Today we're posting our coverage of what was without a doubt the most-anticipated panel of the whole 3-day weekend: the humorously named "Bromance" panel featuring The Walking Dead's de facto stars, Andrew Lincoln and Norman Reedus. So without further ado, here's our recap of the biggest panel of the day.
ANDREW LINCOLN & NORMAN REEDUS' WALKER STALKER CON PANEL
Lincoln, who first came to America's attention as a lovesick puppy pining after Keira Knightley in the British rom-com Love, Actually, was the first to walk onstage and the capacity crowd on the 3rd floor of the Atlanta Convention Center at AmericasMart Building 2 went NUTS. Lincoln appeared relatively clean-shaven and spoke in his normal British accent (though occasionally dipping into his American accent he uses on the show). Lincoln is actually joined on stage first by Greg Nicotero as Reedus was running a bit behind as he finished his lunch.
|The Walking Dead star Andrew Lincoln walks onstage before a packed convention hall floor. This was our view from our general admission seats, with hundreds of people to the left and right of us.|
Photo by Sarah Keck/Two Tickets For...
After a minute or two of Lincoln and Nicotero joking around Reedus came through the stage door to raucous applus. Reedus, who first became a cult icon for his role as Murphy MacManus in 1999's indie crime film The Boondock Saints, appeared pretty much as his Daryl character would (if Daryl wore skateboard hats) and held his cell phone out in front of him taking video of the crazy crowd. He then pulled Lincoln and Nicotero to his side and took a video selfie of the three of them with the crowd in the background. These guys clearly knew how to play up the crowed.
As the moderators finally got the trio to start sitting down, Nicotero nabbed the only other solo folding chair on the stage (all the seats were canvas camping chairs), forcing Lincoln and Reedus to share a two-seater, to which Reedus cracked, "Is this part of the 'Bromance' thing?!"
|After a short delay, Norman Reedus joined the stage as he videotaped the crowd's reaction on his cell phone.|
Photo by Sarah Keck/Two Tickets For...
The moderators immediately handed the panel over to the very long line of fans waiting at the microphones set up in the aisles to ask the stars some questions.
- The first question asked by a fan was, fitting for the panel, when did Lincoln and Reedus' bromance begin? Both men take a few beats to think about it and garner some awkward applause before Lincoln slowly answers, "I think it was the moment you threw squirrels at me."
Reedus chimes in saying, "It's such a tight group (on the show). We all mean a lot to each other." Reedus continued by adding, "With each episode, with each adventure, with each death, our group grows closer together." Ironically at this point Nicotero has to bail from the panel to get back to his own duties on the convention floor.
- Lincoln is asked a direct question by a fan (which I missed hearing thanks to the noise in the panel hall) and answers by saying, "There are 3 episodes this season that I've always wanted to make." I wish I had heard the question so I knew the context of that answer.
- A female fan asks Lincoln about his trimmed up face. Lincoln turns to the crowd and yells, "Say 'Hell yeah!' if you want the beard back!" The crowd responds with an enormous "HELL YEAH!" to which Lincoln coyly responds, "You'll have to talk to my wife about that!"
- 7-year-old Brooke, who asked the final question at the Greg Nicotero panel, returns to ask the stars a question. Before she can even ask the question Reedus and Lincoln invite Brooke to come sit on-stage with them. Big applause for Brooke. As she sits in-between the two actors on the love seat she's given a microphone and takes the opportunity to ask if her mother can come on-stage, too.
The panel quickly becomes a lovefest for the two actors as Brooke's mother comes on-stage to join her daughter and the actors. Hugs are doled out from the actors and Reedus asks the mother if she has any questions for them before they go sit back down, to which she hilariously responds, "No! I'm just glad I gave birth!"
- A fan asks the men "If you could switch characters, who would you be?" Both guys take a little while to think about their answer in what eventually becomes quite a long silence. Someone in the crowd shouts out "Carol!" Reedus retorts, "That would be weird." The crowd laughs. Reedus tosses out, "Judith?" causing Lincoln to laugh and joke, "She knows her lines a lot better than you."
- The moderators have a very loose grasp on the proceedings as another fan asks a question I can't make out, but one that Reedus responds with, "I think we should just have one, big Walking Dead naked party." The crowd goes wild at the suggestion.
- A teenage girl walks up to a microphone and mentions to Reedus that at last year's panel he gave her a kiss on the cheek for her birthday. She follows that up by saying she turns 18 in two years and asks if Reedus would go on a date with her when that time comes, causing a bewildered Reedus to ask the crowd, "Is this really happening right now?? You guys have some balls to do this in front of this crowd." He tells the girl to come up to the stage, gives her a kiss, and proclaims, "Wow, I love Georgia!"
- A fan asks about how the actors' characters have affected their lives and how they deal with other actors leaving the show when their characters are killed off. "You get to live with these characters," Lincoln said. "This is my fifth year I've lived as Rick Grimes." To answer the second part he simply said, "When people go, you want to honor their deaths."
