San Diego Comic Con (SDCC) is always a highlight in The Walking Dead universe. This event always features amazing announcements, trailers for the upcoming seasons and so much more. Over the years, AMC has done a fantastic job promoting the series at this event. Below are some of the best moments in TWDU at SDCC.
This was the first year that The Walking Dead was represented at SDCC. The reason is that the show hadn’t even premiered before this event. The premiere date was set for October 2010. Everything was shiny and new for this series, and the official trailer was released for the first time at Comic-Con.
The first panel didn’t even have any of the cast members present. Joel Stillerman, Greg Nicotero, Gale Anne Hurd, Frank Darabont, and comic book creator Robert Kirkman were the ones to lead the first part of the panel. The cast members present for the second part of the panel were Andrew Lincoln, Sarah Wayne Callies, Jon Bernthal, Laurie Holden, and Emma Bell.
Below you can watch the trailer that started it all ten years ago at SDCC.
In 2011, The Walking Dead had a more significant presence than the first year. This year the cast members included Andrew Lincoln, Jon Bernthal, Sarah Wayne Callies, Laurie Holden, Norman Reedus, Steven Yeun, and Jeffrey DeMunn.
One of the highlights of this year was the story Steven Yeun shared with The Hollywood Reporter “You wake up, do a tick check – you check everywhere – you go to work, you take it all in, and you sweat your butt off, and then you come home and do another tick check. There are ticks where we shoot — they’re small, and you don’t notice them … one of them climbed my mountain and planted a flag right on the peak of my mountain.” Then Norman Reedus quickly motioned to his privates.
When 2012 came around, The Walking Dead upped its Comic-Con presence with The Walking Dead: Escape. This was a zombie vs. survivor experience where participants experienced what it is like in a zombie apocalypse.
Participants had three choices: being a survivor trying to stay alive against a zombie-infested world, transforming into a walker and joining the undead, or being a spectator who just watched things unfold.
The video below gives you a quick peek at the experience.
In its fourth year of attendance, The Walking Dead’s panel was held in Hall H. Cast members attending the panel were Andrew Lincoln, Norman Reedus, Steven Yeun, Lauren Cohan, Danai Gurira, David Morrissey, Scott Wilson, and Chad Coleman. They were joined by Scott Gimple, executive producer Robert Kirkman, executive producer Gale Anne Hurd, executive producer Dave Alpert, and special effects makeup supervisor and executive producer Greg Nicotero.
You can view the panel in its entirety at Films That Rock. It is fun to look back and see this group and wonder if they thought this show would still be going strong seven years later.
This is the year that the Veloster Zombie Survival Machine was introduced. Galpin Auto Sports built it, and it looked super cool.
This year the season 5 trailer was released, and that outstanding promo art with the cast locked up in the boxcar. It was a fantastic shot of seven of the team locked in the boxcar at Terminus, all in a defensive stance, ready to strike.
According to Geeks of Doom, a funny part during the panels was when a fan dressed as a zombie asked if the cast and crew would be doing anything to bring awareness to the infected. Lauren Cohan joked that in August, there’d be a marathon, “Walking for Walkers,” then Melissa McBride added that he should just “look at the flowers.”
AMC didn’t hold back in 2015 when they re-created the revolving door scene from season five, where Noah was killed. The Walking Dead booth dared fans to walk through its maze of scenes. You would start in the food truck, a look back at the Wolves trap from season five, and it ended with the revolved door scene, complete with blood and walkers.
This year The Walking Dead Escape returned with the chance to immerse yourself into the Walking Dead world as a survivor, a walker, or a combo experience where you could experience both.
And the release of the sixth season trailer. The one where Morgan says “Rick,” and Rick looks shocked to see his friend again. We also see Enid at the gate, Deanna in a pool of blood, bodies being buried, and a massive horde of walkers. Backed up by the Hozier song “Arsonist’s Lullaby,” fans went wild in anticipation of this sixth season.
This is the year that Negan was featured on the badges for the event. We ended season 6 with our first introduction to Negan and left with a major cliffhanger.
The long-awaited season 7 trailer was also released, leaving us even more anxious about waiting three more months for the season premiere.
The trailer was brilliantly done with all sorts of flashbacks centered on specific cast members, still keeping us guessing who would eventually meet the business end of Lucille.
In 2017 one of the main topics was centered around the 100th episode of the series—a massive milestone with cause for much celebration. The 100th episode would coincide with the season 8 premiere.
This was also the year stuntman John Bernecker was remembered after losing his life to a fall on set.
Gimple told the audience, after noting Bernecker’s countless credits and how much the stuntman loved his job, “We didn’t know if we should do this panel today. But we wanted to be here for you and do something for John. John was someone who was beloved in the stunt community. He was living his dream, and he helped other people do the same.”
This is the year Andrew Lincoln announced that season nine would be his last. Fans were so sad to hear this and wondered how the series could go on without the leader of our group. It was unfortunate to hear of his departure from the series.
Lincoln told the panel: “This has been the most extraordinary, amazing, and beautiful experience of my career, made possible largely by you guys. In this room and rooms across the world.”
We did learn there would be a time jump, a new Negan, and some cowboys vs. zombies, and did you catch that whispering walker in the trailer? That means the introduction of Alpha and The Whisperers in season nine.
The first thing that needed to be discussed was the abrupt ending of the comics by Robert Kirkman and what it means for the series. But, he assured fans there is a lot more story to tell.
Then fan favorite Danai Gurira, who plays Michonne, announced she would depart after season 10.
Gurira told the fans: “This has been one of the purest joys of my life to play this role and to be among these people and those that aren’t here and you [the fans.]. I’m thankful in ways I can’t express. The TWD family is forever…It was a very difficult decision.”
Then the bright spot, the teaser about the return of Rick Grimes in The Walking Dead movies.
SDCC 2023 looked slightly different as the SAG-AFTRA & WGA strikes were ongoing, meaning actors could not attend the panels. AMC hosted a Walking Dead universe Fan Watch Party in Hall H, hosted by TV Insider’s Damian Holbrook, which provided the fandom with a lot of new and exciting information. This included the first look at the long-awaited return of Rick & Michonne in their own series.
Highlights of 2023:
- The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon full-length trailer and a season 2 renewal.
- The Walking Dead: Dead City season 2 renewal.
- Fear the Walking Dead teaser for season 8, part 2, which premieres in October.
- The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live is the official title of the Rick and Michonne series with the teaser clip below.