As we mentioned earlier, AMC announced today that the cast and crew of “The Walking Dead“ return to Atlanta, Georgia on Monday, May 6th to begin production on season four. Season 3 is currently about to wrap up, but it’s also considered the strongest run in the series to date. And it’s certainly the highest rated, which is why it’s a bit of a mystery that showrunner Glen Mazzara is leaving and handing the reigns over to Scott M. Gimple.
While Gimple has been a writer on the show for years, it’s still a shocking move that caught many off guard. Luckily Scenestr caught up with Mazzara and got quite a few quotes that shed some light on the situation and what it means for the (already written) 4th season of “The Walking Dead.”
On killing Axel, “Now the question is, whose death? To be very honest, I didn’t want to kill off any of the major characters. We obviously didn’t want to kill Rick. Carol was on the chopping block, but I didn’t want to kill Carol, because we have a story coming up with her. We looked at the possibility of killing Beth. I don’t think that actor knows that. You know, I love Emily Kinney. But I felt that would have had too big an impact on the group. It would have just devastated poor Herschel. It would have taken him down a path I didn’t want for the rest of the season. And we were already dealing with Maggie’s feelings about her sexual assault by The Governor, so we didn’t want to complicate that with mourning for her sister. We talked about killing Carl in that episode! We really did… unfortunately, you know, by the process of elimination, we got to Axel. Now I like Lew Temple’s performance of Axel very, very much, and we were just starting to find that character and develop him in a way that we loved. And we probably could have had more stories with him. But The Governor was the main character in that piece. We needed to make sure he was not ineffectual. Because otherwise he’s not a bad guy that could possibly take out our guys. So that was really important.”
On the role of the showrunner in today’s climate, “I think so! You know, the showrunner provides the vision for the show. I think the showrunner deserves it! They’re driving the creative vision of the show. So even though it is a collaborative medium, the showrunner is the equivalent of the director of a feature film. That’s the person who shepherds the work through the entire process. Showrunners dedicate themselves to the shows. We’re involved in all aspects of the show, both creative and production-wise. We’re responsible for budgets, schedules, wardrobe, casting… there’s no aspect of the show that I’m not involved in, that I don’t approach from a position of authority. You’re approving hair styles, you’re approving wardrobe, you’re approving props, you’re approving this and that. The directors are the ones who are rotating through the system. So I think that’s fair. I think if you look at a show like Community, that was certainly a show that was Dan Harmon’s voice. It’s a demonstrably different show without him. That’s what we get paid for as showrunners, to add our voices to the show. Darabont had one particular voice, I have another. And the fans see that! The fans recognise that. That is recognition of the dedication of a lot of men and women who pour their hearts and souls into these works.”
On Season 4, “Well, the next guy, Scott Gimple, has been involved for a while. And Robert Kirkman and Gale Anne Hurd and Greg Nicotero, the creative team, were all producers on Season 3. So there’s no material there that is surprising to them. They were involved in developing that material. That being said, listen… the season finale will be a bombshell, as you say. We wouldn’t be “The Walking Dead” if we didn’t push the storytelling every week. So those folks have their work cut out for them, you know? Hopefully the ratings will hold for this season and at the end of my run they’ll be in a position to have a successful Season 4. We’ll see what happens.
Head to Scenestr for MUCH more including his take on David Morrissey’s portrayal of The Governor, the show’s fidelity to the comic and the character of Andrea.