Comic-Con

Fear The Walking Dead @ Comic-Con: California Setting, Early Outbreak Vibe Yield 'Incredibly Different' Tone

Fear The Walking Dead Season 1 Spoilers

Fear The Walking Dead is not its mothership — and not just because the apocalypse doesn’t arrive ’til the end of Season 1.

Socioeconomics, the role of law-enforcement, and good-old fashioned California dreamin’ (or, rather, the California lifestyle) all play key roles alongside a budding population of walkers, the show’s producers teased at the show’s Comic-Con panel on Friday

The AMC spinoff, debuting Aug. 23, will have a “distinctive and different” feel from the series that launched it, executive producer David Erickson described. The City of Angels is “a place of reinvention. That plays through most of our characters,” who have done things they’re not proud of.

“Tonally, it’s incredibly different,” the EP continued. Since the first season takes place during the span of two or three weeks while The Walking Dead‘s Rick was in his coma (for 45 weeks), “It’s the shark you don’t see. We don’t get to full apocalypse until the end of the season. That’s not to say we don’t have walkers. It starts as a family drama, and we filter the apocalypse through that.”

During the early stages of the outbreak, “There’s a great sense of tension and apprehension,” Erickson previewed. “At first glance, they don’t know what this is. They think they’re sick, they’re on something… We get to show the process by which the city goes down.”

The ensemble will also have a different dynamic, especially as events take their toll on the characters. While Rick seemed like a natural person to take charge on Walking Dead, “people you expected to be leaders might not make it,” executive producer Dave Alpert teased. Meanwhile, others who appear likely to crumble will surprise viewers.

Added EP Greg Nicotero: “The circumstances change people, and what they change those people into is fascinating.”

But will Rick & Co. ever cross paths with the spinoff cast? “There are no plans right now to conflate the two stories,” Erickson replied. “I think [Walking Dead showrunner] Scott Gimple would kill me if I ever pitched that idea. Geographically, it would be quite difficult.”

Los Angeles’ sprawling landscape and diversified economic and cultural classes will factor into the series, which will explore the expectation that money can buy your survival and that the authorities will come in to protect the masses. Meanwhile, what’s happening in Burbank is not necessarily what’s happened on the other side of the city in Brentwood, Erickson described. But most of the action will be centered in east LA.

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