Continuing our coverage of The Walking Dead Season 4 from Comic-Con, we have the first of multiple features from our round table interview sessions. David Morrissey talks about the return of The Governor, Robert Kirkman teases a new threat, and Scott M. Gimple talks about his work as showrunner:
In a recent interview, Robert Kirkman said that you are more closely adapting the comic book series than Frank Darabont or Glen Mazzara. Can you tell me about your approach when it comes to adapting the comic book series material to fit in with the changes from the TV series?
Scott M. Gimple: We’re at a point now where it has to change. We have characters that are not alive in the show, but still alive in the book and we have characters that never appeared in the book. There’s so much in the book, including stuff we passed in the timeline, that I thought was awesome. I really wanted to get back to it.
We’re using big moments from the comic in different ways, with different characters, and in different context. We’re using the novels as well. It’s been a lot of fun to fulfill our theme and characters in different ways, but I know that our fans will completely recognize them and I can think of a couple of moments in the trailer that people will see.
The Governor was noticeably missing from the Season 4 trailer. We know you can’t say much, but can you tell us about The Governor’s mindset at the end of Season 3?
David Morrissey: We got a quick glimpse of him before he drove away at the end of Season 3 and he’s in a deeply traumatic place. He doesn’t do those things without consequence to his soul. They take a toll on him and he has to carry that burden. The great thing for me in this season is that the writers have written some great and complex things for me to do. I think people will be very surprised by what they came up with and it’s been a joy to play. All of his actions take a toll on him and he takes it with him.
Scott M. Gimple: He has that public face and he has that very surprising private face. When he kills those people, that’s a very public act and those two sides get integrated. Who is he and who’s he going to be moving forward?
David Morrissey: And those questions aren’t just for the audience. He’s asking those questions himself.
Robert, what are you most excited about in Season 4?
Robert Kirkman: Aside from the eventual, mysterious, and unspecified return of The Governor, I’m really excited to see Tyreese stepping up as a character and taking a more central role. We didn’t get a lot of time with him in Season 3 because of everything that was going on. In Season 4, we’re really able to bring him to the forefront and integrate him into the core cast in a bigger way. We’re doing a lot with him, and Chad Coleman can carry the weight of everything we’re asking him to do. I’m really excited for people to see what we’re doing with his character this season. It’s really awesome.
Character deaths are always a big deal on The Walking Dead and everyone has their favorites. As a writer, is it difficult for you to kill characters, knowing that you’re losing people you work with and characters that the fans love?
Scott M. Gimple: It is horrible to sit in front of the keyboard and write those scenes, because you lose somebody you enjoy working with and someone who you’ve possibly known for years. You also lose a character you love seeing on TV. I think it’s interesting that we sort of pay a price. It is painful on many levels and it’s amazing to be writing that moment and crossing that line on the page, seeing the ugliness and having to deal with it. It’s a very weird thing.
The cast continues to grow and Season 4 sees many new characters added to the mix. How do you balance the core characters with all of the new ones?
Scott M. Gimple: Luckily, they all affect each other. They’re not off on their own, so it certainly helps. We have a new character, Bob Stookey, and some major stuff goes down. It puts him in opposition with certain characters and puts him closer to other characters.
We have another character we haven’t talked much about, Zach, played by Kyle Gallner. He has a romantic relationship with one of the characters. He’s not a major new character, but you get to know about him real quick.
Robert Kirkman: He’s an excellent addition to the overall ensemble and adds a lot to the mix. It’s adding new blood in a way that changes the dynamic of the overall group and keeps the show evolving. The characters, cast, and setting is evolving, and having new characters coming in with new experiences helps everything move forward.
We’ve heard mention of a “new threat” this season. What can you tell us about it?
Scott M. Gimple: There is a new threat introduced and it’s a force that you can’t just stab in the face. You can’t talk reason.
Robert Kirkman: It’s possibly the most deadly threat they’ve faced so far. They’re still going to be dealing with zombies and humans, but there’s this new element, this new unseen force, that’s extremely dangerous and possibly more dangerous than anything they’ve faced thus far.
Since being promoted to showrunner, has your day-to-day work changed significantly? What’s something that surprised or challenged you as showrunner this season?
Scott M. Gimple: Ultimately, it’s time management. You’re doing the same stuff, writing and producing, but it comes with a lot of long term thinking and plotting for the future. I have a great set of executive producers helping me out, a great cast and crew, and AMC has been fantastic. It’s everything I was doing before, but along with eighteen other jobs.
There are a lot of unexpected, tough, and wonderful things, but there’s always someone willing to pitch in. That’s probably the heaviest thing…. The constant support makes you want to do even better for the fans and the people working on the show. I love it.
We'll be posting more interviews and news on The Walking Dead Season 4 over the weekend, so check back soon. Until then, here's our TV and comic book series highlights:
TV Series Coverage:
Comic Book Series Coverage: