Robert Kirkman Talks THE WALKING DEAD, Character Deaths, Season 3′s Finale, Departures from the Comics and a Look Ahead at Season 4

     April 1, 2013


Season three of AMC’s The Walking Dead is now behind us and so is a major cast member who met their end in the surprising season finale.  Writer of The Walking Dead comics and executive producer on the show, Robert Kirkman, recently spoke at length about the decision to make some changes from the comics for the show.  Kirkman talked about the death of some characters, the retention of others, reactions from the comic fans and moving forward with season four.  Hit the jump to see what he had to say.

walking dead laurie holden[Spoiler Alert]

Kirkman recently spoke to THR about the fallout from the shocking end of season three of The Walking Dead, as well as where the show will go from here.  Head over to the link for the full interview; highlights follow below:

On the death of Andrea (Laurie Holden):

It’s a big departure from the comics, which to a certain extent is somewhat risky but at the end of the day I like the idea of there being big differences that key in to this is the show, this is the comic. I like that there’s some kind of separation there. It was definitely something that weighted upon us heavily. The unfortunate thing is that you’re not really going to see why this was a good decision and good for the show until season four. We thought having that tragic end to her story line — having [Andrea] work so hard to save these people of Woodbury and find a peaceful resolution to this conflict was really something worthy of the character. It’s also something that changes Rick’s (Andrew Lincoln) mindset and alters a lot of the characters and their modes of operation moving into the fourth season. It seemed like the right thing to do at the right time…It was something [departing showrunner] Glen Mazzara introduced in the writing of the last few episodes. It’s something that was debated quite a bit. There was a lot of opposition in the writers’ room. I bounced back and forth between “We really shouldn’t kill her” and “this is a good idea.” In the end it all came together and we decided to go for it. It was definitely something that divided the room to a certain extent.

On fan reactions and potential backlash:

There’s always a risk of that and we’ll see how things go. The comics still exist and I’d urge those people to continue reading the comics where Andrea is still alive. Just know the show is something different and we are telling different stories. It doesn’t mean we’re not going to see a lot of the big stories and big events from the comic book in the TV show eventually; it just means those things will be a little bit altered from time to time. Hopefully it will be exciting, new and fresh just like it was the first time you read the comic, which is really the goal.

david-morrissey-the-walking-dead-preyOn season four and The Governor:

We’ve got a lot of work to do with the Governor (David Morrissey) next season. Having him be that diabolical and sinister will serve his character moving forward and that was a pretty important and defining moment for him that will pay off in the fourth season…We’ve definitely got more story to tell with that guy. I always liked the idea of seeing him again and not having a clear resolution to that conflict. Rick and the group are still at the prison and the Governor is still out there. There’s more ground to mine. Knowing the Governor isn’t dead is going to weigh on these characters when we come back in season four and we’ll have to see where things go…It’s going to be different in a lot of ways. We’ll see a very different Rick Grimes for one. His experiences against the Governor and with the various things that happened to him in season three are informing his character in huge ways. We’ll see a lot of familiar elements from season three: we’ll see the prison, Rick and his group are still in the same place but those elements are all going to be radically different. I can’t really get into it but season four is going to be extremely different than season three in some very startling and cool ways.

On the Dixon Brothers:

It’s important to note that running out of story isn’t a reason to kill a character. Having more story to mine isn’t a reason to keep a character alive; it’s what story comes out of it and how does the story change with death. Daryl Dixon has become a very important character in the show and his character had changed and evolved in very interesting ways over the course of the first three seasons. Having Merle back was always planned to be somewhat temporary thing. We wanted to see how Merle’s return would affect that character and seeing Daryl revert to past behavior — to bad behavior — was something we really wanted to explore. But in the end, Daryl had moved past that character and we wanted to get back to him not having that brother altering his behavior moving forward or influencing him in any way. Merle’s death was really about activating Daryl in an interesting way that will pay off in season four.

the-walking-dead-sarah-wayne-callies-chandler-riggsOn whether The Walking Dead holds a grudge against women:

Lori’s death was set up in the comics and planned for a long time. As the story of Woodbury started taking twists and turns, Andrea’s death made the most sense. We’ve introduced a lot of other female characters along the way: Michonne (Danai Gurira), Maggie (Lauren Cohan) has taken a more central role and we’ve got Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) — Tyreese’s sister. Coming into season four, I can say with absolute confidence that there’s no lack of female characters. Female characters will take central role in season four. It’s about the evolution of the show; characters are going to come in and go and the cast is always going to be changing but it’s still going to be The Walking Dead at the end of the day.

On the Grimes family in season four:

Because of Andrea’s sacrifice and seeing the Governor for who he is and knowing he’s killed all these people, Rick is changing. This is the moment where Rick takes a turn; he’s no longer going to be pushing people away, he’s no longer going to be doing what ever he can to protect these people in ways that hurt other people. He’s not going to be the guy who would leave that guy on the side of the road — the backpack guy in Episode 12. He’s letting the people of Woodbury in and tying to tell Carl that these people are like us, you have to be open to this and the only way to survive in this world is to have people and be in a community. That’s going to be a big part of season four.


