Robert Kirkman is an exceptionally busy man. When he isn’t producing the most watched cable television show in history, he’s keeping the flagship comic series going and writing other, entirely different properties. One such property is Outcast, a supernatural horror series revolving around a man named Kyle Barnes, who’s life is filled with demonically possessed people. The series has only existed since June 2014, but it’s already become a new television show premiering on Cinemax in 2016.
In a panel hosted by Parks and Recreation‘s Jon Glaser, Kirkman put aside his Walking Dead duties to talk about this new program. With him was the show’s star Patrick Fugit and fellow Executive Producer Chris Black. The panel itself wasn’t in the biggest venue, completely different to how The Walking Dead was put in Madison Square Garden, but there’s definite potential for it to become big. Just like how Dead focuses on the long term impact of the zombie apocalypse, Outcast will detail what happens when demon possession goes unchecked. As Kirkman described it, it’s like The Exorcist, but not exactly.
Everyone Likes Each Other
A lot was discussed regarding how this show came together. When Glaser asked Fugit to elaborate on what brought him here, Fugit was quick to credit Kirkman’s talents.
“When I auditioned, they had only about four-five issues out,” said Fugit. The script from Robert though was much more in-depth, and I wanted to do it.”
In reply, Kirkman sang the praises of Fugit.
“You brought a lot of life into the role and I love you,” said Kirkman. “Pat was the only one who approached it with some sense of optimism. Everyone else was so dour.”
Black echoed similar sentiments of Kirkman.
“I love genre material, and I really wanted to work with Robert,” Black told the audience. “So I read the script and it was one of the best I’ve ever read. This thing is amazing.”
The panel then decided to show a new clip and a trailer. In the clip, a demonically possessed boy named Joshua (Gabriel Bateman) is eagerly watching a cockroach crawl on his bedroom wall. Suddenly, Joshua head butts the roach, and eats it while licking his blood. It was an exceptionally gross scene that was met with a ton of disgusted faces.
Clearly, this set the tone for what we can expect with Outcast. In response to the clip, Kirkman jokingly exclaimed that, along with Sophia getting killed on Dead, he definitely “doesn’t like children unless they’re his own.” He also said that Cinemax wanted more.
“Cinemax asked me if there was any way to make it edgier,” said Kirkman. “Things get crazier and more violent after that clip. It’s been incredibly freeing in this no ads environment.”
Black continued off Kirkman’s lead.
“You have 60 premium minutes to fill. We’re expanding the world in really cool ways and it will make things better.”
As an example, Black and Kirkman outlined how their character Chief Giles (Reg E. Cathey) will have a much bigger role despite only appearing in a few issues.
Fugit Loves Television Work
Fugit, who recently appeared in the hit film Gone Girl, expressed how happy he was to be part of a new show.
“One of the cool things about this set up is we’ve got 10 hours of storytelling to develop these characters,” said Fugit. “What I love about episodic television is you get to hang out when these characters. You become familiar with them.”
Cinemax Has Less Boundaries
Since Cinemax is a premium network and doesn’t have the same FCC restrictions as cable or network TV, Outcast can do so much more. There have been times in the past where people have wondered what The Walking Dead would be like on a network like Cinemax. Kirkman, however, was quick to shoot down any notion of using this structure to do what AMC won’t let him.
“There are less restrictions on Cinemax,” said Kirkman. “We can use more profanity and violence. But this won’t be a means for me to do anything extra. I developed an understanding for the structure and I really enjoy working through those perimeters.”
Fugit and Black responded in kind.
“We definitely don’t push the envelope every episode,” replied Fugit.
“It is nice and liberating to be on a network with less restrictions,” said Black. “We can tell the story we want to tell.”
What About The Children?
An audience member couldn’t help but ask what it does to a kid when they play someone possessed. Kirkman acknowledged the issue but handily assuaged any fears.
“Gabriel is possessed on the show and there always is that concern with that material,” said Kirkman. “But he can handle it! He yells and says it’s awesome.”
“The dude goes 100% with every take,” Fugit added.
Outcast and Star Trek: The Next Generation?
You better believe it, but Outcast has a connection to Star Trek: The Next Generation: Sidney is played by Brett Spiner, Data himself, in what Black describes as a completely different role for the actor.
Lastly, since this show is based on a comic, there is always a concern for the adapted material to catch up. Kirkman assured people this will not happen.
“By the time this show premieres, we’ll have plenty of space between versions,” said Kirkman. “I’m not George R.R. Martin!”
Outcast will premiere in 2016. No release date is set.
Luke Kalamar is Pop-Break.com’s television editor. Every Saturday afternoon you can read his video game column, Remembering the Classics. He covers Game of Thrones, Saturday Night Live and The Walking Dead (amongst others) every week. As for as his career and literary standing goes — take the best parts of Spider-man, Captain America and Luke Skywalker and you will fully understand his origin story.