More exciting news from The Walking Dead spinoff series. It was announced a couple of weeks ago that the spinoff--which is currently untitled but going by the codename Cobalt--will be headed up by Cliff Curtis, who will be playing the show’s male lead Sean Cabrera. We now have an official announcement that the show’s female lead, Nancy Tompkins, will be played by Gone Girl actress Kim Dickens.

As Deadline reports, Dickens was selected after a pretty hefty casting effort by AMC. The network screened hundreds of actresses before deciding to cast Dickens in the role of Nancy Tompkins. As Nancy Tompkins, Dickens will be playing a single mother of two who looks like the girl next door, but has an edge to her.

Dickens should certainly have no problem playing a girl next door (with edge), and she definitely should be able to hold her own against a herd of walkers, as she's played a badass plenty of times in the past. In addition to her work as Detective Rhonda Boney in Gone Girl, Dickens has also starred in Sons of Anarchy, Treme, Lost, and Deadwood. In short, she should have no problem holding her own amongst the company of amazing women of the zombie apocalypse already featured in The Walking Dead universe.

In addition to casting Kim Dickens and Cliff Curtis, the spinoff has also signed on Alycia Debnam and Carey and Frank Dillane to play Nick and Ashley, the children of Dicken’s character. Even better news? It looks like the characters will be old enough that we won’t have to go through the “stay in the house, Carl” phase with these two like we did with the offspring of Rick and Lori Grimes in The Walking Dead.

The show doesn’t have an official title apart from it’s clever-sounding codename, and we don’t know much of the story beyond a list of characters and the fact that the spinoff will be set in Los Angeles. So while the spinoff will focus on the same zombie apocalypse we’re experiencing on The Walking Dead, unless Rick’s group in Atlanta does some serious traveling, it seems rather unlikely that the group from The Walking Dead will ever cross paths with the gang from Cobalt.

However, since the as-yet untitled spinoff will likely start a bit earlier on in the actual zombie outbreak, I’m kind of holding out a bit of hope that we will run into some of the tertiary characters from The Walking Dead on the spinoff. Wouldn’t it be kind of awesome if the survivors on the spinoff happened to run into an early, pre-eyepatch, pre zombie head aquarium Governor? That will probably never happen, but I can still dream, right?

Hopefully we can expect AMC to give us more plot details, a premiere, a production start date, or even just an official title in the very near future. Until then, we’ll just have to keep watching the original group of survivors on The Walking Dead. The second half of Season 5 will be premiering on AMC on February 8.

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