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‘The Walking Dead’ Cast and Producers Reveal Premiere Date, Discuss Mystery of Negan’s Victim

AMC announces the return date, reveals new trailer and producers gave some hints (the Kingdom has come!) at Comic-Con.

The Walking Dead Season 7

Frank Ockenfels 3/AMC

Who died at Negan’s famed barbed-wire baseball bat “Lucille”? “The Walking Dead” fans will finally find out on Oct. 23.

AMC announced the show’s Season 7 premiere date Friday at San Diego Comic-Con. “The Walking Dead” returns at 9 p.m. ET that night, followed by “Talking Dead” (10 p.m.) and “Comic Book Men” (Midnight).

Like past years, AMC will split the season into two parts: Eight episodes will air this fall, and eight episodes will air in February 2017.

The producers, of course, wouldn’t even hint at who Negan may have offed. But they promised fans will be riveted.

“It’s absolutely worth the wait,” executive producer Robert Kirkman said. “It’s a fantastic premiere to a fantastic season.”

Gimple revealed that another “Walking Dead” graphic novel setting, the Kingdom, will be seen this season. Khary Payton has been cast as Ezekiel, their leader. 

Executive producer Gale Anne Hurd said “there might be some interesting non-human characters as well.” (That’s presumably a reference to Ezekiel’s lion.) “He’s a bit younger than Ezekiel is in the book and a bit svelte,” said executive producer Scott Gimple. “But he came in and owned it.”

The network gave Comic-Con attendees a first look at the show’s Season 7 trailer, and then launched into a discussion of the aftermath of last season’s brutal finale. Watch below:

The first look trailer pointedly didn’t include any of the “Walking Dead” characters lined up by Negan, but instead focused mostly on new characters. The Comic-Con crowd went especially wild as the Kingdom’s Ezekiel was revealed.

Jeffrey Dean Morgan, who plays Negan, opened the panel with a menacing growl. “I’ve been a fan of the show since it started and the comic book. To step in this role and these people has been nothing short of awesome.”

READ MORE: ‘The Walking Dead’ Season 7 First Look Pic: Negan Commands Deadly Attention In New Comic-Con Poster

On stage: series stars Andrew Lincoln, Norman Reedus, Steven Yeun, Lauren Cohan, Danai Gurira, Chandler Riggs, Michael Cudlitz, Sonequa Martin-Green, Christian Serratos, Ross Marquand and Josh McDermitt, as well as executive producers Scott M. Gimple, Robert Kirkman, Gale Anne Hurd, Greg Nicotero and David Alpert.

As part of the show’s return, AMC is also airing two “The Walking Dead” specials: “The Walking Dead Season 7 Preview Special” on Sunday, Aug. 14 at 10 p.m., and a two-hour “The Walking Dead Recap Special” on Sunday, Oct. 16 at 9 p.m.

AMC

An hour earlier, the cast and producers of “Fear the Walking Dead” discussed the second half of that show’s second season, which returns on Aug. 21.

Executive producer Dave Erickson teased that the show’s level of intensity and violence will escalate to levels “that we’ve never seen before.”

READ MORE: ‘The Walking Dead’ Creator Robert Kirkman Reveals Why He’s ‘Disappointed in George R.R. Martin’

“Everyone did kind of lose their minds at the midseason finale,” he said. “For the first time we’ll see our characters really having to learn how to survive in the apocalypse in a way they never have before.”

Fellow executive producer Gale Ann Hurd said she’s excited that the show is now exploring Mexico.

“As someone of Mexican descent it makes me happy,” she said. “There’s so much to Mexico, the Baja region. There are probably see a lot of things you’ve never seen on television before.”

Producers also revealed a new cast member: Danay Garcia (“Prison Break”), who has joined the zombie drama as a character named Luciana. Garcia’s casting was revealed as she joined the panel on stage with the series’ stars.

Here’s a look at the return of “Fear the Walking Dead”:

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