The world of "The Walking Dead" keeps getting bigger.
A lot of new characters were introduced in Sunday's big premiere, and fans can expect to meet even more down the road.
When Yahoo TV chatted with comic creator and executive producer Robert Kirkman, he noted that the cast of the AMC zombie drama is "always going to be fluctuating."
"It's really cool to see cast photos from Season 1 and Season 2 and Season 3, and they're all different," Kirkman told us at a New York Comic Con event honoring a decade of his work. "And this season's no different ... There may seem like there's a lot of characters at the beginning of the season, but this is a very dangerous world. Bad things are happening to these people all the time, so the cast that we start a season with is always different than the cast that we end the season with."
Two more key characters from Kirkman's comic series are set to make an appearance later this season: Josh McDermitt ("Retired at 35") as Dr. Eugene Porter and Michael Cudlitz ("Southland") as Army Sgt. Abraham Ford.
In the comics, Eugene is a former science teacher who relies on sports coach Abraham to keep him safe. They, along with Rosita (Christian Serratos), run into Rick while on their way to Washington.
The trio will add a new facet to what star Steven Yeun calls a "beautiful season."
"If you equate this season to a song, [Gimple's] really played those levels really well — not hitting a hard note anytime, not banging it out the entire time," Yeun said.
Viewers clearly are liking that song; a record 16.1 million of them tuned into Sunday night's premiere.
The premiere featured a big, bold set-piece in a supermarket, which Kirkman said was made possible when AMC gave the show an extra day to film. And more major action sequences are coming.
"There's actually a few episodes this season that we got an extra day on," Kirkman said. "I think the first episode is a clear indication of how big this season is going to be."
But as Yeun said, it won't be all action, all the time. As the premiere demonstrated, the drama is deepening characterizations and expanding relationships. Everyone at the prison camp has a role — Rick is a farmer, Herschel is a council member, Carol is teaching kids about knives. Even lone wolf Michonne is part of the collective.
"She likes her role to be one where she takes care of stuff, she completes a mission — what needs to get done, what needs to get accomplished," Danai Gurira told us. "Don't try to get me to grow plants and feed the pigs, but I'll go out and look for bad guys to take care of. You're not going to see her do laundry!"
But with all the new additions to the cast, one that we won't see is a dog for Darryl. As Norman Reedus told Yahoo TV at his New York gallery show, "Robert Kirkman told me, 'No one will even watch you anymore, they'll just be watching the dog.' I'd love to have a dog. Maybe a falcon on my shoulder. Maybe that white-haired girl from 'Game of Thrones' can come in on a dragon and we can burn down something."
Now, that would be a killer crossover!
"The Walking Dead" airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on AMC.
- Robert Kirkman