Fear the Walking Dead season two picks up right where the season finale left off. The Clark and Manawa families escape on Victor Strand (Colman Domingo)’s boat, only to find more danger awaiting them on the water. They have to bypass other survivors in the interest of self-preservation.
Frank Dillane and Alycia Debnam-Carey were in Los Angeles this month to discuss the return of the Walking Dead companion series. Debnam-Carey also just ended her run on The 100, so we were able to discuss the heartbreaking goodbye on that show, as well as the new possibilities of Fear the Walking Dead season two. Fear the Walking Dead returns April 10 on AMC; here are seven things we learned from Dillane and Debnam-Carey.
Alicia Clark (Debnam-Carey) lost her boyfriend in season one of Fear the Walking Dead. In the season premiere, Alicia mans the radio on Strand’s yacht and connects with the voice of another survivor. It gives the audience a chance to hear what the zombie outbreak is like from another side, but gives Alicia a sense of normalcy too.
“What I like about it is that it’s a moment of lightness for this whole story and new world,” Debnam-Carey said. “A lot of this show is very dark, and for her, it’s trying to have a connection with someone, trying to find some normality. I think she doesn’t really know how to adapt to this new world yet. The first season she was really kept in the dark for quite some time. She’s only just coming to terms, really, with a lot of the information and events that have taken place. She’s tried to take the initiative and do something helpful by seeking out the radio and survivors, or any kind of indication of life. Instead, she finds herself just being able to be the teenage girl that she actually is. It’s only been such a short amount of time, too, so you don’t suddenly relinquish those habits of just wanting a connection with someone and trusting someone. And finally, just forgetting about this world falling down around you. Yeah, it’s innocent. It’s an innocent, very kind of sweet moment.”
Strand owns the yacht that allows the Clark and Manawa families to sail off from Los Angeles, and he also helped Nick escape the National Guard quarantine. That means it’s also Strand’s call not to pick up other survivors and to make hard decisions to protect the boat. This is still new to Nick, and he might have a new mentor in Strand.
“Nick spends a lot these first seasons just watching,” Dillane said. “I think he’s learning a lot from the brutality and the sort of pragmatism of Strand and what it takes to make a decision and stick by it. So I think he is probably learning. So far, so good. He’s got a boat, hasn’t he? He’s not given us any reason not to trust him. I don’t know. We may live to regret it, but not yet.”
So far, Nick has been open to all of the hard choices Strand makes and hasn’t put up any resistance. It’s still early in the season, though. “There’s nothing that I’ve resisted so far,” Dillane said. “I think he’s still finding his morality and understanding who he is and what is right and wrong in this world. I think he’s willing to learn before he’s willing to put his foot down.”
Dillane wouldn’t go so far as to say that Strand is becoming a father figure to Nick. “I don’t know how consciously anyone looks for a father figure,” Dillane said. “I don’t know if Nick’s consciously seeking one out or if just coincidence has it that he finds himself in a jail cell with this man. I don’t think Nick sees him as a father figure. Maybe everyone else does. I don’t think Nick is looking for a father figure. He’s a grown man.”
Season one of Fear the Walking Dead was, by design, a slow burn. The producers wanted to show the world reacting to the first signs of the infection spreading and the undead rising. They would not react like people in zombie movies, the way The Walking Dead began with survivors arming up to fight the walkers.
The companion show also received criticism for taking too long to get rolling, but season two promises to keep the action going every week.
“It’s condensed, and there’s a lot more action,” Debnam-Carey said. “There’s a lot more that happens in a very small amount of time. That’s the thing fans can definitely look forward to this season.”
The actors are glad to have 15 episodes to explore their characters, too, since they barely scratched the surface with six episodes in season one.
“I felt by the end of episode six I was thinking I could at least do four more, at least,” Debnam-Carey said. “I think we were all looking forward to doing our second season because we finally got to spend a lot more time together, be on location together, and know that we had a proper chunk of time to really immerse ourselves in it.”
Fear the Walking Dead is a completely separate show from The Walking Dead and even shoots thousands of miles away. The Walking Dead is in Atlanta, GA and, per above, Fear has relocated to Baja, Mexico. One actor, though, made it onto both shows playing both a full walker and an infected.
“I know we’ve had one,” Dillane said. “He’s done both. I think he was very good.”
Both shows do share producers Gale Ann Hurd and Robert Kirkman, so this zombie actor made such a good impression in Atlanta that he got hired in Baja too.
“Because they rate the zombies, they have a spectrum of how good you are at being a zombie,” Debnam-Carey said. “So I guess the ones they know that can deliver, they use.”
Get used to some bobbing and swaying when you watch Fear the Walking Dead. Much of the season will be set on the water, but it won’t get too carried away with wavy effects. The boat at Baja Studios is actually on a dock, so they just create the ocean effects in camera.
“It’s steady,” Debnam-Carey said. “The tank itself is pretty steady. We have to maneuver the boat around, too, so that we can get the right angles for all the shots and everything, so that’s really the only moving that happens. We were all worried we were going to be seasick for a while but it was very calm.”
Ultimately, Debnam-Carey had to leave The 100 to fulfill her duties to Fear the Walking Dead. Her character Lexa departed the show tragically, which hurt fans, especially because Lexa was one of the few gay characters on television. The 100 producer Jason Rothenberg published an apology for neglecting to consider the ramifications of how he wrote Lexa out of the show. Debnam-Carey appreciates the passion surrounding Lexa.
“It was hard, but it was also just time,” she said. “I was a part of this, and I was so excited to be able to be a part of this show. Lexa and The 100 taught me so much, and I had the best time on it, and I’ve never been able to collaborate on a character so much before as I did Lexa. So it holds a very, very special place in my heart, and it’s amazing to have such a passionate response to a character like that.”
As The 100 continues, we will see who becomes the recipient of the flame, the chip removed from Lexa’s neck. If part of Lexa is indeed saved on the flame, it’s entirely possible she could appear in the future as a vision to her successor. “I mean, I guess it’s always a possibility, isn’t it?” Debnam-Carey said.