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"The Walking Dead" turns 100 — Season 8 premiere is this Sunday

AMC/Gene Page
AMC/Gene Page

(NEW YORK) — Sunday night’s season 8 debut of AMC’s The Walking Dead is also the hit show’s 100th episode. Executive producers David Alpert and Robert Kirkman, the latter, the creator of the comic series that spawned the AMC show, have a doozy racked up for fans.

The first episode kicks off the “All Out War” storyline from the comics, with Andrew Lincoln’s Rick Grimes leading an army made up of members of the Hilltop, Kingdom, and Alexandria communities against Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s Saviors.

Kirkman tells ABC Radio the first episode kicks off the, “most intense season yet.”

Alpert agrees. “It’s gonna be bigger and badder than anything we’ve ever done on the show…So I cannot wait for people to see what we’ve been cooking up…I have to say that the scale and scope of this season is — we’ve never done anything like this before.” 

Lauren Cohan, who plays Maggie on the show, told Live with Kelly and Ryan, “We spent all of last season sort of recovering from a lot of torment, and this year we get on the front foot…I think it’s going to be fun for people to see us strike back.”

For the record, even if you know the comics, this season won’t be spoiled, nor are they required reading for the show, Kirkman tells us. Changing things up from the books was a key part of the Walking Dead TV experience. “I think that a lot of the appeal of The Walking Dead [comic series] was the fact that when you sat down to read the comic book, literally anything could happen, and you’d never expect it. And we wanted to maintain that for the television viewers…We didn’t want comic book readers to be able to sit down on the couch and go, “Oh! Wait ’til you see this, honey, this is gonna blow your mind!” (laughs) We wanted those people to be wrong as often as possible.”

Walking Dead superfan Yvette Nicole Brown can be seen every Tuesday night on ABC’s The Mayor — but on Sunday nights, she can be found glued to TWD. The frequent Talking Dead guest tells ABC Radio that she thought last season, which saw Negan murdering fan favorites Glenn and Abraham, “I thought last season was a little dark, and I don’t think I’m alone in that. But this is my thing about television in general: I allow a showrunner to create the show that they want to do. So I don’t get into the, like, “Well, I don’t know why…” and “I wish they…” You know what I mean? Like, I mean, I’m a ‘shipper,’ so I want Carol and Daryl to get together because I’m a girl and I think they’re cute together. But I would never demand. So: that season was dark, and it was darker than I personally would have liked, and there’s people that left here that I wish were still on the show — but it’s their show! And so I am blessed to be able to watch it and enjoy it, so I’m, I’m gonna take the ride.”

The Walking Dead airs Sunday night at 9 p.m. Eastern on AMC.

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