“Fear the Walking Dead” season 6 premieres this weekend on AMC with 9 new episodes, but fans have already gotten a taste of the new season, which takes on more of an anthology approach rather than the huge ensemble moments and episodes that its known for.
“It just offers a much greater arc,” says Christine Evangelista, who plays Sherry in season 6. The 34-year-old is fairly new to the series and had the big shoes to fill in terms of longevity and connections with the rest of the cast. But, the character-focused storyline for season 6 helped get her there. “There is such a deeper arc when you’re able to connect the past into the present and talk about all of these things… It just allows us as actors and as the audience to just connect to the stories more. I think that’s been a real treat for all of us to do, it’s certainly great for storytelling.”
Season 6 comes in at the height of a growing war between Virginia’s (Colby Minifie) forces and Morgan’s (Lennie James) community, which he has been growing during recent episodes. But with COVID shutting down production, quite literally right in the middle of shooting, the cast had to utilize their own personal storylines to help keep the show moving.
“Ian [Goldberg] and Andrew [Chambliss] are always striving to create new and different aspects of this show for each season,” says Alycia Debnam-Carey who plays Alicia, one of the more well-known faces from the series. “It was a really interesting and fun choice to make it more of an anthology type of season where each episode is a capsule in its own right, and focus on a couple of key characters. Speaking as an actor, it gives a little more room and space to take a deeper dive into these dynamics and find out a little bit more about these character’s objectives and motives and the relationships that have developed. Sometimes as fun as it is when you’re all in one scene or one storyline, you don’t get to discover all of those relationships as in-depth. So, it’s a real treat as an actor to have a smaller grouping sometimes and it does propel our story forward in a bit of a different way because you do get to see these storylines develop from different perspectives, which is also interesting.”
For Jenna Elfman, who plays fan-favorite June, that sentiment also rang true. “It gives time to explore the past of the characters more and how the reactionary qualities from their past are happening in these new heightened threats and for the present how that will ultimately change it,” she says. “So to have the time in an episode to connect the past to potentially how that’s going to affect them in the future has been an important one. Also, just to remind the audience of who these characters are and what their trauma is and bring on how it’s going to shift or change. Or even why it’s a problem and what they’re facing in the future and what will change moving forward.”
When “Fear the Walking Dead” shut down mid-production in 2020, there was talk from both the cast and crew of the hit AMC show that audiences might not be interested in a world where eerily similar circumstances are now happening. Obviously the pandemic hasn’t had the outcome of zombies wandering the streets, but the effects of loss and need for connection are still there.
“I think one of the things as a theme in a lot of television shows, not just in ours, is that a group of people who are not necessarily related find themselves thinking of each other as family,” says James. “I think that one of the things the pandemic has done, is it has reminded us of all of the people who we are connected to. Even though we might not have said it before or we might not have realized it before, they are vital parts of our life and we can think of them as family. I think that that is one thing going forward that people are going identify a lot more with our show, because it is a group of strangers who have become family. I think one things that the pandemic—or I hope to God it has—is it’s reminded people of just how connected we all are.”
The second half of season six reveals the impact of what living under Virginia’s control has done to each person in their group, which is typically seen by the characters and the audience members as a family unit. Helmed as “The End is the Beginning,” season 6’s exploration into those ties of loyalty, alliances and betrayal might be more impactful now on audiences than ever before.
“I do think people will see [the show] as a little more relatable, just in terms of how we take care of each other,” says Mo Collins who plays Sarah in FTWD. “We’ve become very aware if we weren’t already that it’s imperative for a society to not only be responsible themselves but for one another, and that has so much to do with what I think the storylines do in our world….So, I hope they do that and I hope they feel that.”
Fear the Walking Dead – Season six returns with nine new episodes on Sunday, April 11 at 9 p.m.