Lori Grimes Knows You Hate Her: Observations From The 2012 'Walking Dead' Comic-Con Panel

I got to Hall H when the doors opened and even hate-watched the Big Bang Theory panel just to make sure I was in prime position for the super combo of Walking Dead followed by Game of Thrones on Friday. Going into Comic-Con 2012 I ranked AMC’s zombie drama in the top five panels I wanted to attend, but I certainly didn’t have any expectation of it being my favorite overall. After the marathon panel session I put myself through though I can safely say that it was not only my favorite, but also objectively the best.

Stefan agrees: It. Had. Everything. Huge cast attendance. Killer Season 3 preview segment. Useful information and insight. Even good audience questions, which — I’m more than well aware of now — come in short supply at Comic-Con. My press badge allowed me to play photographer amongst the pros while also jotting down notes. The following photos aren’t always in context with the info being shared but the hell if I’m not sharing the images I fought in the trenches for.

UPDATE: Here’s the Season 3 Trailer from Comic-Con.

By all accounts the show has learned from the early Season 2 pacing missteps. I still can’t quite believe how much the five minute long Comic-Con preview ramped up my anticipation for Season 3. They showed it twice it was so good! Things. Are. Happening.

Producers made the date official. Mark your calendars.

The zombies are getting older and hungrier, you see. And to showcase this the zombie design team is amping up the detail with even more aggressive makeup work as well as introducing animatronics for the first time in series history.

I think we’re all in agreement that the show needs an injection of new scenery and — maybe more importantly — new characters. We’re all already excited for Michone and the Governor, but after listening to the actors (Danai Gurira and David Morrissey, respectively) speak about their parts I’m even more confident they’re just what the show needs. Morrissey in particular promises to raise the acting bar quite a bit.

Except in the Season 3 Comic-Con preview he’s a little older, and his hair is a little shaggier. Chandler Riggs wasn’t there so I was particularly surprised at how much the other actors — particularly Andrew Lincoln — glowed over his acting ability. Andrew even went as far as to say, “Carl will blow your mind in Season 3.” The bar for kid acting is set pretty low, though.

The two new (presumably) battling locales could make this the definitive season of Walking Dead.

Like, I knew the guy was British. I’ve seen Love, Actually (like you haven’t). But after listening to him drawl it up as Rick Grimes for two years it’s kind of shocking to hear him sound exactly like Jude Law in person. Fun tidbit: He stays in Grimes accent while living in Atlanta during filming. Also, he frequents a coffee shop where I may or may not arrange a surprise encounter.

Chris Hardwick is a divisive personality on the internet. I’ve never cared to lean one way or another. But I have to give credit where it is due and that guy owned it while moderating. After watching many not come close to his energy, feel for the room, joke-making ability, and all around directing of the panel, I can safely say Hardwick would be my top choice for moderator any day. I know he’s close to the show and all, but dude is reason numero uno this was one of the best panels at Comic-Con 2012.

Sarah Wayne Callies made light of the fanbase’s disdain for her character early in the panel with a story of how people will tell her what a b*tch she is when she’s grocery shopping with her daughter, but close to the end of the panel she made some heartfelt comments on where Lori is coming from, what she’s experienced, and how Lori never explicitly told Rick to kill Shane. It was almost a plea for compassion. I really thought she might bring up laundry at any moment.

Serious swoonage was going down in Hall H. And Norman Reedus couldn’t have been cooler about it. This nice lady just about fainted when he showed his appreciation.

Where the ladies were trending Daryl a series of girls under the age of 15 professed their love to Steven Yeun, which made for some great pedo innuendo. Hardwick in particular ran with this, which may have been where he officially won me over.

Not sure if it’s the accent or that she was all dolled up or just a combination of the two, but YOWZA Lauren Cohan.

One of the odder moments of the panel took place when a fan asked how the actors themselves would fair in a zombie apocalypse. Steven Yeun proceeded to dive into how he’d fight if attractive females were around but if it was all dudes he’d take the easy way out. I’m still a bit confused.

And he’s got some sort of permanent T1000-style blade in place of an arm that we briefly got a glimpse of at the end of the Comic-Con preview. Get excited.