Robert Kirkman took the stage for his panel, which he has elected to moderate himself. There will be no slideshows or previews, he jokes.
He points out a few major upcoming moments. The Walking Dead Season 8 is coming back on October 22. Before that, Fear the Walking Dead returns on September 10. There’s a Walking Dead issue coming out in less than a month.
Most of the panel will be a Q&A with the audience.
“Do you regret killing Glenn?” a young boy asks.
“In the event that Steven Yeun eventually sees this, I just want to say for the record, ‘Not even a little bit!’ So, no. Maybe a little. A little bit at the premiere. I got to watch that with an audience and when it was happening I was like, It’s a bit much. It’s a bit much.’
Then, with Abraham, he looked back thinking it was a good idea to kill both.
“It was good for the show,” Kirkman said. “I think it was good to have the event for the seventh season.” It injected a lot of new blood to the show, including Negan, who fans really seem to like. “When you guys see Season 8 an what we’ve got planned for this year, it all comes together in a really cool way.
Is every choice up to him, right down to how the walker devolve.
“If you’re handing out credit, it’s all about me,” Kirkman joked. “You may have noticed, we’re not very thorough…We do research, as much as we can. There’s a lot of people on the show, writing staff wise…We al do our own research. Every now and then, there’s things that get in the show that somebody online says, ‘That’s not how that works. That’s not how guns work.’ It’s mostly about guns.”
Daryl and Carol ever going to hook up?
“We’ll just have to wait and see,” Kirkman responded, dodging spoilers. “We are fully aware that it is something people would like to see happen. Or some other people might not want to see. So, I guess the answer is no and the answer is maybe.”
How is Negan in Kirkman’s head? How does he read it?
“There are some words that Negan says that I do not say,” Kirkman said, reading a particular fan from the fan’s phone. “I await Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s notes.
How does it feel it say goodbye to Invincible?
“It’s a little upsetting. I should’ve done some of that in my intro,” Kirkman said. “Last issue comes out in January. Issue #144. Mixed emotions because I’m super excited about what we’re doing,” teasing “big twists and reveals.”
“It’s also a really cool time, because lately, I’m almost talking to Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg daily about the Invincible movie,” Kirkman said. “There’s a lot going on with it, so it’s still really exciting. I’m not done writing. There’s still a few issues to go. I’ve done all my plots. All my plots are done.”
“Maybe I’ll get to issue #144 and go, ‘I’m not gonna end it!’ That’s not gonna happen…”
Deciding what to change for TV.
“A lot of time sits not me. A lot times it’s someone in the writer’s room…A lot of times it comes from hindsight.”
“What if we had this guy say this and it hinted at that? There’s a lot of stuff that comes from looking at a bigger picture. Every now and then, I’ll come in and the Glenn death was one of them, and I was like, ‘It’d be really cool if began killed someone else and they were like, ‘Glenn’s safe,’ and no he’s not!” Kirkman joked. “By doing that, I feel like we’re heightening it for the television audience that doesn’t read the comics.”
Walking Dead after Rick?
“Yeah, I think so. I’ve said before, Rick does not survive to the end. It was years ago so you guys probably forgot but I foresee there being more story after his eventual demise…next issue,” Kirkman said.
“I didn’t know exactly where I was… when I first started Walking Dead, I knew about th prison storyline…I knew they’d encounter the Governor…I was working towards that. By the time I was at issue #6, I was working past that. I had this 50 or 60 issue story…”
There was an ending I had in mind.” “I got to a point where it should’ve happened and I was like, ‘I’m not done yet.’ I would’ve had to start building to it and I was like, ‘Nah, I’m not doing that.’”
Two or three years ago, he came up with how the series will end. He hasn’t written it down yet, though. “The book is really important to me, I feel like we’re always building to something. You really have to do a lot of planning.”
Re-do on TV?
“In a sense, it is a re-do,” Kirkman said. “I’m involved…A lot of times, I’m pushing those changes. I dig it. It’s important to me that I enjoy the show. It’s not really important but it’s important to me. If we were just doing the same thing I would hate show.”
“If it were up to me, there’d be more changes. There’d be lasers and spaceships and all kinds of crazy stuff.”
Is the series in a cycle?
“You do get to a certain point in the series and there are tentpoles,” Kirkman said. “It’s not necessarily a cycle…I feel like if you don’t have those peaks and valleys, the peaks don’t have the effect that you want.”
“There were weeks where I was like, ‘Well, I haven’t written the issue yet.’ I considered for a long time how it would ruin the book if I was like, ‘She could survive a zombie bite!’ It would be the worst plot development. Even though I knew it would be the wackiest, most terrible thing to do, I left it open to, ‘Maybe it wasn’t a zombie bite! Maybe she got hit by a gun,’” Kirkman explained. “I wrote that letter because I wanted to make it clear that when you guys feel a gut punch, I feel a gut punch too. I’m the guy punching myself in the gut, so it’s very bizarre.”
