Nobody knows more about horror than Greg Nicotero. Not only has The Walking Dead exec producer worked on some of the biggest horror films and TV shows ever, but he is also a full-on historian of the genre.

Which is why Nicotero can’t help but often sneak Easter eggs into the episodes he directs, be it ether having a zombie wear the same “I Got Wood” t-shirt that Nick Frost sported in Shaun of the Dead or throwing the Evil Dead Necronomicon into a spooky cabin for Rick Grimes’ last episode.

Well, it looks like Nicotero will be up to his old tricks again, as he revealed to us that there will be a secret Jaws connection in TWD’s season 10 premiere on Oct. 6. Read on to learn what it is as well as what else to expect coming up on the show.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: The Whisperers set up a border and cut off 10 heads as a message to not cross it. Will that warning be heeded in season 10?
GREG NICOTERO: What’s interesting about the first episode is, and we’ve seen it in the trailers, is our group is rehearsing military maneuvers. I think you definitely get the sense at the end of last season that some of them want to fight. But the truth of the matter is that Alpha is the most formidable villain that they have ever encountered, so I don’t know how you actively fight a woman who walks amongst the dead.

The first episode of the show tests all of that, because we set up this season where it’s been a couple months since the snowstorm of the finale of last year, and you see them practicing these military maneuvers. So you get the sense that they’re preparing themselves if a war ever happens.

So what if — or rather, when — war does happen?
Alpha has laid down the law. The big question is, are people willing to follow Alpha’s rules and at what cost? And that’s really what sets up the whole season, is the idea that there could be a pack of walkers walking down the street and you don’t know if there’s a Whisperer in there that’s watching you. You don’t know if there are patrols going up and down the border. It sets up this whole paranoid, “Are they watching?” scenario, and some of our people aren’t down with that. And that’s a very, very prevalent theme in the season.

It’s official now and was announced at Comic-Con that Danai Gurira is going to be moving on after this season. Similar to what you did last season with Andrew Lincoln and Rick Grimes, I know you want to send Danai and Michonne out in style. What can you say about how that’s going to work?
Well, it’s a little hard to talk about a lot of that stuff, because we want to preserve those stories. But the truth of the matter is, every character that leaves the show, we always feel like we have to send them off with respect and with this sense of love that we have for their characters. I directed Danai in a couple of her first episodes, so I felt like I was one of the first people here to really meet her and one of the first people here to get to direct her. So watching her as a writer and as a producer and a creator, to watch her evolve has been a fascinating experience for me.

Any tribute zombies coming up that you can tease for us?
There’s a lot of cool stuff that’s in there. In the first episode there a few little nods. I wouldn’t even necessarily say tribute zombies, but I’m always putting a few Easter eggs here or there just to remind people how much I love certain things. So there could be a shark tooth on the beach that might’ve been from a shark from my favorite movie. You never know. A few things like that. But in terms of tribute walkers, this season really has kind of led us in a direction where a lot of the stuff with the Whisperers and a lot of that stuff, we haven’t really snuck any in just yet. But we still got a bunch of episodes to go so we’ll see.

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The Walking Dead

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

  • TV Show
  • 10
  • TV-14
  • Frank Darabont
  • AMC
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