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The 'Fear the Walking Dead' Showrunner Talks Season 2's 'Zombies on a Boat'

By Cindy Davis | The Walking Dead | October 6, 2015 |

By Cindy Davis | The Walking Dead | October 6, 2015 |

After Sunday night’s “The Good Man,” Fear the Walking Dead showrunner, Dave Erickson appeared on Talking Dead and confirmed that the series second season would take place on a boat (which led to Dustin’s joke that the gang already had their Captain Jack Sparrow in Frank Dillane’s Nick Clark — who bears great resemblance to a young Johnny Depp). All kidding aside, the idea of the main characters being isolated on a boat for any length of time does create concern about maintaining any level of tension; after all, if you’re safe on a boat all season, who cares about the zombie apocalypse? Sure, you’d need food and water, but anyone can fish, and a quick supply run to an island 7/11 would solve most problems; it all sounded a little too vacation-ish to me…unless of course, you’re talking swimming, climbing (that’s a big yacht!), clever zombies, which TWD hasn’t really introduced.

Thankfully, Erickson has taken the time to clarify some of the finer points about next season’s adventures, and though I’ve been a little hard on the series, I’m still curious — at the very least about Nick and newcomer, Victor Strand.

Strand’s “embracing the madness” comment indicates adaptability, and unlike most of the Fear gang, he has a plan. While he immediately honed in on Nick’s usefulness in this new landscape, what would provoke Strand to bring along Nick’s whole crew? Erickson gives a little insight:

“Strand is able to look at any situation and determine the currency. What is going to have value in this new world? His boat has value because it’s something that can allow people to survive and gives him a degree of power. He sees something in Nick he’s responding to and we’ll find out more about what that is, but there’s something enigmatic about Strand. He’s not going to offer kindness unless he feels he can benefit by it. He definitely has a plan and will be figuring things out as we move deeper into season two. “

What’s the plan for season 2? Will the Clarks, Manawas, and Salazars be the only group at sea?

“We end on one boat and the ocean beyond — but what we’ll come to realize and this will be part of what the military is doing — you’ll see that land is no longer safe. At least not in Southern California. Some people have not been quarantined or driven north or south. But there’s thousands of boats through L.A. County. So a lot of people will stock up the boats and try to get to the water and avoid land as much as humanly possible. You’ll see a lot of people trying to survive. If you look at Strand’s yacht, it’s a pretty handsome vessel. It’s something that you can survive on for a good period of time and that’s something others might covet. So when you get to the question of what’s worse, walker or human, we’ll continue that theme. There will be quite a bit of action on the seas — and we’ll split it between land and water. But it’s going to be an interesting dynamic.”

So…Pirates! And zombies on a boat! Zombies in the water? How does all that work?

“My understanding is that walkers can’t swim. The Governor (David Morrissey on The Walking Dead) killed somebody and tossed him into the lake. You see the walker underwater, he’s submerged and is trying to get up. I think there was something weighing him down so he couldn’t float. I have to confirm this with Robert [Kirkman] but walkers can’t swim — I’m sure they’d eventually bloat.”

Whew, it’s good to hear there won’t be superwalkers. But, won’t things get boring with just a few people fighting off would-be-boat-thieves? Will there be new characters introduced?

“If and when we get to the yacht, you’ll see [if the yacht is already populated]. As we start season two, what’s important to me is the internal conflict with our group is important. There’s going to be external conflict and obstacles to contend with. In terms of the number of characters we’ll add, we’re on that now. But it’s always something I want to be careful about because we have a significant headcount and I want to make sure that we’re exploring the characters that we’ve gotten to know and are living with before we add too many more. Because then it starts to become difficult to tell the story of the family. There will be new characters coming. There will be new conflicts and much more drama on sea and on land but I don’t have a specific number yet.

We’ll see at least one character from Flight 462 who makes an appearance. As to how involved that narrative thread becomes, that remains to be seen”

What’s this we hear about Madison having a secret, dark past?

“The things that she’s experienced are secrets that she’s kept for a long time. A big part of the reason she doesn’t tell Travis about Artie [the principal-turned-zombie she put down in episode two] is because it hits a nerve in her history. I’d like to find a way to explore that shame she feels. Obviously there was a survival element and she had to defend herself and Tobias from Artie. But no one in our show is at a point where killing is easy and it’s a difficult thing to share. We’ll discover that there’s a level of violence in Madison’s past that she’s been covering. These things are echoes of her past and eventually those will become stronger and more prominent and she’ll have to reveal some elements of what made her. But this will not be a download in the season two premiere. It’s something to explore as we move forward.”

Will we ever find out what happened to Tobias, the one guy who seemed to understand what was happening right away?

“If we bring any of those characters [Andy, Exner, Lt. Moyer] back, I want it to feel organic. Look at how they’re bringing Morgan (Lennie James) back into The Walking Dead. It has to develop in the same way — but Adams is not dead. I have a feeling that Exner is probably not coming back. In my mind, she was planning to use that cattle pistol on herself.”

How much do the Fear characters now know, and how will that affect the show’s pacing?

“We’ll pick up in a more accelerated pace when we go in to the season. We’ve learned a lot: our characters in their apocalyptic education have learned what walkers are…We’ll have more of a shorthand going in to season two. There are still things for them to discover. They haven’t had the benefit of the CDC download. They know the city has fallen and know things are incredibly bad and they know that this is happening in other states and potentially other countries but they haven’t had anybody say to them, ‘The world is over; this is our extinction event.’ That’s something they’ll have to process as they move through season two as well.”

Read the full interview at THR.

Fear the Walking Dead returns in 2016 with a 16-episode split season.

Cindy Davis, (Twitter)