The Palyfest salute to “The Walking Dead” drew thousands of fans to the Dolby Theater in Hollywood on Friday. March 17. They came to learn what lay ahead for the survivors as the show heads towards its seventh season finale on April 2. And showrunner Scott M. Gimple didn’t disappoint. “The end of this season is very much the end of a chapter. It’s about setting up this gigantic, epic tale to come; not only in Season 8, but beyond.” Indeed, he noted that the first episode of season 8 will be number 100 and he sees no reason why there cannot be 100 more.
Gimple was joined onstage by 11 of the cast: Andrew Lincoln (Rick), Melissa McBride (Carol), Christian Serratos (Rosita), Sonequa Martin-Green (Sasha), Josh McDermitt (Eugene), Lauren Cohan (Maggie), Alanna Masterson (Tara), Seth Gilliam (Father Gabriel), Austin Amelio (Dwight), Ross Marquand (Aaron), and Tom Payne (Paul). Noticeably absent was Jeffrey Dean Morgan, who plays their sworn enemy Negan, as well as Danai Gurira (Michonne) and Norman Reedus (Daryl). Also on hand were executive producers David Alpert, Greg Nicotero and Robert Kirkman, who created the comic books on which this ht show is based.
Several scenes were screened, with much of the attention focused on Sasha and Rosita as they prepare to go on a mission to kill Negan. Martin-Green is currently filming the new CBS All Access’ series “Star Trek: Discovery,” which has led to speculation about her future on “The Walking Dead.” She left her fate open-ended but did concede, “It’s been truly phenomenal to dig deeper and deeper into the story as I’ve been on the show. For me as Sasha, I feel that all roads have led here.”
During the free-wheeling Q&A session, Lincoln was asked how he sees his character exiting the show, if and when that happens. The British actor made merry with the idea and speculated that, after Rick gets bitten, he discovers that he is the cure. “You see a herd of zombies coming and Rick follows the tracks to go see Carl and the herd walking toward him just separates.”
McBride tried to separate herself from her character, Carol, who has evolved from housewife to heroine. “It’s hard for me to wrap my head around because I don’t feel like I’ve played her as a badass. She just does badass-y things.”
And McDermitt gave a pithy take on his character, Eugene, who may or may not be a traitor: ‘He’s like a cockroach.” As the actor explained, “I don’t feel like Eugene is playing a game. He’s trying to protect himself.Why not align himself with the man who is causing the most fear in his life?”