The second season of “The Walking Dead” won’t arrive on AMC until fall, but two cast members, Jonathan Bernthal and Laurie Holden, appeared at the Chicago Comics and Entertainment Expo Saturday to talk about where their characters are at, where they think they will go and who else from Stephen King to Charlie Sheen may or may not be involved when the show based on Robert Kirkman’s Image series resumes shooting on June 1.
“I know we’re going to get to Hershel’s Farm in Season 2,” Holden said during the Q&A, which was moderated by IGN Editor-in-Chief Eric Moro. Although she and Bernthal admitted that they hadn’t read any scripts from upcoming episodes, she did express doubt that the show’s zombie apocalypse survivors would reach the prison used in Kirkman’s comics before Season 3 begins.
“I don’t think we’re going to get to the prison in Season 2, because there’s too much to do,” she said.
Bernthal and Holden agreed that their characters are destined to be loners in Season 2, but they both described the complex emotions going through their heads when they left the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta at the end of Season 1.
Holden’s character Andrea almost killed herself at the close of Season 1, and she told the audience that if anyone thinks Andrea felt “a light bulb go off” and was able to get over her despair, “nothing could be further from the truth.”
Bernthal, meanwhile, faces a unique situation as Shane, the former law enforcement partner of “Walking Dead” main character Rick Grimes, played by Andrew Lincoln. Shane died early on in the comics, but has thus far managed to avoid death. Bernthal spoke candidly about how that affects him on the set.
“[Shane’s death] could be any time. It could never happen,” he said. Bernthal indicated that the type of insecurity actors feel knowing that they could be killed in any episode can be useful in developing characters, though.
“As an actor, it adds something to the atmosphere,” he explained. “And you never know when it’s going to be your last episode, and that’s tough, but it’s cool.”
As for where Shane will be next season, Bernthal didn’t sound optimistic.
“I think we’re going to see a guy who’s really, really lonely when Season 2 starts,” the actor stated, cautioning that the kind of loneliness Shane feels could lead him to do some terrible things.
The two cast members praised the show’s creator Frank Darabont for keeping the plot unpredictable for viewers who have read Kirkman’s comics and went on to stoke rumors about others collaborators for Season 2, including author Stephen King.
“I heard a rumor that Stephen King’s going to write [an episode],” Holden told the audience, earning a round of applause.
Charlie Sheen also came up, but as a candidate for a zombie cameo.
“He wants to be on the show, I heard,” Holden mentioned.
Asked about how she would feel about working with the cast of AMC’s other hit series “Mad Men,” she immediately warmed up to the idea of working with actor Jon Hamm.
“You mean Jon Hamm being on our show and me being his love interest? OK,” she said.
They appreciate Kirkman’s current involvement as well, though. Bernthal even described how having the comics writer around helps him defend decisions to critics.
“Having [Kirkman] be a producer on it and one of the writers, I feel like he gives us a little bit of street cred with the comic fans,” he explained, “so when people are like, ‘Man, you should be dead! Why aren’t you dead yet?’ I’m like, well, you know Robert’s a part of this thing too.”
Thanks to Kirkman, Bernthal believes that the new directions Darabont has gone with the “The Walking Dead” have enabled the TV series to stand on its own, and he called Kirkman’s willingness to let the show deviate from the original storyline in the comics “a real testament to the kind of artist he is.”