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.
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.
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.
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.