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Emelia Fredlick

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Andrew Lincoln woos already ardent fans at Walker Stalker

Andrew Lincoln was over a half hour late to his only-half-hour-long panel during Walker Stalker. So the audience was getting a tad worried, not to mention irritated. But by about five seconds into the talk, all was forgiven.

After all, this is the man who first tugged at the heartstrings of women across the world when he held up signs declaring his love for Keira Knightley in 2003’s Love Actually. Now, as Rick Grimes, he comes to 12 million television screens nationwide each week to kick ass, kill zombies (excuse me, walkers), and walk that fine line between justifiably insane and just plain insane.

So, in front of this crowd at least, he can do darn near whatever he wants.

Initially, the panel moderators informed the audience that the time would primarily be a conversation between them and Lincoln. But they quickly dropped that idea, instead letting fans dominate the time—much to their gratification.

The first question came from a woman who softly approached the microphone, murmuring, “Hello, Andy . . . Sorry my voice is shot, I was just yelling at Norman Reedus.”

Lincoln laughed and nodded in understanding, proceeding to tell her, “It’s okay. It takes me a half hour to start work every morning because of all the yelling we have to do at Norman.”

Lincoln embraces the passion of Walking Dead fans, commenting on how lucky he considers himself to have gotten in early on the phenomenon.

He poked fun at his past as an actor specializing in romance and comedy, noting that he has friends who still say, “What the fuck?” when they see him taking out walkers onscreen.

The audience tried especially hard to get some spoilers out of him, but Lincoln is clearly trained in the art of keeping ’em guessing. He teased that in the new season, Rick takes up a new weapon (“Not a gun, not a knife . . . something new”) and that Chandler Riggs, who plays his son Carl, has a moment of incredible acting that’ll go down in the Walking Dead history books. (“It’s time for me to learn from him,” Lincoln said.)

Again: enough to make us feel like we learned something new, but not enough to really give anything away.

I guess we’ll just have to keep watching for that.

As Lincoln said in his final statement of the session, “All I can say is, crazy shit is gonna happen.”

Getting back to the Walking Dead source material

The show is what captured the world’s attention, but the Walking Dead’s roots will always be in books. That’s what Jay Bonansinga was here to talk about at his Walker Stalker panel on Saturday.

Author Bonansinga collaborated with Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman on the three most recent novels inspired by the comic books, Rise of the Governor, The Road to Woodbury, and the just-released The Fall of the Governor, which tell the tale of everyone’s favorite psychotic, post-apocalyptic leader, the establishment of Woodbury, and how its citizens viewed the arrival of Rick, Glenn, and the rest of the crew.

“Robert Kirkman is God,” Bonansinga stated several times, noting that Kirkman’s ideas, storylines, character arcs, creations, tones, and mythology are what set the stage for every move made in the books as well as on the show.

For each of the three books the duo has teamed up on thus far, Kirkman sent Bonansinga an eight-page outline for the story’s progression. That’s eight pages for a 300-page-long book.

Most of the panel was spent deferring to Kirkman’s brilliance, but Bonansinga is clearly well versed in the world of The Walking Dead and knows all there is to know about the group and their idiosyncrasies. He has to be, if he’s going to mess with their timelines.

He did note that the books and the show have markedly diverged, so “even the comic book readers have no idea what’s going to happen in the show.” But they coincide at arbitrary intervals, taking inspiration from one another whenever there’s something too juicy to pass up.

Though Bonansinga wouldn’t take any credit for the creation—or advancement—of the Walking Dead world in his books, he appears pretty enamored with it nonetheless.

“I’d give Michonne her own series,” he commented. “I’d watch Michonne on a desert island, Michonne on a bus…Michonne anywhere.”

“Andrea is scarred,” he later said. “In the books, she’s just a killing machine.”

As Governor series will be drawing to a close (there’s one more on the table), someone asked the question we were all wondering: Would Kirkman and Bonansinga find another way to continue the book series?

Bonansinga nodded vigorously before responding, “Why wouldn’t they do more books?”

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