The Walking Dead has always been a franchise that commanded attention, and Comic-Con 2016 was another banner year for the number one show on television. Anyone who wants to know more about the show itself will likely battle the Hall H line for a chance to enter its hallowed halls to witness the in-person congress of the cast. But those who seek a more intimate and up close exchange with the cast itself know that there is no better way to speak to Andy, Norman, Lauren, Steven and the rest one on one than to set an early alarm for a chance to nab an ever elusive autograph ticket.
For those unfamiliar with the autograph ticket process, it breaks down as follows. Most autograph ticket lines start forming around 7am, some earlier and some later, depending on the celebrities involved in the autograph sessions. Once in line the waiting begins, with reports of line waits as long as 3 hours. At the front of the line attendees draw one ticket out of a container. The catch is that not every ticket drawn is a “winning ticket.” If an attendee is lucky enough to draw a winning ticket then he or she is done and can happy dance all the way home. If a winning ticket is not drawn; however, then the attendee must go to the back of the line and hope that not all winning tickets are drawn before he or she can get to the front again for another chance to draw. This process repeats until the number of allotted winning tickets is reached.
The autograph session for The Walking Dead cast was arguably the most sought after ticket, and I was on hand to shoot the entire hour long session. Almost the entire core cast was in attendance, save for Melissa McBride (Carol), Lenny James (Morgan), Alanna Masterson (Tara), Seth Gilliam (Father Gabriel), and Katelyn Nacon (Enid). With that said, the attending cast included Andrew Lincoln (Rick), Chandler Riggs (Carl), Norman Reedus (Daryl), Steven Yeun (Glenn), Lauren Cohan (Maggie), Danai Gurira (Michonne), Sonequa Martin-Green (Sasha), Michael Cudlitz (Abraham), Christian Serratos (Rosita), Josh McDermitt (Eugene), Ross Marquand (Aaron), and nemesis du jour Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Negan). Series director Greg Nicotero and writer Scott Gimple were also in attendance and signing.
The autograph session was everything a die-hard fan could wish for. The cast was pleasant throughout, laughing and chatting with fans and every fan received not only autographs from the entire cast, but also selfies with their favorite cast members. Still mum from the teaser trailer that premiered earlier in The Walking Dead panel, the cast was all smiles but little speculation as to who could accurately answer the burning question, “Who died at the hands of Negan?”
At this point my opinion is that it has to be Eugene, and here’s why. Eugene – although I would hate to see him and his coiffed mane go – has reached his pinnacle of progress. At the point of the finale, Eugene has proven himself as a worthy asset to the group; he has proven himself to; and made amends with, Abraham and has reached a point where – I feel – he would consider it a decisive act of courage to “die for the group.” The issue that troubled me and tipped me off most, though, is that before embarking on that final RV ride Eugene hands over his plan to manufacture bullets to Rick “just in case” something were to go wrong. So Eugene’s story is essentially buttoned up at the point of impact, leaving Lucille as the only woman who will ever kiss him on camera… over and over again.
To all the fans who view them I say, “enjoy the photos.” This is; however, one of those rare instances where I can honestly say that no one could possibly enjoy these photos more than the experience I had taking them. A heartfelt “thank you” to the entire cast of The Walking Dead for this experience, and an extra special thanks to Norman for the water. I still have the bottle.
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