Consider this rumor killed.
Last week, “The Walking Dead” producer Gale Anne Hurd noted during a panel that the show’s violence had been toned down in the wake of backlash to the brutal Season 7 premiere, leading many to worry that the series is going to be a bit more family-friendly going forward. This concerned us greatly, but today we’re happy to report that we have little reason to be concerned.
Speaking with Entertainment Weekly, showrunner Scott M. Gimple and executive producer/frequent episode director Greg Nicotero clarified that the show’s violence has not been and will not be toned down, contrary to what Gale Anne Hurd said last week. The show has indeed been less violent since the Season 7 premiere, but that’s only because it’s returned to business as usual; in contrast, subsequent episodes may have seemed less violent, but the reality is that the deaths of Abraham and Glenn were WAY more brutal than anything we usually see on the show.
The violence in the premiere was pronounced for a reason. The awfulness of what happened to the characters was very specific to that episode and the beginning of this whole new story. I don’t think like that’s the base level of violence that necessarily should be on the show. It should be specific to a story and a purpose, and there was a purpose of traumatizing these characters to a point where maybe they would have been docile for the rest of their lives, which was Negan’s point. But I will say again, the violence in the premiere was for a specific narrative purpose and I would never say that that’s the baseline amount of violence that we would show on the show. If we’re ever going to see something that pronounced, there needs to be a specific narrative purpose for it.
Nicotero added that they have no plans on censoring the show, going forward:
As brutal as that episode 1 was, it’s still part of our storytelling bible, which is what the world is about. I don’t think we would ever edit ourselves, and I think — even after looking at that episode 1 again — as tough as it was for people to watch, I don’t think we would have done it any differently. I don’t think we’ll ever pull ourselves back. There is definitely a difference between violence against walkers and human on human violence, but truthfully, we’re serving our story.
And there you have it. When “The Walking Dead” needs to be violent, it damn sure will be.