  • Strong Enough

    the finale was horrible

    • Lizard King

      I agree. It was one of the least compelling, most anticlimactic and underwhelming season finales I have ever seen, especially compared to some of the strong episodes that comprised the later half of the season. Hopefully a showrunner change can fix it again.

    • Mike P

      Agreed. The problem was that Andrea was no longer a character that the audience cared about. She lost ALL of her “bad ass” at the start of the season and the character was weakened considerably. This was a Michonne/Andrea Rick/Carl Episode with a sprinkling of the Governor. It needed to be something else to be satisfying. Perhaps it was necessary to get us to Season 4, but that remains to be seen.

    • Tony5272

      A very disappointing season finale. It was like a step backwards for the series. The governor should of been killed off & that chapter closed in the series. Now we are subject to them bringing scenes with the governor whenever they are running out of ideas or when a season starts getting slow, let’s bring back the governor to pick up the pace. Rick & the governor should of squared off somehow /way with Rick ending up killing him. That’s just my opinion.

  • casper077

    I could not agree more. It was a let down for sure.

  • Danny

    Even though Kirkman seems like a nice guy, for some reason I don’t like him. I guess it has to do with the fact that he’s only “famous” through luck rather than talent. He did nothing original with the Walking Dead other than tell an on-going zombie story. The only reason the comic was made into a show was because AMC wanted a zombie show. Why not just adapt a comic book instead of creating something entirely new?

    • Lizard King

      I don’t understand your argument. Saying Kirkman only wrote a zombie story is like saying Stan Lee only wrote superhero stories. Yes, the idea exists elsewhere, but its in the details that it becomes original. Other than the first 3 Romero movies, the 2 Brooks books, Shaun of the Dead, and Zombieland, most zombie lore is quite derivative. He created his own rules for the virus, created a bleak world with interesting and complex characters, and made a subject that is a bit of a pop culture sea of mediocrity into something powerful and meaningful. That isn’t luck. That is talent. Too bad the show isn’t as good as the comics though.

      • Danny

        Let me clarify. I’m not saying he had to invent zombies, but he’s not doing anything with the comic that hasn’t been done before. Anyways, that’s not my point. My point is that Kirkman doesn’t really deserve all the attention he’s getting. There isn’t anything memorable from the comics other than character deaths/injuries. It also takes him paragraphs of dialogue to explain the simplest things and any reader can tell there is no real overall story, just drama between people and zombies which leads to moving to another location. The only thing original he did with TWD was tell an on-going zombie story in comic form instead of a 2 hour movie. That’s it. There are WAY more talented writers like Brian K Vaughn who wrote better post-apocalyptic stories like Y: the last man. He deserves the attention, not Kirkman.

      • jason

        I love the WD comics but it has its flaws. I’m pretty sure it was intentional but there is really no overall story. What we have here is a soap opera. The focus is on the interaction between characters and playing the rest by ear. The AMC series seems to be completely different.

  • ED

    Again, haters everywhere.

  • Cory

    I think there is a spelling error in the sentence “He’s letting the people of Woodbury in and tying to tell Carl” Isn’t it suppose to be tRying not tying. Maybe I am wrong.

  • Matt

    Sounds like some major jealousy mixed with sour grapes. Where is all this Kirkman acclaim you speak of? I think the WD TV show is popular because it’s the first ongoing zombie series of it’s kind and it does very well in the ratings but I’d wager Kirkman is no different than most writers in that when he meets people for the first time they still ask; “So Rob, what do you do for a living?”. I find the show a pale comparison to the comic and really, I’d like to see any of these comic creators keep a series going for as long or with comparable quality. I read Y and while good it is certainly not measurably better than Walking Dead in any way.

  • LEM

    It seems the majority of viewers didn’t like the finale and I’d hope someone involved addresses some of the questions and story points that made no sense.

  • paul

    youe all wrong andrea was a fantastic charecter and i thought a main charecter vas well. (baring in mind im only on number 13 of the comics) so im not just comparing. iv only just found out that darryl isnt in the comics. but iv also read that the tv show is not going to run paralelle with the comics. which in parts i think will be great. but to say andrea was a bad charecter is just wrong because i know for a facxt all the hard core comic fans out there still shed a tear when she died on the show

    • R

      i lost brain cells trying to read this

  • paul

    If i had one major chritism for season three its this. at the begging of the season we see andrea and michone at the end of winter going into summer with andrea suffering. what season 3 should hacve had was flashback episodes to winter. its as if they have skipped a season. alot happens during winter in the comics that could have made very good episodes. one of main questions is aswell. why such short seasons. i thought the average number of episodes in a season was between 22 ans 24

  • sunshine

    i didn’t think it was bad at all, the last 5 minutes sucked, but it certainly wansn’t crap. of course, after watching game of thrones anything was going to be lack luster to me…

  • el amigo del Governador