Fear The Walking Dead Season 8: Cast and Creatives Discuss Series’ Finale!

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Chi ha detto che la gioia non può essere trovata nelle profondità marce della fine del mondo? Ogni pessimismo post-apocalittico è bandito nelle scene finali di Fear The Walking Dead, "The Road Ahead"

Who said joy can’t be found in the rotted depths of the end of the world? All post-apocalyptic pessimism is banished in the final scenes of Fear The Walking Dead ’s finale, “The Road Ahead.”. TV Insider chatted with showrunners Andrew Chambliss and Ian Goldberg about how long that emotional reunion was in the making, whether or not they considered resurrecting other fan favorites in the finale. And whether there’s a chance certain Fear characters might appear in future The Walking Dead projects.

Fear The Walking Dead Season 8: Cast and Creatives Discuss Series’ Finale!

When Alycia Debnam-Carey departed last season, did you know she would return for the final episode? Were those plans already in place? And if not, how did that happen?

Goldberg: We knew that we wanted it to happen, and we talked to Alycia about it as early as Season 7. Our dream was that we wanted to have a reunion between Madison and Alicia because this has been a series all about Madison fighting for her family, and it felt right to us that the show should end with her getting her family back.

We kept in touch with Alycia Debnam-Carey as we were building the story, making sure that we could make it align with her schedule and the various projects she was associated with, and there was a certain amount of logistical work that went into it since the stars had to align, we were keeping in touch with Alycia all the time about what we wanted the story to be, and she was always excited about it, as was Kim. We were very fortunate that everything did work out because we couldn’t imagine ending the series any other way.

Fear The Walking Dead 8: Cast e produttori discutono il finale di serie!
Fear The Walking Dead Season 8: Cast and Creatives Discuss Series’ Finale!

Were there ever any discussions about Nick or Frank Dillane? Obviously, his character is dead, but—dream sequences?

Chambliss: We did have some conversations and even had some conversations with Kim about it. Ultimately, it felt to us like having something that came before Alicia’s reveal might dilute that moment, and ultimately, it felt like having that story wrap up with Charlie gave that closure, and then it allowed us to focus Madison’s story on Alicia as we went toward the last three episodes.

Speaking of Madison, when this episode airs, I’m sure fans are going to freak out about those fake-out deaths. Why is there so much messing around with her survival status in this episode, specifically?

Goldberg: Well, we had to keep you on the edge of your seat for the finale! [laughs] I think what it all centered around for us was her emotional revelation over the course of the episode. It was seeing how Madison being in a place of despair when we come into the episode, believing that “no one’s gone until they’re gone” got her kids killed and that she needs to be more pragmatic and practical, and that’s why she killed Troy.

That’s what’s going to protect the family she has left, which this episode is Tracy, and seeing how that philosophy and her actions against Troy have a ripple effect on Tracy when Tracy tries to kill Madison, and we believe that she does kill her—I think it was less of it being a fake-out for us, but it was Madison being hit by a sign from the universe of, “Oh my God, what have I wrought?”

And when Tracy shoots her, she believes Tracy is going to survive because she understands how you have to be. You can’t give people second chances. Only to then realize that’s not the message she wanted to leave Tracy with, and that’s why she makes her sacrifice at PADRE. There are things worth fighting for, even if it’s risky or it might get you killed. That’s what legacy is, and that’s what hope is, and that’s what Madison chooses to fight for.

Fear The Walking Dead 8: Cast e produttori discutono il finale di serie!
Fear The Walking Dead Season 8: Cast and Creatives Discuss Series’ Finale!

I have to ask about Strand and Alicia. He sees her in the mirror, but there are no words exchanged. What went into the decision to have Madison and Strand’s split be less than friendly and then for Strand and Alicia not to reunite?

Chambliss: This is a moment we talked a lot about, and we talked to Kim and Colman about, and we actually wrote a version where Strand interacted with Madison and Alicia after they had been reunited. Ultimately, it felt the power of that moment was more poetic if—earlier in the episode, Strand talks about what he wants for Madison, and he says he wishes Madison could be with her kids. It felt more powerful that he had that confirmation that Madison was going to be okay.

Alicia was going to be okay. He knew he was going to be okay, because he’s found his family. It felt so much more emotional when it was that grace note, as opposed to a scene where all of that would be explicated through dialogue. Colman and Kim felt really strongly that the moment was more powerful that way, that Madison’s legacy lived on with Strand through her actions at PADRE and the sacrifice she was willing to make there.

As the show ends, many of these characters go in completely different directions and even to different areas of the country. Can you share, even vaguely, whether there’s been any discussion of any of them showing up in different spin-offs?

Goldberg: That’s really a question for Scott Gimple and AMC. As you’ve seen, we left the story open, and these characters are going in different directions. Madison, Alicia, and Tracy are going back to LA, but beyond that, the rest of the characters are carrying on Madison and Alicia’s legacy, and they’re going to go rebuild and forge new connections and potentially circle back with each other on the road at some point. Whether or not we’ll get to see that at some point, or if this is the end of those journeys in the Fear finale, I think that question is beyond us.

Fear The Walking Dead 8: Cast e produttori discutono il finale di serie!
Fear The Walking Dead Season 8: Cast and Creatives Discuss Series’ Finale!

Do you guys have a personal favorite moment from the finale? Something you were very proud of, or that stood out to you?

Chambliss:  I really love that final image of Madison, Alicia, and Tracy getting into the car and driving down the empty road for LA. That was an image we knew we wanted to work toward early in Season 8, and what I love about it is that it speaks to the potential and the opportunity of what this new life could be for them.

Goldberg: I can’t tell you exactly how many times I’ve seen the finale at this point if you count all the hours we’ve spent working on it in post, but I don’t think there’s been a single time I’ve watched the Madison-Alicia reunion hug that I haven’t cried. I have to put that one up there for my favorite moment.

