The Walking Dead easily had the biggest presence at this year’s Comic-Con. However, because issue #100 had just been released last week, the comic book panel was spoiler-free and we didn’t hear too much about the Something to Fear story arc.
Thankfully, I had some one-on-one interview time with Robert Kirkman during the convention and talked to him specifically about The Walking Dead #100 and the future of the comic book series. Continue reading to learn about a major character death that was supposed to happen earlier and find out who Robert Kirkman promises will not survive the series:
**SPOILER WARNING** There are major spoilers for those who have not read up to and including issue #100.
I wanted to start by talking about the major character death in The Walking Dead #100. Was it always the plan to kill this character in issue #100 or did it happen more organically?
Robert Kirkman: I had actually been planning to kill Glenn in issue #75, but felt that I had more to do with the guy. I found myself trying to shoehorn that into the storyline back when I was in the 60’s of the run. I plot what’s going to happen in the book, which people are going to die, and how they are going to die, but every now and then I throw myself a curve ball and change my mind.
The idea behind his death was just to portray it as such a random event. Negan is so dangerous because he can do anything to anyone at any time. To me it is terrifying to have a guy standing in front of you saying “I’m going to kill one of you.. I don’t know which one it’s going to be and I don’t really care…”
That’s horrifying and having Rick experience that and being powerless in front of this guy is really going to fundamentally change the book in huge ways. I think that makes Glenn one of the more important characters in the life of the series.
After having written Glenn for all of these years, was it difficult for you to kill him? Do you feel the same connection or more of a connection to the characters than the readers do?
Robert Kirkman: Yeah, it’s always difficult. It’s very hard for me to come to grips with the fact that I’m never going to write another Abraham or Glenn story. Or the fact that I haven’t been writing Tyrese or Axel, or even Shane who died very early on or Lori.
Both Charlie and I grow attached these characters and it affects us the same way it affects the readers. When I’m writing scripts, I actually do become upset and sometimes it’s nerve-wracking because I plot everything out and I know what’s coming. When I’m actually writing the script, I’m experiencing the story in real time to some extent.
When Charlie reads the scripts, he likes to keep things vague, so he doesn’t ask questions about what’s coming up. He gauges the series based on his reading of the script and how he experience it. He’s able to experience it fresh and it helps him move forward. It’s very emotional for all of us.
Looking ahead, do you know how you want Rick’s story to end? If the series continues 10 or 20 years, and it always follows Rick, the stories would not have the same impact because readers would always know that Rick will survive. I’ve heard you say in the past that Rick could die at any time. Is that still the case?
Robert Kirkman: Yeah, Rick could go at any time. I think that Carl could carry the book now. I know that there are interesting stories I could do with him, Andrea, or Michonne. To a certain extent, I think it would be interesting to follow Negan for a little bit and see what that story would be like.
I definitely think that Rick has been the anchor for the series and may be the anchor of the series for a long time. I do have plans for him and I know where his story is going, but I promise that Rick will not survive the entire run of the book.
I think the book will go past 300 issues at this point. Charlie and I absolutely love what we’re doing and it is exactly the thing I have wanted to do ever since I wanted to do comics. I’m having the time of my life. The book is going to go on for a long time and no one is safe… not even Rick.
I feel like it will be harder for readers to sympathize with Rick at this point in the series. Now that Rick has decided to go on the offensive without discussing it with the entire group, he’s more responsible for the recent character deaths. Do you want readers to put more of the blame on him for the events that transpire during Something to Fear?
Robert Kirkman: In life I think that sometimes you’re the hero or villain, depending on perspective. In telling Rick’s story realistically, you’re not always going to like him. When you deal with human interaction, people make mistakes or decisions without thinking and it’s certainly something I’m trying to portray. There will be times when you hate Rick and times when you love Rick.
This is much in the same way that the story has very slow and quiet periods that make the explosive, violent, and terrifying periods seem that much more powerful. There will be periods where you absolutely hate Rick and don’t identify with him, but that will make the later period where you are completely behind the guy that more interesting. I think that the book can survive having a character that you can’t really read some times, so I have a lot of fun messing with him.
I wanted to ask quickly about The Walking Dead FPS that was recently announced and follows the events that take place before the TV series with Daryl Dixon. Do you have any creative involvement in the story or game elements?
Robert Kirkman: I am consulted about it and was made aware of it. The Telltale game is based on the comic book series and I have direct control over whether that exists and how it is produced. This is more of an AMC thing, but I think it’s going to be a lot of fun to shoot bolts from a crossbow at zombies as Daryl Dixon.
Before we wrap up, can you give our readers a tease of what they can expect in the next issues of Something to Fear?
Robert Kirkman: Negan’s introduction was a huge moment and finding out what’s Rick’s reaction to that will be is going to be very interesting. You’re going to get a sense of where the series is going by the time you get to #102 and I think people are going to be a little startled by what we’re doing. It’s going to be a new evolution in the stories we tell, and a new situation for Rick and the rest of the cast. It’s going to be really cool.
We’re not done with our exclusive coverage of The Walking Dead from Comic-Con. Keep an eye out for interviews with the cast and crew of The Walking Dead Season 3 later this week. Missed out on any of our recent coverage of The Walking Dead? Check out the following articles: