Fear the Walking Dead returns tomorrow after an extended hiatus due to COVID 19. The cast including Lennie James, Coleman Domingo and Alycia Debnam-Carey reflected on Season 6 so far, filming the anthology-based episodes, and what to expect in the second half of Season 6.
Season 6 of Fear the Walking Dead was a departure from business as usual for the long running spinoff of The Walking Dead. Shifting to a format that focused on long format storytelling, each episode was devoted to contained stories with some of the main cast. This allowed for deeper looks into aspects of the characters and resulted in some standout episodes. When Covid brought the world to a halt it also interrupted the show’s production schedule and forced the cast and crew to adjust when it was safe to go back on set.
Colman Domingo, who plays Strand reflected on what it was like starting up again. “Productions period, I think everyone would agree,” said Colman “have always been unwieldly, (and) big with lots of hands on things. All it took of course was this pandemic for us to take a moment to think about how we work and about our time and coverage. It was about taking that beat to wipe something off and to stay safe and protect each other.”
“I agree with Colman,” said Danay Garcia. “I feel like it gave us more structure and it was the first time in years that we hadn’t seen each other in seven months straight! Usually, we have a four-month hiatus, but we usually see each other at Comic Con. We’re always in each other’s lives. When we came back, we were so grateful and inspired to be creative and to actually finish what we started. It was such a beautiful start, and we were on a roll and then the apocalypse happened.”
“I think we all felt excited to be back doing what we loved,” added Alycia Debnam-Carey. “That was one of the best things, getting to see everyone again and to play these characters after such a long break. This is a family that we spend so much time with and to suddenly halt in the middle of the season, go through such a drastic change of events, to finally work again it was wonderful.”
Colby Hollman, who plays Wes, touched on how the show’s relevance changed after production resumed. “When the pandemic hit, it made the show a lot more revalent in today’s society, so it upped the ante a bit. We had to get to these characters and tell these stories that are a lot more real and accessible to audiences today. I felt that everyone just corralled, and we knew that what we were doing was real and had a more important voice in what was happening today.”
With the anthology format dominating this season’s structure the full cast has rarely been together. The result limited interaction between a lot of their characters and with Ginny making things difficult for everyone there are a lot of competing ambitions and methods among the group battling each other to try break her iron grip.
“Working on a show for a while that’s what we look for,” said Danay. “We look for those moments, that human side of us that disagree, especially when the stakes are really high. It’s impossible to think the same and it should be a strength that we clash. From an audience’s perspective its how are (the characters) going to come back together? That’s basically life so when we get scripts with conflict and human issues it’s exciting. You want to keep it interesting, entertaining and truthful. I always (look) for that. I don’t know if I’m the dramatic one (laughs).”
“Danay, I think you’re right. It’s exciting,” agreed Coleman. “We all got excited about that. This is when we get to come at each other. Also, you know the history of each other, I won’t say what but even Luciana and I (Strand) have a moment, a look that says hey we have a history. Then you see the challenges the characters have, and do you honor that history, or do you say, forget that history (laughs)?”
“Or forget the history,” said Danay laughing. “I loved that, and Season 6 was full of it. It was a perfect season to come back for 6B thinking that we really have to finish what we started!”
“I felt that it serves a great story telling method,” added Colby. “It shows how strong our character’s bonds really are. These people spent a lot of time apart before the apocalypse and now they are together. They are going to have these moral dilemmas. They are going to have these different points of view on ways of moving forward. So, when they do butt heads there is a sense of profound respect underneath all of it. Yes, I’m going to walk my path, you’re going to walk yours and we’ll butt heads right here. But at the end of the day, I respect you in most cases, so they always seem to find a way back. If they don’t then they don’t but then you have the greater enemies out there that they come together to overcome. It’s cool to see how we can be at odds but still come together to achieve a common goal.”
Morgan, who has spent the majority of Season 6 struggling to build a new community free of the errors of the ones he’s experienced post apocalypse has butted heads with more than a few of his friends on the show. Lennie James notes that despite the resistance they group has encountered at the core they remain close. “I think one of the things as a theme, in a lot of television shows not just ours or in our particular universe, is how a group of people who are not necessarily related come together as family. I think that one of the things that the pandemic has done for all of us is that it has reminded us of the people we are truly connected to and the people, although we might not have said it before or realized it before that they are vital parts of our lives and we can think of them as family. I think that is one thing moving forward, that people are going to identify with our show because it is about a group of strangers that have become family.”
Given the anthology format, James also gave props to the talented actors who joined the production each week. “What needs to be mentioned is the way these actors are coming in at this stage in the show, really jumping in feet first and giving terrific performances. I think the people in episode 3 (Alaska), the people who played the office staff in the building, I think they all did a fantastic job and have been a great addition to the family.”
Season 6B of Fear the Walking Dead returns Sunday night at 9 pm EST on AMC