Cast members Andrew Lincoln, Norman Reedus, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Melissa McBride, Lennie James, Tom Payne, Katelyn Nacon and Austin Amelio, along with executive producers Robert Kirkman, Gale Anne Hurd, Greg Nicotero and David Alpert, were on hand to preview the eighth season.
Here are the 8 biggest and best things we learned during the panel.
1. We knew this already, but The Walking Dead fans love this show. The panel started with a short retrospective of the previous seven seasons, with huge cheers for the first appearances of fan-favorite characters like Daryl (Reedus), Jesus (Payne) and Negan (Morgan). Then Hardwick brought out the crew, as well as a little boy named Matthew, who was cosplaying as the armored junkyard walker Rick (Lincoln) fought to impress the Heapsters last season.
2. Creator Kirkman confirmed that there will actually, finally, at long last, be a crossover between The Walking Dead and the spin-off Fear the Walking Dead, which will air its third season finale on Sunday.
"We want these shows to have their own legs, tell their own stories and be their own thing," he said, "and I think we've finally gotten to a place with Fear the Walking Dead where it has its own identity where, you know, we can play with some things.
"There is one character that is going to go from one show, that I will not name, to another show, that I will not name," he continued. "Now, what does that mean? Because these timelines, like... how does that work? Are we going to see an interesting backstory of a Walking Dead character in Fear the Walking Dead? Or are we going to see a Fear the Walking Dead character show up in The Walking Dead and show a future version of the character?"
Kirkman teased that more will be revealed in the coming months. In the meantime, the show's official Twitter account shared this:
3. Greg Nicotero — who has directed 24 episodes of the series, including the Season 8 premiere/hundredth episode — introduced a clip from the Season 8 premiere, saying that the episode contains callbacks to earlier episodes, and that this particular clip contains a shot-for-shot recreation of a scene that will be very familiar to fans. The clip in question showed Carl (Chandler Riggs) as he scavenged for gasoline and met a new character played by Avi Nash and mirrored the very first episode when Rick Grimes first woke up from his coma and walked through a deserted, bombed-out landscape. You'll know it when you see it.
4. Melissa McBride said that Carol, who famously makes good cookies, will be baking "something" in Season 8, to which Hardwick quipped "Carol's edibles."
6. Andrew Lincoln joked that he watches Jeffrey Dean Morgan as "Danny" on Grey's Anatomy to prepare for the scenes when he's being tortured. And yes, Lincoln knows Morgan's character was actually named Denny. It was a whole bit and it was adorable.
7. A fan asked about a (very wishful) theory Daryl and Jesus will get together romantically. "Never say never," said Reedus. Then Payne took his hand and kissed it. Never say The Walking Dead doesn't give fans what they want!
8. The Season 8 premiere will contain at least one first for the series: "It's taken 100 episodes for Rick Grimes to come up with a good plan," Lincoln quipped.
The Walking Dead premieres Sunday, Oct. 22 at 9/8c.