The cast gets all gussied up for episode 100, and drops some intel on what to expect in the explosive season 8

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The best piece of advice to anyone visiting the set of The Walking Dead in season 8? Bring earplugs. That’s because there is more stuff being shot off and blown up than ever before.

That’s right, the wait is over. The war between Rick and Negan has finally begun, and Entertainment Weekly has been down to the Senoia, Georgia, set to witness it with our own eyes and ears… at least what’s left of them. We’ve got all the on-the-scene scoop in our latest Walking Dead cover story, complete with three different covers (see below).

We spoke to all 20 members of the cast as well as the producers who make the show, and they all used the exact same word when asked about season 8: action. “It’s a f —ing in-your-face action-packed IV of adrenaline,” says Austin Amelio, who plays Dwight. “Season 7 was the ramp-up and now this is the blastoff. The stuff that’s happening is insane!”

Danai Gurira, who plays Michonne, concurs. “We’ve been knocked clear off our feet,” says the star, who adds that the pacing and intensity of the first four episodes is “like nothing before.” But perhaps our favorite description comes from Seth Gilliam (Father Gabriel), who says season 8 is “like a Schwarzenegger versus Stallone action thing from the ’80s. I think there are, like, 10 explosions an episode. Every time you turn around, somebody’s shooting something or blowing something up. There’s some serious action that I don’t think we’ve seen on television since The A-Team went off the air.”

It’s a completely different look and feel from the doom-and-gloom of season 7, when our heroes were separated and subjugated. Now the survivors are fighting back, and the actors playing them are thrilled about it. “I think that last season was very painful for everybody,” says Andrew Lincoln (Rick Grimes). “And now you get a certain sense of a reclaiming of the old show and the swagger.” Melissa McBride (Carol) agrees. “This is like back in the old days,” says the fan favorite. “This is what I was yearning for last year.”

The Oct. 22 season 8 premiere also marks the show’s landmark 100th episode, giving the cast a chance to celebrate the occasion in epic fashion on EW’s latest series of covers. You can choose between bromance partners Andrew Lincoln and Norman Reedus having their cake and eating it too, Melissa McBride, Danai Gurira, and Lauren Cohan popping the bubbly, or all five actors striking their favorite prom pose on a third cover that will be exclusively available at Barnes & Noble stores beginning Sept. 26. Or, don’t choose at all! You can order all three covers (or any of them individually) right here.

Check out the covers below, and for behind-the-scenes video footage from our cover shoot gone wild, enjoy the video at the top of the article.

Credit: Art Streiber for EW
Credit: Art Streiber for EW
Credit: Art Streiber for EW

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The Walking Dead

AMC's zombie thriller, based on the classic comic book serial created by Robert Kirkman.

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