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‘Fear the Walking Dead’ won’t answer how the apocalypse started

Executive producer and writer Dave Erickson, left, executive producer and director Adam Davidson, executive producer David Alpert, and actors Kim Dickens, Cliff Curtis, Frank Dillane, Alycia Debnam-Carey, Elizabeth Rodriguez, Mercedes Mason and Lorenzo James Henrie during the "Fear the Walking Dead" panel at AMC's TCA presentation.

Executive producer and writer Dave Erickson, left, executive producer and director Adam Davidson, executive producer David Alpert, and actors Kim Dickens, Cliff Curtis, Frank Dillane, Alycia Debnam-Carey, Elizabeth Rodriguez, Mercedes Mason and Lorenzo James Henrie during the “Fear the Walking Dead” panel at AMC’s TCA presentation.

(Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images)

“The Walking Dead’s” much buzzed about companion series, “Fear the Walking Dead,” takes place a few weeks before audiences were originally introduced to the end of the world. Although the show has no intention of answering all of your questions about how this whole mess began, it will answer a few.

Cast members Kin Dickens, Elizabeth Rodriguez, Frank Dillane, Cliff Curtis, Alycia Debnam-Carey, Mercedes Mason and Lorenzo James Henrie joined show runner and executive producer Dave Erickson and co-executive producers David Alpert and Adam Davidson on stage at the Television Critics Assn. to answer the many questions the press had about the new series.

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For the Record

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Aug. 4, 11:25 a.m.: This article refers to David Alpert as a co-executive producer. He is an executive producer. An earlier version of this For the Record repeated the error. Also, the photo caption refers to Adam Davidson as an executive producer. He is a co-executive producer.

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For example, since this series starts before audiences first picked up with “Walking Dead” main character Rick Grimes, will “Fear” explain what caused the zombie apocalypse?

Erickson was brief: “Short answer, no.”

The focus will be on the dysfunctional family, the character drama. Character was reinforced again and again at the panel. But that doesn’t mean the series will be devoid of walker slaying action. When asked how they will avoid another “Herschel’s farm” experience (a low point for fans of inaction in a previous “Walking Dead” season), the slow burn stakes were addressed. And the hope is for balance.

“I think they’re completely integrated, because we’re experiencing the fall of Los Angeles, the largest city in the United States, through the eyes of this family,” said Adam Davidson, co-executive. “So you’re really in the trenches with them. ... I think that’s what makes it exciting, and that’s what keeps it emotional and grounded. That said, it’s a city of 14 million people, so there’s is going to be plenty of encounters of the walker type or the infected type.”

“And when it gets really boring, we’ll go to a laugh track,” Erickson quipped.

“Fear” may also explore some heretofore unexplained aspects established in the pilot: For example, what did the military do during this epidemic, how did the government respond?

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“When Rick exits the hospital in the pilot of the original show, you see the presence of the military, you see evidence of MASH units,” Erickson said. “We’re never going to tell the story from the perspective of someone at the CDC or someone in the military. ... But we will see a military presence, and we will get a sense of how first responders reacted when things started to go sideways and what they did to protect their own families. That’s very much a part of the arc of the season.”

But don’t hold your breath for crossover just yet. While Erickson said he too would love to see the different groups in this post-apocalyptic world converge at some point, “There’s no plans to do so, there’s no intention of having Easter eggs or character references,” said Erickson. “I’m sure there will be things that come about over the course of the season.”

However, Alpert quickly interjected, “There might be an Easter egg or two. It’s possible.”

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