The end is the beginning — but it’s the beginning of the end for Fear the Walking Dead. The eighth and final season of AMC’s first Walking Dead spin-off will consist of 12 episodes that will air in two parts, with the first half premiering May 11th on AMC+ and May 14th at 9 p.m. ET on AMC. Later this year, the remaining six episodes will bring the show’s episode count to 113, concluding with Fear‘s series finale. As AMC begins the next phase of its TWD Universe with three new spin-off shows following The Walking Dead‘s Rick, Michonne, Daryl, Maggie, and Negan, the cast of the original companion series previews what’s ahead when Fear the Walking Dead’s ending begins.
“I think the cast showed up and gave their heart and soul and just left nothing on the table,” Kim Dickens tells ComicBook. “And I think the audience is going to feel that. I think it’s going to be very satisfying for them.”
Madison Clark appeared to be killed off when she sacrificed herself saving her kids Nick and Alicia in Season 4, only for last year’s Season 7 finale to reveal that Madison survived when she crossed paths with Morgan Jones (Lennie James). Since we saw her last, Madison has been collecting children — including Morgan’s one-year-old adopted daughter Mo — for PADRE, a community using the kids they separate from their parents to “rebuild the world.”
Season 8 picks up after a seven-year time jump, with Madison, Morgan, and the now eight-year-old Mo (Zoey Merchant) living under PADRE’s cynical rule. June (Jenna Elfman), Grace (Karen David), Dwight (Austin Amelio), and Sherry (Christine Evangelista) are all oppressed under PADRE and the mysterious Shrike (Maya Eshet) — some suffering worse fates than others.
“What I think is going to be great is the intersection of characters after this long time jump,” says Jenna Elfman. “They’ve all been through this individualized but mutual experience with PADRE. And many have been isolated from each other, having their own very heavy experiences.” As the survivors “bring their own PADRE baggage” to Season 8, expect their histories to change who these characters are and how they interact. “The stories become fresh and new,” Elfman notes. “These are the characters we’ve seen together before, but they’re coming together or intersecting on pathways with a whole different, almost new history with themselves and with each other.”
Evangelista adds, “You’ll see the reconnection of all the characters that you’ve known, but you’ll see them reconnect with each other in new ways. And you’ll also see them connect with people that they haven’t [connected with] before. You’re seeing a lot of these new beginnings as the characters are seeing them because we’ve been so separate from each other for so many years.” With so much time passing since Season 7, the viewers are “learning all this information as [the characters] are learning and processing it with each other.”
As for what’s become of Luciana (Danay García), Victor Strand (Colman Domingo), Daniel Salazar (Rubén Blades), and the other survivors who set off on rafts in search of PADRE last season, Karen David says it’s a question that will be answered with each new episode.
“When I was reading the scripts, I automatically was so curious to see how everyone is doing, how all the other characters are doing, and how are they coping? How are they existing under this new regime?” David says. “And what does that mean for them and for all of us, this domino effect that it has on all of us?”
Even with the group separated by PADRE, Rubén Blades hints that Dickens’ long-awaited return to Fear isn’t the only reunion fans can count on this season.
“I think it’s going to be very rewarding to see everyone back. You’re going to see everyone back. And I think that in itself is going to be the most comforting aspect of it,” says Blades, who goes back to Season 1 with Dickens and Domingo. “We can’t talk much about the story, can’t give up things. But I will tell you — there’s a lot of action. There are a lot of [big] moments. Everyone has moments that I think are going to be very pleasant, and scary, and rewarding for the fans.” Unlike The Walking Dead, which ended its 11-season run with an extended 24-episode final season last year, Fear will wrap up with half that amount: its shortened final season consists of 12 episodes, down from the usual 16 order.
“I think that it is hard to finish something so complex because the characters are so complex,” Blades adds, “so it’s tough to finish it in 12 episodes. But I think that people are going to be satisfied with what they see.”
The Season 8 premiere, “Remember What They Took From You,” pairs off Morgan and Madison: an at-times antagonistic dynamic that was teased way back in the misleading Season 4 trailer. (Morgan and Madison wouldn’t meet until the Season 7 finale.) It was a check off the bucket list for Lennie James, who highlights the “complicated, nuanced, tricky, funny, enjoyable, challenging, huge amount of fun that I had building the relationship between Madison and Morgan” — and Morgan’s own complicated character arc this season.
García agrees that fans will be satisfied with the season as a whole, pointing out that Fear has taken place in Los Angeles, Mexico, and Texas, with the final season relocating production to Savannah, Georgia. The swampy setting is “a new landscape,” García says, calling the walker-infested marshes surrounding PADRE “a new world that we’ve never seen before. We start in Mexico — desert, island, ocean — this one is just completely different.”
What isn’t new is what the characters are facing this season: not only will Morgan return to where his story started on the first-ever episode of The Walking Dead, the final season of Fear will bring the show around full circle.
“I think as far as the characters go, we’re going to see some people we see reunite, and there’s going to be reconciliation for past grievances. There’s going to be forgiveness. There’s going to be fights,” Dickens teases. “We all advocated for our characters going in, like, ‘No, if we are going out, we have to honor the story of our character.’ We have to be honest with each other in forgiveness, in our challenges, in everything we do together.”
She continues, “We advocated for our whole history to be reflected in this moment so that we felt like our honest characters were there, laying them out on the table for the end of the show. I think that’s palpable in the storytelling. I think that, ultimately, there’s a letting go that we’ll experience.”
Fear‘s final season wrapped filming in March, but is the end sinking in? “It just didn’t feel like it ended because there’s so much to each one of [our] characters. There’s so much to explore that it just doesn’t feel like it’s done. But it is,” García says. “We knew what we were walking into. We gave everything. And well, I’m very pleased. I’m very happy. I think everybody’s going to just be surprised and love it.”
Fear the Walking Dead Season 8 premieres Sunday, May 14th, at 9 p.m. ET on AMC. Read ComicBook‘s spoiler-free review.
Stay tuned to ComicBook/TWD and follow @CameronBonomolo and @NewsOfTheDead on Twitter for more TWD Universe coverage.