The Walking Dead Season 7 was quite a rough one for fans, with the show's cast spread out over several different areas, and Rick (Andrew Lincoln) bowing to Negan's (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) every demand. That all changed in The Walking Dead Season 7 finale, when Rick united Alexandria with The Hilltop Colony and The Kingdom in their war with The Saviors. With production currently under way on the Season 8 premiere, producer Denise Huth shed some light on how different this premiere will be from the previous season.
Production on the Walking Dead Season 8 premiere began last week in Senoia, Georgia, and Entertainment Weekly spoke with co-executive producer Denise Huth over the phone, during their EW Morning Live podcast on Sirius XM. While the producer couldn't reveal any specific details about the season premiere story, she did tease that there will be no shortage of action. Here's what she had to say about what fans should expect from the Season 8 premiere.
"It's a ton of action. It's super exciting. I think it will be really, really satisfying. As a fan of the show, and I am a fan of the show, when I read it, it was like "Awww, I can't wait! It's going to be great!" It's worth the worth the wait to get to this moment."
While production was under way last year, series star Norman Reedus, who plays the crossbow-wielding Daryl Dixon, revealed Season 7 was exhausting and no fun to shoot. The season seemed to be quite exhausting on the fans as well, with the ratings suffering a significant drop throughout this past spring. When asked how Season 8 kicks of, when compared to last year's brutal Season 7 premiere, where both Glenn (Steven Yeun) and Abraham (Michael Cudlitz) were killed, Denise Huth revealed that the difference is like "night and day."
"Oh, gosh, it's like night and day compared to how we had to start last year. They all came back so super excited and it's a big year. These episodes are coming in huge. It's a lot of work. It's just as hard as it's ever been, if not harder. There's just a sense of excitement because the characters aren't in that dark, down place. It was really hard last year. It was hard for the cast, it was hard for the crew, it was hard for all of us. It was a really essential part of the story, and I think we needed to go through that pain to have what we're doing now be so satisfying. If everything we are doing now had happened in the third or fourth episode last year, it would still be cool, but it wouldn't have the impact now because we've all had to trudge through the mud to get here. So it's great. The energy is just incredible with the cast being together, and for a lot of these actors, it's the first time or one of the first times they're having the opportunity to work together because they were so split up last year. So it is exciting for us to integrate a lot of the newer characters with the OGs and see them all come together and take on this one challenge that they share. It makes it a really, really exciting way to begin a season."
When AMC issued a Walking Dead renewal for Season 8 last year, it was confirmed that the Season 8 premiere will also serve as the 100th episode of the show. The producer revealed that it was never designed to have the 100th episode fall on the Season 8 premiere, it just happened to work out that way. Here's what she had to say about what it feels like to be filming the 100th episode of The Walking Dead, and when they learned when the 100th episode would fall.
"It's kind of surreal in a way. Back when we started, we never imagined we'd make it to 100 episodes. It seemed like such a far-off goal, it was hard to even contemplate at that time - we just wanted a second season. It's a huge compliment, the fact that we've been able to grow the story and grow the show and very year it gets bigger, and bigger, and bigger. This year, that's certainly the case as well. And add on top of it that our season premiere for season 8 happens to be the 100th episode, it makes it a really exciting way to come back. The energy here is really good. Everybody is super-pumped up and it's particularly exciting coming off of last year where the season premiere last year was a total 180 energy-wise. It was really tough way to start the season and this year is a really exciting way to start. I think sometime during season 6 we did the math and put the numbers together and realized that episode 801 would be the 100th episode. But it doesn't really change the overall storytelling. Certainly, there's a thought of that and I'm sure (showrunner) Scott Gimple thought about it when he was writing this episode. But it's also just naturally the way the story's being told, and the fact that this is the start of the war, it worked out very well. Fate was kind to us that this was the episode we have for the 100th episode."
Season 8 of The Walking Dead will follow the All Out War story line from the comics, a two-volume story that spanned 12 comic book issues, which followed Alexandria, The Hilltop Colony and The Kingdom in their war against The Saviors. AMC hasn't issued an exact premiere date yet, but it will likely debut sometime in October, during AMC's annual Fear Fest programming. Hopefully we'll get more on The Walking Dead soon as we get closer to the season premiere.