Here’s what we know about Season 5 so far, Walking Dead faithful. The action picks up right where Season 4 left off, and co-executive producer Robert Kirkman promises that we’ll learn more about the residents of Terminus (apparently called “Terminans”) from the get-go in a season that will adhere closely to the comic-book storylines. And yes, despite horrific snippets of what looks like a human slaughterhouse in the lightning-paced Season 5 trailer, our captives in that train car do appear to escape, thanks to Dr. Eugene’s (Josh McDermitt) promise of a cure in Washington, D.C.
Carol (Melissa McBride), Tyreese (Chad Coleman) and Baby Judith get reunited with the group, too — for better or for worse.
As for Beth (Emily Kinney), who was snatched away from Daryl toward the end of Season 4, the Season 5 trailer that debuted at this summer’s San Diego Comic-Con shows Hershel Greene’s once-fragile youngest daughter wearing a prisoner’s blue jumpsuit in a very foreboding place. And while Kinney says she’s as surprised as any of us that Beth has made it this far in a show that has proved its gleeful willingness to kill off core characters, she knew the young woman had it in her all along.
“I do think there’s a point in which people — especially in this show and this world — once you decide you’re not going to opt out, you just fight to the end,” Kinney says. “Once Beth got past wanting to kill herself, she became a new person and a fighter that came from that moment and that decision. That she wasn’t going to opt out. That she was going to live in this world and figure it out.”
Whether the Grimes gang manages to reunite with her as they head out of Terminus with Gareth (Andrew J. West) and his minions in tow remains to be seen, but the first stop on their journey appears to be Atlanta, with the comic-book hot spot the Alexandria Safe-Zone in the future, as well. By episode 4, a whole new group of survivors emerges.
“The tone is going to be more intense,” says McDermitt. “It’s wild, it’s hair-raising, it’s exciting. It usually takes me an hour to read the scripts anyway, but with these scripts, it’s so action-packed and the pacing is tremendous, so I’m blowing through them in about 40 minutes and I’m just like wow. I can’t even believe that this season is able to go to the places that they’re going and I just cannot wait for people to see it. It’s just going to be insane.”
McDermitt also says that Dr. Eugene, Abraham (Michael Cudlitz) and Rosita’s (Christian Serratos) backstory — where they came from and who their previous traveling companions were — will figure into Season 5, as well.
As for new characters, The Wire‘s Seth Gilliam has signed on as Father Gabriel Stokes, a troubled priest who lets the group use his church as a refuge, and Tyler James Williams (Everybody Hates Chris) will appear as a series-only character named Noah. Rumors of Safe-Zone recruiter Aaron and the spectacularly brutal Negan abound, as well, though no casting announcements have been made to solidify the talk.
In the meantime, after several seasons’ worth of front-office upheaval, McDermitt says this current Walking Dead family is a well-oiled and supportive machine.
“Absolutely — everybody is the best at what they do and we got ’em all here,” McDermitt says. “I wasn’t here with the changing of the guard with the new showrunners — I’ve only been under [executive producer] Scott Gimple’s reign — but I know that it’s not shaky at all. It’s very much a collaborative effort, and it’s nice to be able to trust those people and the writers and the crew and have them trust you back, because we’re all working on this together and working toward this common goal of making the best television show we can possibly make. That’s what makes it really fun.”
Season 5 of The Walking Dead premieres on AMC Sunday, Oct. 12 at 9/8CT.
Photos: AMC/Gene Page