learning who wound up on the receiving end of new villain Negan’s bat at the close of last season.
Some came in elaborate costumes. There were assorted Ricks and Michonnes, one-eyed Carls and even a few Negans hefting barbed-wire bats.
Big spoilers about the show’s seventh season, which bows Oct. 23 on AMC, were not to be found at the show’s annual New York Comic Con panel, moderated by “Talking Dead” host Chris Hardwick. But there were some clues revealed at the end of the panel, thanks to a clip from the premiere that was well received by the adoring crowd.
Here’s what we learned:
- Viewers will find out who’s getting beaten to death by Negan in the season premiere — no fakeouts, showrunner Scott Gimple promised. “It’s a weird feeling to be that powerless,” star Norman Reedus said of shooting the sixth season finale and seventh season premiere. “It doesn’t look like we’re going to get over that wall. I hated doing all that. It was miserable. It sucked, it really did.” Exec producer Greg Nictoreo, who directed the season opener, added: “Some of the most amazing moments were found not where you’re going to expect them.”
- Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) is worse than the Governor of season three fame. He’s got a “Barnum and Bailey style of justice,” according to Morgan, which viewers saw on display at the end of the season. And they’ll only see worse. But why would anyone follow such a brutal maniac? “It’s not just the charisma,” Morgan said. “A lot of people follow him out of fear of getting an iron to the face or worse. But he’s also kept a lot of people alive for a long time.”
- Unlike previous seasons, which have been a little more contained, season will be more expansive, according to exec producer Gale Anne Hurd. We’ll see more of the “Walking Dead” universe, including King Ezekiel (Khary Payton) and his terrifying tiger Shiva.
- Tara (Alanna Masterson) doesn’t know yet about the grisly fate that befell her lover Denise (Merritt Wever).
- Lauren Cohan, who plays Maggie, was overcome with emotion at one point during the panel, forgetting the question Hardwick asked. Does that mean Maggie’s dead? Not necessarily, but such a reaction probably doesn’t bode well for viewers invested in Maggie’s emotional state.
- Star Andrew Lincoln wasn’t at the panel, but Reedus told a story about him putting Reedus’ motorcycle on a boat and sending it floating into the middle of a lake. “With a sex doll on it,” Reedus added.