Fear the Walking Dead is back for a sixth season with a few twists and a change in structure. While last season focused on multiple characters per episode over the course of the season, this time around episodes will take on an anthology format. What this means is that each episode will act as smaller contained stories, still building on a narrative whole, but with more focus on fewer characters. Season 6 also features a couple of the main cast moving behind the camera with Lennie James and Colman Domingo both taking turns in the director’s chair. Ahead of the Season 6 premiere, the cast of Fear the Walking Dead met with the media to discuss what to expect in the upcoming season.
Some of the big questions from last season include how the group will deal with Virginia’s plan to split everyone up and what lays ahead for Morgan. Faced with these new challenges there’s an adapt or die mentality adopted by several of the characters who struggle with change while trying to stay true to their core values.
“I think we’re at a really interesting point you know, I don’t even know how many years we are into the apocalypse,” said Lennie James. “It’s beyond the first wave and it’s beyond the second wave and we’re into the third and fourth wave into what this pandemic and apocalypse has done to us. I think that sense of adapt or die can change on a sixpence as we would say back in the UK. At the beginning of Episode 1, Morgan is ready to die and at the end of Episode 1, Season 6 Morgan is ready to kill. And that’s how you survive by adapting sometimes to the long mission and sometimes to the day to day. That’s how I believe Morgan gets it done really as he’s a man that has adapted as things have gone on.”
“Yeah I think for me too,” said Danay Garcia “when I (Luciana) decided to stay with Virginia I was putting my life on the line. I didn’t know this woman. I don’t know her intentions. All I want is for the group to continue with their goals. I agree with Lennie because everyday you don’t know if you’re ready to die or to adapt to another crazy task that you’re put through. It’s what keeps these characters interesting. You don’t know how far they can go for that goal.”
“In terms of my character,” said Jenna Elman who plays June “it’s what is that talisman that you’re always holding onto. You have your goals, you have your ideals and then you get hit and slammed by these experiences and loss. Then your environment changes and it’s that North Star, what is the most important guiding light for that person at that time? Can they maintain it or does being hit by these experiences throw the talisman out of their hand and they are lost until they scramble through the dirt and find it again. It’s (also) the experiences of the people they come in contact with and the changes in those people that help them. It’s the resolute quality that any character has or doesn’t have that allows them to maintain a grip on that talisman that defines who they are.”
The shift to an anthology format of storytelling allows for deeper looks into relationships as well as conflict, both internal and external for the characters. “Al’s really struggling with how tyranny operates and tries to silence the free press,” said Maggie Grace as she provided some insight into how conflict will affect Al this season. “Virginia wants to control how things are being documented and communicated to the whole population. Al thinks she’s being sent to document failed societies but she’s not entirely sure. I think ethically she’s really struggling with how to best use what choices she does have and what to show Virginia and what not to. She’s still trying to figure out a way that she can help connect everyone to choose a different reality. It’s pretty clear that Virginia is pretty ruthless in her efficiency and how she thinks a society should be run.”
“I think that Strand has been under the guise of a philosophy that he doesn’t naturally agree with for a while,” opined Colman Domingo. “Now the conflict in him is now I have to follow my own instincts and not to follow the leader or any leader. Following your own gut instinct is the key to your survival. So I think he’s doing more things that are like himself, but is in conflict with Alicia. He’s been paired with her and has been responsible to be a part of his better angels with Alicia, but (he) kind of needs to do some dark shit to survive. But you’re here and you need to look away and that’s a huge conflict. Look away.” (Laughs)
“Yeah, I think making hard decisions that’s the definition of Virginia’s character,” said Colby Minifie. “She was a corporate efficiency expert before the shit hit the fan and I think she would go into companies and say ‘You’re fired, and you’re fired and you’re redundant’ and now you guys have this job. (Laughs) I think that’s what she knows how to do and had to do in order to get where she is in her power. Making hard decisions is part of her utilitarian philosophy on how to make her communities work.”
“Raw, unchecked executive power,” Maggie interjected. “ That should work out well.” (Laughs)
“Yeah,” continued Colby. “That’s exactly right.” (Laughs)
Fear the Walking Dead returns for Season 6 on AMC Sunday, October 11 at 9 pm EST.