How Fear The Walking Dead Season 4 Is Making Its Zombies More Interesting

Spoilers are lurking below for the Season 4 premiere for Fear the Walking Dead.

With its sizable time jump and influx of new characters, Fear the Walking Dead has given fans a narrative overhaul with Season 4, and Lennie James' presence will certainly add a new layer to the ever-evolving thriller. And it sounds like the creative team, led by new showrunners Andrew Chambliss and Ian Goldberg, also focused on making the perennial zombie threat that much more interesting. New addition Maggie Grace, who plays the journalistic badass Althea, spoke with CinemaBlend ahead of the season premiere, and she delivered an intriguing tidbit about Season 4's walkers.

I think the fans get excited when the walkers have been in particular circumstances. I guess I can't get into some of the stuff that happens in this season, but they're doing stuff with walkers that they haven't done before. You know, the walkers have their own stories about where they've been. And they wear that on their sleeves, so to speak.

For all that the Walking Dead universe can give its many characters extremely fascinating and emotionally gripping stories, no zombie drama can survive without offering fans a smorgasbord of gross and twisted walkers. And we can apparently expect to see a lineup of more memorable monster moments throughout the season, with particular walker scenarios getting more fleshed out, so to speak. It's a shame Maggie Grace couldn't flesh out her explanation with more depth, but Fear does keep a tight lock on each season's wildest moments

The most eye-grabbing and considerable walkers tend to be those of former main characters, since viewers obviously have a personal history to draw from. But the majority of the zombies on Fear the Walking Dead and its predecessor are of the "jawless rando shambling aimlessly through an open setting" variety, so they tend to only get committed to memory when they're taken out in gross ways. (See: any walker that comes from watery depths.) But by affixing smaller story details to some of these many walkers, Fear the Walking Dead has a chance to creep the hell out of us in new and exciting ways.

Which isn't to say each individual within the show's undead hordes will be getting exhaustive backstories, since that wouldn't be very feasible for anyone. But we'll likely see, for example, organized groups whose members all died together in wild and/or horrifying ways, such as the military or Renaissance Faire employees. Or perhaps close-knit family members, like a husband and wife, or a mother and daughter. Since any walker-fied backstories will need to be imparted largely through visual means, there can't be complicated storyline webs. To use Maggie Grace's words, the message should be simple enough to convey on a shirt sleeve.

Executive producer, director and special effects master Greg Nicotero had previously revealed that walkers would be playing a bigger and more central role in Fear the Walking Dead Season 4. Which makes sense, since the human population would have dwindled in the interim, while the walkers would just keep on coming out of the woodwork. And I, for one, am pumped to see how Fear will remind us of the real lives that predated these zombie forms.

Fear the Walking Dead Season 4 airs on AMC on Sunday nights at 9:00 p.m. ET. Check out where Robert Kirkman places the current Dead-verse timeline, and then head to our summer premiere schedule to see what new and returning shows are on the way.

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.