At the Saturn Movie Awards this past Thursday, The Walking Dead went home with a number of awards â Best Cable Television Series, Best Supporting Actress (Melissa McBride) & Best Performance by a Younger Actor (Chandler Riggs). Â The fourth season of The Walking Dead â in particular the pared down second half â has felt like a real renaissance for the show. Â Four seasons in, the biggest television show on air found itself by telling decidedly smaller and more intimate stories. Â Zombies became a backdrop for a downbeat parable on the effects of survivorâs guilt.
Much of the credit for the success of the season can be laid at the feet of showrunner Scott Gimple â who has been a writer on the series since season two. Â After the award show, Collider chatted with Gimple about the structural choices of the fourth season, the upcoming Walking Dead spinoff series, his favorite episode, The Walking Dead season five, and the âend-gameâ for the series. For the full video interview and transcribed highlights of Gimpleâs answers, hit the jump.
Scott Gimple Time Index:
- How did Scott Gimple make the choice to pare down The Walking Dead for the second half of the season?
- What is Gimpleâs favorite episode of the fourth season?
- Whatâs the balance for Gimple between fidelity to the Robert Kirkman comic and creating his own spin on it?
- What will the structure of the fifth season look like?
- How much say does AMC have in the creative direction of the show?
- What does Gimple know about the upcoming spinoff of The Walking Dead?
- What is the âend-gameâ of the show?
Highlights from the Video Interview with Scott Gimple:
(additional questions by Hunter Daniels & Christina Radish; video by Jeff Morreale)
I came in with a design for the season, an architecture that we could build our house aroundâŚ In the comics, there isnât as big of a group. A lot fewer people made it out of the prison. We had this huge group to get back together and at the beginning of the year, I wanted to have a story for every character and to fulfill that story in the end. Some of the stuff we laid in the first episode, we didnât get to until the back half. That was purposeful. When I was working on the show — even before I was in the position Iâm in now — I would look towards Georgia and Atlanta history sometimes just for notions. When Iâm out there, thereâs a lot of history all around and during the hiatus, I was looking at all the railroad tracks that crisscross Georgia. I also knew Atlantis used to be called Terminus because all these railroad tracks would converge there and I put it aside. When we were going through [the season] in the writerâs room, I picked up on the Terminus stuff I had read about and it all clicked together. It really was the way to have all these characters by themselves. [It allowed us] to tell the emotional stories we had known. Sometimes that is the trick with the show â we know the emotional stories but we have to find the practical realities [for] making some of those stories happen.
Gimple on remaining faithful to the comicâs storylines:
Itâs funny â back in the day when I started season two, I was all âWe must hem to the comicâ and Kirkman was like âWell â letâs have some fun. Iâve done this all before.â I certainly wonât abandon iconic things from the comic. I definitely want to stick to the comic as much as possible but thatâs also impossible with Daryl Dixon and characters that are alive but dead in the comic. Thereâs a butterfly effect. But thatâs actually an incredibly fun part of the [show]. I would say that even the inventions we have on the show are inspired by the comic.
Gimple on the structure of the upcoming fifth season:
Itâs not mirroring [the previous season] completelyâŚ The challenge of the show is every eight episodes, itâs a whole new show. I will say that there may be some slightly familiar structural turns. But for the mostÂ part, it is going to be brand new versions of the comic story.
Gimple on the upcoming spinoff of The Walking Dead and whether or not there will be any crossovers between the two shows?:
I have little to do with the spinoffâŚ This I do know. Itâs set in the world of The Walking Dead but from what I understand, itâs not like Darylâs cousin or anythingâŚ I would never say never [to a crossover between the shows] because if I was a viewer I would say that sounds awesome. But weâre doing our own show. I also think a crossover might be tough because it would take a lot of [license] within the comic story. Weâll see. When we get to all-out war, who knows? Weâll add another faction. Itâll be the Saviors and the Hilltop and the âSpin-offersâ.
Gimple on the endgame for the series:
I would say âYesâ [there is an end-game]. I actually donât like spoiling myself on the comic. I read it as I go. Robertâs offered to tell me the whole thing so I get general aspects of it. I know the emotional end game of the show but thereâs practical aspects, I want to keep with the comic. With these characters, you definitely have to think of the emotional endgame and that is very much a part of where Iâm headed. But I want to have the flexibility to change the practicals with the comic and I donât want Robert to spoil the whole series for me.