Move over, Game of Thrones -- The Walking Dead is reclaiming its throne as the deadliest show on TV!
As the sixth season of the smash AMC series approaches, it's clear that no character -- no matter how beloved! -- is safe from the decaying, flesh-craving clutches of the undead.
To help curb your post-apocalyptic cravings before Sunday's thrilling 90-minute premiere, ETonline is serving up exclusive new details from The Walking Dead's showrunner and stars on why this is the most exhilarating and devastating season we've ever had.
"It's big, it's epic," executive producer Gale Anne Hurd teased of the action-packed episode. "But at the same time, we maintain that intimacy between the characters."
"To me it is the Mission Impossible season," star Lauren Cohan, who plays Maggie, dished. "In terms of action, adventure and all of the gore and the emotional depths that we go to -- it's just like we just turned up the dial. It's really been the most exhilarating, the most thrilling, and the most bruise-ridden season, but all for the best outcomes."
Ethan Embry, who joins our gang in season six as Alexandria resident Carter, was shocked at just how many twist and turns were packed into this first episode. "When I read the script for the season six premiere, I had seen all the episodes. I'm up to speed on all of it," the self-proclaimed "TWD superfan" admitted. "And this one, without a doubt, is one of the biggest and intense episodes they've ever made. It comes out swinging and there's not a dull moment."
Not only is this shaping up to be the most adrenaline-pumping season of TWD that we've ever had, the show has gone into undead overdrive when it comes to casting their flesh-craving extras. "Just to give you some context, last season we had 967 zombies in the whole season," star Andrew Lincoln explained. "[This year,] in just six episodes, we've had 2,500 zombies! So there's a bit of an outbreak at the moment."
Trust us, the term "outbreak" is putting it mildly. Hurd revealed that we're finally going to get the shocking explanation as to how the community of Alexandria has largely escaped the wrath of the walkers. "Everyone has always wondered where are they? How has Alexandria been so safe? Well, this is one part of the answer to that question," she said.
At the end of season five, fans were shocked to see Rick evolve into a crazed, monologue-shouting murderer hell-bent on destruction and chaos. Now, as a new threat shuffles towards his family's home, you can bet that he will use this new take-no-prisoners attitude to fight back -- no matter who stands in his way.
"Rick at this point does not tend to bridge much criticism from much people," Hurd explained. "He has really reached the point of my way or the highway, and as with anyone who takes that position, sometimes you're right and sometimes you're wrong -- but he's certainly not a character at this point who believes in inaction. He believes in taking action and being proactive."
And since this is The Walking Dead, you can bet that there will be plenty of heartbreaking, gut-wrenching deaths -- even though Lincoln wishes they could have a free pass this year!
"Believe us, in the writers' rooms I say, 'Come on, let's just have a quiet year,' [But] no. That's not the way we roll," the zombie-killing star joked. "There will be blood, yet again. Hopefully, it won't be me or my close family, but actually, we've got some horrendous deaths occurring, sadly."
In addition to that ominous threat, Hurd stressed that this year, no character is off limits when it comes to the grim reaper, and there will be tears. "Scott Gimple and Robert Kirkman have been very clear that there is no immunity," she warned. "Now with so many characters and so many regulars, it's terrific to have 16 episodes to make sure that we really get to know each one of them, and there will be some losses along the way."
Catch the 90-minute season six premiere of The Walking Dead on Sunday at 9 p.m. ET/PT on AMC.
Which Walking Dead characters do you think are going to die in season six? Who would be the most heartbreaking to lose? Share your thoughts with @LeanneAguilera on Twitter!
Need more Walking Dead scoop? Take a look at our interview with star Danai Gurira in the video below to get your fix!