“It is emotional and I did consider not doing it. Hopefully the fact that I do have some writing skill kept me from the terrible plot and not doing it.”
Tease of what’s coming up with Outcast?
“There’s a very big storyline on the horizon,” Kirkman said. “The situation in Rome, West Virginia is getting worse and worse.” Hiding is not something Kyle and his pals can do “long term.” There is a “huge new character” coming in issue #30.
If he could bring back one character for comic and TV, who are they?
“I wouldn’t do it because if Tyreese showed up one day, t’d be like, ‘Well, how’d you…?’” Kirkman said. “I don’t like to play favorites but Tyreese. Maybe Glenn, whatever.”
Does he play with revealing secrets or characters?
“We’ve done that a couple of times,” Kirkman said. “There was the Davidson character that was kind of mystery that he was out there…I try to do things that are realistic…We do leave things dangling like that, sometimes. I know exactly what caused the zombie apocalypse in The Walking Dead. It’s just that it’s dumb so I’m never going to tell anybody. There’s a very short list of what it could possibly be and you’re like…that’s weird.”
“It was baby formula at Walmart!”
Would he kill everyone and start over?
“I’ve considered it,” Kirkman said. Issues 25, 26, and 27 had characters in riot gear and one was Rick Grimes. “When I was planning those issues, I was like, ‘It’d be pretty cool if everybody just died!’”
“Negan,” Krikman said, before confirming Negan can beat the Governor in a fight. “I have a lot of fun with that character.”
Why Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg for Invincible?
“They had a really cool take. They knew exactly what I feel an Invincible movie needs,” Kirkman said. “When I heard it, I was like, ‘Yeah, that’s exactly what I want! But I didn’t know that’s what I wanted!'”
“Seth and Evan are 100% aware of the fact that it’s a very crowded marketplace for superhero films,” Kirkman said. “They not only see that for Invincible to succeed, it has to be fundamentally different from anything that you have seen in the super hero space but they also are already on top of it and have ideas for it. I’m really excited about it. Hopefully we’ll be here, in a couple of years, showing a trailer for it and you guys will be like, ‘Oh, that is not like anything I’ve seen!'”
Advice for art collectors?
“It’s a sickness!” Kirkman said. “I never bought anything to resell it. I don’t really have any advice just try and find an understanding life partner because if you don’t have that then you’re gonna have a lot of weird arguments about paper.”
Is Daryl asexual, as he once remarked on Talking Dead?
“I just meant asexual as in, he’s not really a sexual person. I wouldn’t entirely rule it out. It could be that Daryl is an asexual person because we don’t really see that side of him.”
“I’m a stupid, straight white guy, so I don’t know a lot of things. It’s just not my world. I do try to be as knowledgeable as I can.”
Does stuff in comics make him think it’s too much for TV?
“I didn’t have any intention of putting any animals in the book but I wanted to do heightened stuff,” Kirkman said. “I thought, ‘Guy having a pet tiger would be pretty rad.'”
“When I wrote that, and I was putting Ezekiel into the book, I had the thought of, ‘Well, how are they gonna do the tiger on the show?” Kirkman said. He immediately reminded himself, that is not how this works. “Now, they’re doing the tiger on the show and it looks awesome!”
“That sentiment has made me make the comic weirder and stranger and more difficult to produce. I feel like the show has effected me in a way that I didn’t intend,” Kirkman said. “If the show didn’t exist, I’d probably be like, ‘I’m not gonna do that crazy stuff.'”
One-shot in other comic universe?
“The honest answer is I wouldn’t,” Kirkman said. He has no desire to write for Marvel of DC.
Will we see Clemetine on television or in the comic?
“No,” Kirkman said. “I like that if you want to play The Walking Dead video game, you get Clementine, and you get a unique experience.”
“I think that it makes The Walking Dead more special that the comic has an experience, and they’re very linked,” Kirkman explains. “It would be cool to see Clementine show up and high-five Carl but you’re just gonna have to write some fan-fiction, I’m sorry.”
Fear the Walking Dead crossover?
“Right now the timelines are so different that it’s impossible,” Kirkman said.
“If Oklahoma ever went up in a nuclear cloud, you’d see it on The Walking Dead and on Fear the Walking Dead, you’d see it…I don’t know the exact timeline,” Kirkman said. “FearTWD takes place roughly around the time of Season 1 and beginning of Season 2 in The Walking Dead. Walking Dead Season 8 is taking place with the theoretical Fear the Walking Dead Season 7. We gotta get there.” It’s impossible, according to the fans, with Kirkman adding “for now.”