- A male fan asks if he can do a three-way high-five with the actors. They're game for the request, so the dude walks up to the stage and while it starts off just fine, the fan accidentally gets a little too excited and hits Lincoln in the face with his follow-through. "Medic!" Lincoln yells in jest.
- A fan asks Reedus how he feels about having two different career-defining roles in Murphy MacManus and Daryl Dixon, and which character is closer to the real Norman Reedus? "It feels good," Reedus says. "Boondock Saints never went to theatres…cuz of word-of-mouth it became this cult film. It was because of fans that it became this thing. It became a people's movie."
Reedus continued the love for the fans by sharing the same sentiment about the show. "Going into the show we didn't know what it would become," he said. "It's become the people's show." So he didn't really answer the fan's question, but the crowd ate up his answer.
- One of the moderators steps in to make a joke about how they were originally going to have Jon Bernthal, who played Shane on the show, crash the panel and have a serious discussion about who really is Judith's father. Reedus jumps on the opportunity by shouting, "DARYL!" Again the crowd goes nuts with laughter.
- A fan asks Norman Reedus who his "super crush" is. Reedus gets big laughs again by simply pointing his thumb at Lincoln before answering, "I met Suzanne Somers a few summers ago. She asked me, 'Norman, did you grow up on me?' And I said, 'You have NO idea.'" Huge laughs from the crowd.
The fan then asks who Lincoln's crush is. Lincoln takes a second to think and then says, "There's a trippy scene in Midnight Cowboy. There's a woman with dark hair, they played a Scrabble game...that had a profound effect on my adolescence." The crowd laughed at that answer while he continued with, "And who was that girl in The Howling? The one by the fireplace?" Regrettably I've never seen The Howling so I don't know who he's talking about, and it didn't seem like anyone else on stage did either.
- A fan asks both men what their favorite character development in the show has been so far. Reedus answers first, saying, "The Cherokee Rose story. Looking for Sophia was good, but the Cherokee Rose thing was mine."
Lincoln answers the question with: "The end of season 2, Shane's transformation. The scene at the end when I had to stab him." Then Lincoln continued, joking, "What a job we have! 'Jon, what a wonderful actor!' And then I STAB him. In the heart. And then my son shot him in the head." Big laughs from the crowd again.
- I missed what prompted the guys to go back to the bromance thing, but Lincoln joked, "We talk a lot off set. My wife is getting deeply concerned."
- More love for the fans from Lincoln as he expresses, "It's the greatest. Gig. In. The World. You (the fans) have taken ownership of the show. We just say the lines. And go grey."
- The second-to-last question of the panel comes from a fan asking Lincoln how Rick survived the start of the zombie breakout while in the hospital and how long does he think he was in the hospital. "I think we decided it was two weeks," Lincoln answers. "The IV drip would've run out, so he wouldn't have had food or water, but not long enough to starve to death."
- The last question is for Lincoln, from some fans asking what the most memorable gift he's ever received from a fan was. Lincoln says he's not really sure but notices the fans are holding something and asks, "Is that a gift for me?" Indeed it is, as the fan brings up what looked to be some sort of woodwork with a silhouette of Rick holding out his gun burned or stained onto it. More hugs are doled about between the actors and the fans, and that wrapped up the panel.
A: Overall the "Bromance" panel ended up being quite the love affair indeed, both between the actors and then the actors and the fans. Lots of fans at the microphone asked for hugs, which the moderators clearly were getting exasperated with, but they never really had control of the situation to begin with. Alas, Reedus and Lincoln seemed cool with it all and genuinely seemed to love the fans and were taken aback by the sheer size of the crowd. The panel wasn't quite as informative as the Nicotero panel was, but it was entertaining nonetheless.
Also, before the panel started there was some pre-panel entertainment, which we've detailed below:
- First up were The Harp Twins, Camille and Kennerly Kitt, "the world's only identical twin professional harpists" as declared on their website. They regaled the crowd with three songs: "Nothing Else Matters" by Metallica, the theme song from Game of Thrones, and finally a song they themselves said "If you don't know this one, you probably shouldn't be here right now," with the The Walking Dead theme song. Check out the Sarah's Instagram video we've embedded below to get a quick taste of their work!
- After the Harp Twins left the stage, the Walker Stalker Podcast guys played a couple of their videos on the screens around the panel hall. The first was a humorous parody of Season 3's Episode 12, "Clear" in which Rick, Carl and Michonne return to the Grimes' hometown to retrieve some weapons and personal effects. I was originally going to try describing the video before realizing the Walker Stalker guys probably had it on their YouTube channel, which they did. So you can check that out below!
Next was a funny music video parody of Jason Derulo's "Talk Dirty" aptly renamed "Talk Dead to Me." Instead of explaining this one you can just watch it in the embed below!
More Coverage from Two Tickets For…'s Trip to Walker Stalker Con:
- Walker Stalker Con Introduction
- Greg Nicotero Panel, Part 1