When touching on the series finale, Kim Dickens said she’s much happier with her character’s second ending, which saw the once-thought-dead Madison Clark reunite with her once-thought-dead daughter, Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey).

 “The Dell Diamond sacrifice was a surprise to me, and I wasn’t—I wasn’t that happy to leave at that moment,” she remembers. “I also thought Madison would’ve frickin’ climbed or gotten out of there somehow!”

Thankfully, as it turned out, Madison had gotten out of there somehow—and Dickens had the chance to give her character a more hopeful and fitting conclusion.

“I had a conversation before I came back with Ian and Andrew, and they laid out their creative plan and ideas for me, and I was excited,” Dickens explained. “I was grateful that they’d come up with such an intricate plan. I was excited about it all along, and I was very happy with it.”

Colman Domingo, too, was happy with Strand’s happiness, especially considering he thought his character wouldn’t live to see Season 3.

“A character with a moral compass that’s that askew, he can’t possibly survive,” Domingo remembers thinking in the show’s early days. “But that’s exactly what helped him survive so many seasons; he could change, or shift, or become something new and adapt.” As Season 8 approached, Domingo recalls meeting with showrunners Andrew Chambliss and Ian Goldberg to discuss Strand’s story, and Domingo felt that Strand should learn to live. “I think his journey was to find love again and to find peace, and understanding now how to put all of those pieces together.”

Jenna Elfman is simply relieved her character has put all the trauma of unexpected deaths, nuclear wastelands, and dictator-led towers behind her as she drives off to her late husband, John Dorie’s (Garret Dillahunt) cabin.

“For June, it’s a need to go connect back to the source of what healed her in the first place during the apocalypse, which was John Dorie, and just to go be,” Elfman said. “To reorient herself and reground herself, and getting to do that with Dove is very meaningful since she doesn’t have her daughter. I think it’s going to be a time of healing, and she intends to heal and catch her breath.”

Of course, despite the show’s behind-the-scenes changes, there’s no getting away from the moral grayness of Madison Clark

This is a woman who bashed a man’s head in with a hammer in Season 3, and then in Season 8, she (accidentally, but still) sent a child to her death, and who unceremoniously fatally stabbed a man who’d made the turn from villain to anti-hero. It’s no shock, then, that both Dickens and Domingo thought their group of characters might end up as villains. “I think originally, before [Season 4], that’s where I got the feeling it was going—toward Madison being the villain, and we were sort of internally speculating,” Dickens said.

In his interview, Domingo agreed. 

He stated that while many of Erickson’s original ideas were nebulous, he believed a villainous turn was the plan, as was an examination of who was the good guy and the bad guy. “The joke was, ‘You know what’s funny? We go from place to place, from encampment to encampment, and we eventually burn it down, we seem to come in, and suddenly there’s a lot of problems. We take over things and shift things, and that’s alright—but maybe we’re the villains, actually.’ I think that that was the lens that’d swing around, and you’d find out that we were not the heroes of the story.”

Dickens even suggested the show might’ve taken a dark turn, with Madison and Nick destined to wind up in an eventual climactic face-off.

“I think we were speculating back then, and I thought it was going to be a Shakespearean sort of thing. Is the son going to kill the mother? Is the mother going to kill the son?”

Whether heroes or villains, Domingo was thrilled to share the set again for the final season with Dickens.

“Oh, are you kidding me? That’s my best friend!” he exclaimed when asked about Dickens re-joining the cast. “She’s truly my best friend, and I think what we’ve built [between Madison and Strand], I honestly don’t know if it was written at first. I think it was our chemistry; I think it’s all the subtlety and the nuances of the way we played it. That relationship grew, and the writers wrote toward it.” Domingo elaborated that many of the Fear cast have grown close over the years, specifically mentioning Frank Dillane, Karen David, Lennie James, and Alycia Debnam-Carey.

Debnam-Carey’s triumphant return will likely be the highlight of the final episode for most fans, and according to Domingo, the specifics of it were the subject of much discussion behind the scenes. Ultimately, he and the creative team decided not to have Alicia reunite with Strand despite the familial love between them.

“There were many versions of the last episode, and by the time we got to the final version, I said, ‘There’s nothing to say. We’ve said it all,’ Domingo said of Alicia and Strand. “We actually did say goodbye, and I actually did say ‘I love you,’ and she said, ‘I love you, too.’ I didn’t want to gild the lily.”

After shows end, stars often keep mementos.

 Dickens has Madison’s iconic jacket, sledgehammer, and boots. Domingo saved pieces of Strand’s costumes, even a lock of hair from Season 8. Elfman holds June’s bracelet and necklace but hunts for her boots.

“I really wanted my boots, but they were sopping wet,” she lamented. “I was leaving early the next morning, and I didn’t even know how to transport them because it was going to be totally disgusting. I really wanted them because I actually did wear the same pair of shoes from Day One. I wore those boots the whole time, the entire series.”

On the subject of costumes, Domingo agrees that of the Fear characters, Strand was always the most stylish—and he has fond memories of his character’s outfit in Season 7. 

“Villain Strand is awesome, and me and our costume designer, Zureta Schulz, we went ham on that one. We’re like, ‘Oh, no, if he’s getting everything from museums, he’s got to have raided these museums and have put all of that on. He’s wearing history. He’s making himself the iconic version of himself that he’s always wanted to be in this world.’” Domingo chuckles as he recalls the specifics of that look and its allure. “I thought he looked his hottest and sexiest in Season 7. You know, because villains have to look sexy! That’s the rule. If you’re a villain, you have to be sexy.”

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Chiara

Source: TV Insider

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