While promising plenty of mayhem and carnage — the Governor is still lurking out there somewhere — this season will seek to more fully explore the humanity of the survivors, explained the show's creative team.
"The theme is, 'Can we ever come back from the reality we've experienced,'" said Greg Nicotero, an executive producer and special effects makeup designer who has worked on dozens of films, including "Oz the Great and Powerful," "The Hills Have Eyes," "Pulp Fiction" and "Day of the Dead."
Added Hurd: "Part of what we're examining this season is, 'Can people change and how much can they change?' We will look at that question through a number of different characters. We'll be delving more deeply into some of the characters we haven't spent much time with."
To advance these storylines, Gimple is utilizing a new structure.
"Our priority is giving every character a story from beginning to end," he said. "We're going to learn more about each character as this twisty plot unfolds. There'll also be a lot of great stuff from the comic books that will be told in a different context. There will be lots of really cool opportunities that will surprise even the most seasoned 'Walking Dead' aficionado."
Lincoln said he was thrilled with his story arc this season. His character has renounced his leadership position with the group and wants to protect his children.
"He's stepped away from the brutality of the world and is putting all of his energies into farming," said Lincoln of his character. "He's providing food within the walls of the prison for the sake of his children. He's realized the error of his ways and wants to be a present father."
Wolfing down a quick lunch in his trailer — adorned with "Duck Dynasty" doormat — the British actor was bouncing with enthusiasm.
"The episode I just read will be the most controversial and talked about of the season," he said. "And I'm not in it. That's how good it is."