''Rick has stepped up,'' says Lincoln of his my-way-or-the-highway leader. Adds showrunner Glen Mazzara, ''Rick's leadership is what's keeping [the survivors] alive.''
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Michonne (Danai Gurira)
Gurira hasn't let the pressure of portraying a highly anticipated fan favorite get to her. ''There is pressure, but it's not a pressure that immobilizes,'' she says.
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Merle Dixon (Michael Rooker)
After being left for dead on a rooftop in season 1, Merle resurfaces in the high life in an idyllic, champagne-filled settlement. On the opposite end of the spectrum, his brother Daryl (Norman Reedus) is struggling to survive at a semi-abandoned prison. If the brothers' two camps clash, would Merle's fraternal instinct kick in? Says Rooker cryptically, ''Maybe we'll get together, maybe we won't.''
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Makeup artist Andy Schoneberg
Death will look a little different this season. Schoneberg works on the latest crop of walkers.
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Zombie (Alex Wayne)
In addition to the old-fashioned model of human extras-as-zombies, coexec producer/zombie-makeup guru Greg Nicotero also got some new toys, including four new ''rotted, decomposed'' animatronic zombie corpses to play with.
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Zombie (Bethany Murphy)
Nicotero's new stable of animatronic creatures feature radio-controlled eye and jaw movement, with interchangeable heads ''so that we could actually shoot them, then take the head off and put another head on.'' The living, breathing actors are undoubtedly appreciative of this development.
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Michone's ''pets'' (Moses J. Moseley and Theshay West)
As we saw last season, Michonne keeps armless, jawless zombies whose worse-for-the-wear appearance acts ''almost like zombie repellent,'' explains exec producer Gale Anne Hurd.
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Zombie (Michael Koske)
After Rick's hothead friend Shane (Jon Bernthal) was zombie-fied (and then re-killed) last season, it's anybody guess who might show up in zombie makeup come Oct. 14.
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Andrew Lincoln, EW Walking Dead Collector's Cover No. 1