Two Big Ways Fear The Walking Dead Season 4 Is Different From Past Seasons

As The Walking Dead is seemingly hitting the home stretch in the All Out War between Rick and Negan's groups, Fear the Walking Dead is shaping up to be a season unlike those we've seen before. And we're not just talking about Lennie James' Morgan hopping over for crossover purposes, and nor are we talking about the trio of new lead characters being introduced. For Fear the Walking Dead's press conference during WonderCon 2018, which CinemaBlend attended, the cast and crew came together to talk about Season 4, and it turns out we can expect some big differences involving both the new villains and how the walkers will be used. Let's see what everybody had to say.

A Different Kind Of Villain

In Season 3, Fear the Walking Dead truly excelled at setting up the core dynamic between the familiar characters and the new additions, since the lines between protagonists and antagonists were at their most tenuous and malleable, with Troy Otto straddling those lines accordingly. But it appears that Season 4 will again flip the script when it comes to the overarching's big bads, which sound like they'll be slightly more straightforward with their villainy than the Ranchers were. Here's how showrunners Ian Goldberg and Andrew Chambliss put it during the press conference:

Ian: One of the great thing about Fear the Walking Dead and The Walking Dead is that it lends itself to reinvention. And one of the things that we got excited about when we started thinking about obstacles that our characters would encounter this season, and adversaries, is we really wanted to create something that hadn't been seen before, and create a different force of opposition. We can't tell you exactly what form that takes, but we hope you'll find that it is very different from the adversaries they've been up against.Andrew: And one of our goals was to create an adversary [where] going up against them isn't as easy as just arming up with weapons and having a fight, but really trying to make a challenge that would force the characters to dig a little deeper and to really test themselves, and test what they believe in and what they're fighting for.

The best horror villains are usually the ones that can't really be defeated simply by shooting them or blowing them up. That usually implies something supernatural is happening, but it obviously wouldn't be the case with Fear the Walking Dead's most sentient threats. So what can we expect?

Having seen the first couple of Season 4 episodes, I may or may not be familiar with what Ian Goldberg and Andrew Chambliss are talking about, not that I'll squeal. Let's just say that some fans might be reminded of another villainous group within this universe, but such comparisons are pretty quickly squashed. So get ready a brand new world full of unfamiliar dangers.

Head to the next page to see what else will be different in Season 4.

Walkers Will Play A Bigger Role

Given the nature of this franchise, there will always be fans complaining that zombies aren't used enough within The Walking Dead shows. That's largely by design with Fear, since its storyline started off just as the outbreak was starting to wreak havoc. Season 4 will kick off after a time jump of some kind, though, meaning we'll be catching up with the Clark family in the midst of a world far more overrun by the dead than it was previously. Here's how executive producer and special effects guru Greg Nicotero explained it during the WonderCon press conference.

The walkers are gonna be a lot more prevalent in the show. In past seasons of Fear we've had so much going on that the walkers always felt sometimes like a little bit like a secondary character, and now they're a bit more front and center. . . . For me, who's lived in the Walking Dead universe for nine years, I read the first couple scripts. I was so excited about it that I called Scott immediately and just said, 'Look, I love this, the storytelling -- it's unique, it's different, it's got its own personality, its own style.' And I wanted to jump over to Fear as quickly as I could.

Greg Nicotero claimed he definitely wanted to get behind the camera to direct a Fear the Walking Dead episode or two, because he was just so impressed with the scripts and where the new stories are heading. Unfortunately, all of his duties on The Walking Dead proper (which include prep work for Season 9), and he wasn't able to make the jump with Lennie James. Still, if he's the one talking about the walkers being more front and center in Season 4, it definitely means something, since it's his team that's making those walkers look as ghastly and ghoulish as they do.

The Walking Dead shows have utilized zombies in interesting ways over the years, though without reverting back to the "giant herd" tactic, it's a challenge to make the shambling skin-sacks appear truly frightening at this point. But all it takes is one good idea to start, and the pulse-pounding terror will hopefully follow.

Fans don't have too long to wait to see how different things will be, as Fear the Walking Dead will make its refreshing debut on AMC on Sunday, April 15, at 10:00 p.m. ET, coming right after the Season 8 finale of The Walking Dead. Check out the first big trailer, and hear what Lennie James had to say about possibly seeing his past return in Fear. And anyone needing to plan out TV viewing for the near future only needs to hop over to our midseason premiere schedule.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native and an Assistant Managing Editor with a focus on TV and features. His humble origin story with CinemaBlend began all the way back in the pre-streaming era, circa 2009, as a freelancing DVD reviewer and TV recapper.  Nick leapfrogged over to the small screen to cover more and more television news and interviews, eventually taking over the section for the current era and covering topics like Yellowstone, The Walking Dead and horror. Born in Louisiana and currently living in Texas — Who Dat Nation over America’s Team all day, all night — Nick spent several years in the hospitality industry, and also worked as a 911 operator. If you ever happened to hear his music or read his comics/short stories, you have his sympathy.