‘The Walking Dead’ Showrunner Revealed the Game Plan for Filming During the Pandemic

AMC’s The Walking Dead is creating new episodes for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic halted production. Many fans wonder how the cast and crew will maintain the overall tone of the show without sacrificing the health and safety of those involved. Showrunner Angela Kang weighed in.

Walking Dead Negan
Jeffrey Dean Morgan | Jace Downs/AMC

‘The Walking Dead’ cast and crew appeared at New York Comic-Con

New York Comic-Con welcomed several cast and crew members from The Walking Dead. Showrunner Angela Kang and Walking Dead Universe Chief Content Officer Scott M. Gimple joined the virtual panel to tease details about upcoming storylines. Norman Reedus, Melissa McBride, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Khary Payton, and Paola Lázaro also appeared. As a plus, comedian and host of Talking Dead Chris Hardwick moderated the discussion.

The team pondered production during the pandemic

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Many fans of The Walking Dead have wondered how the show will continue the current narrative under the unprecedented conditions of the pandemic. Specifically, medical professionals recommend facial coverings, social distancing, and limiting gatherings to small groups.

The recommendations from the CDC are critical to keeping people safe. But they will pose a challenge for The Walking Dead, which incorporates a large ensemble cast and stories that involve massive hordes of walkers. With those considerations in mind, Hardwick asked the panel, “How will you be able to film with the pandemic?” Without hesitation, Kang gave a detailed and confident answer.

Filming ‘The Walking Dead’ during the pandemic will take meticulous preparation

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In response to Hardwick’s question about how to produce The Walking Dead during the pandemic, Kang described the long process of gathering information from health experts, planning production, and carefully executing the strategy.

“It basically was a months-long process for the production and for AMC to kind of get everything all up and running and safe. You know, obviously, all the unions that kind of represent the actors, directors, the crew. You know, everybody kind of came together, was consulting with, you know, expert epidemiologists about, like, what’s the safest way to do this. So, when everybody comes back to set to film, it’s going to be like a completely different situation.”

An ex-military specialist will supervise health and safety

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Kang broke down the specific steps the crew will take to ensure safe production, including a few high-tech sanitation devices and a military-trained expert.

“You know, it’s like everybody will have masks and face shields, and you know, they’ve done the trailers differently. There’re sanitation stations everywhere. There’s, like UV lights and air scrubbers and things on the stages. There’s a, you know, former military infectious diseases specialist who’s our health and safety supervisor. So, it’s, like, you know an abundance of caution in every way.”

The creative minds behind ‘The Walking Dead’ will find new ways to tell stories

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Kang explained that the writers will creatively adjust the fictional narrative to accommodate the on-set challenges of health protocols.

“And then, in the way that we’ve been doing our creative, we’ve had to think a lot about, like, you know, how do we tell the story, so they’re satisfying and dive into character and, you know, give a little bit of adventure. But being really creative about, you know, how many people we can have in a scene. You know, how can you show things while keeping people a little bit distant whenever we can. So, you know, it’s forced us to really think outside of the box because we’ve had a box around us in terms of, like, how to do it safely. But I think that’s been good for us creatively.”

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