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Walker Stalker Con panels: Carl, Michonne, Abraham, Maggie

This is posted on Saturday, October 29, 2016 on Rodney Ho's AJC Radio & TV Talk blog.

On Saturday, organizers of the Walker Stalker Convention at the Georgia World Congress Center were able to get many of the current cast members of "The Walking Dead" to sit on panels including the actors who play Michonne, Maggie, Carl and Abraham.

The timing of this convention is perfect given the bloodiest, arguably most emotional episode just aired this past Sunday.

Two major omissions: Steven Yeun (Glenn) and Norman Reedus (Daryl), though both were available for autographs and photos. Andrew Lincoln (Rick) has a panel on Sunday morning and I'll post a separate item about that. Walker Stalker organizer James Frazier added the word "and guest(s)" to the panel so it's possible that Yeun and/or Reedus might pop up.

Lennie James (Morgan) was supposed to appear on a panel with Melissa McBride (Carol) but producer Greg Nicotero was penned in to take James' place. Then at the last second, Frazier chose to cancel the entire panel because McBride arrived late and had other obligations. (Boo!)

I didn't get here in time to catch Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Negan) this morning.

Here are highlights from the two sessions I did see:

Carl  (Chandler Riggs) & Michonne (Danai Gurira)

Carl on Jeffrey Dean Morgan: "It sucks that we have to hate him. He's funny and nice."

Danai on Negan's thought process: "He isn't just this horrific bad guy. He has logic. There's a logic to the way he terrorizes people. There's a system. There are rules. There's a kind of diabolical charm to him. It's very unnerving to realize what you're dealing with. He's not a typical mad man or sociopath... This is a hard nut to crack. This isn't a person who is just crazy [perhaps like the Governor.] There's more to him. He's a more formidable foe."

Danai's reaction to reading the script where she and Rick hook up: "At first, [Rick and Michonne] didn't get along too great. Then we became buddies. Then family. To read those lines, it was a little jarring actually seeing it in black and white." [She also found it oddly uncomfortable during the scene where she was naked in bed with Rick, which was considered a "closed set" but still involved nine crew members.]

Carl on his coolest moment on the show: "It was episode four of season four. When we're at the prison and all the walkers were pushing down the fence. I couldn't touch a firearm until I turned 14. So the writers timed it out on that episode. We filmed that scene the night of my 14th birthday."

Abraham (Michael Cudlitz), Eugene (Josh McDermitt), Tara (Alanna Masterson), Maggie (Lauren Cohan), Rosita (Christian Serratos)

McDermitt on working with Cudlitz: "I was so excited to learn from this man. I got to work with him so much over the four seasons. It was even to the very last scene, I was still learning from him. He's such a professional."

Too soon, McDermitt? "At the end, Steven and Michael were both so scatterbrained."

Maggie on the future now that her family and hubby are gone: "It's going to be difficult. Its going to be very difficult. We get to honor the people we lost. I think about honoring Michael and Steven and Scott and Emily and everyone who poured their heart out for this show."

How Josh creates the Eugene character: "I am inspired by my brother Zach. He speaks so flatly. 'Zach are you excited?' 'Yes.' He's so dry. I took that, knowing his emotional spectrum is about this big. [Small spacing of fingers.] There's freedom you actually have in terms of making more physical choices. It's a lot of fun to do."

When was the last time Cudlitz even visited set? "I haven't been on set since episode three, contrary to what the Interwebs say. F*** them!"

What Cudlitz won't miss? (He will miss his friends naturally.) "I'm not going to miss waking up every day getting covered in s***. Basically, the sweat is suntan lotion. Every vacation I have, every time I smell cocoa butter, it will smell like work."

Political joke of the day: "The script is coded, encrypted. Much more secure than Hillary's servers." [That got a lot of applause from Hillary haters.]

Staying on the list: "They didn't realize they hadn't cut me out of the loop. I have seen the next six episodes. I read them. Then they realized I was still on the list. I know what's coming up. Then I get to drop back and be a fan of the show once again like I was before I was on the show."

Did he come up with his farewell phrase "suck my nuts"? "It was in the script. They are very particular. We can't really improvise, especially the lines that have vulgarities."


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About the Author

Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.