If you'd like to avoid any and all revelations about what's coming in season 4 of The Walking Dead, here's your chance to click elsewhere in order to preserve your unsullied viewing experience next October. I don't exactly have any spoilers to share, but I do have some major hints about what's going to happen with certain characters.
For instance, three characters have officially been promoted to series regulars, so we'll definitely be seeing more of them (for a while, anyway -- as you know, no one's safe in Walking Dead-ville). Also, there have been some pretty interesting teases about what we'll be seeing in a season that will be, and I quote, "vastly different from season 3."
(Season 3 spoilers ahead!)
Let's start with the Governor. While I was personally disappointed that we didn't get any closure with him during the season finale, it sounds like they're gearing up to bring him back in a big way next season. Both actor Norman Reedus (Daryl!) and series creator/executive producer Robert Kirkman have discussed the Governor's role in season 4:
Yeah, he’s still very much in the mix. That’s certainly not the last that we’ll see of him. When we see him again and where we see him again, that’s the big question. It’s not going to be like it was in Season 3; it’s not going to be Rick and the Governor on a collision course with a conflict between them. He’ll be used in very different ways next season. -- Kirkman
I think [the Governor's] evolution of a bad guy is not dead yet. To reach the comic book status, like in the comic book, the guy is so ferocious, he’s on the precipice of becoming that guy. So the last episode wasn’t about the war, it was about who is becoming what in that world. Carl, what he has become, Rick what he has become, what Daryl he has become. That’s the intro into season 4. -- Reedus
Speaking of Daryl:
I think having these people relying on [Daryl] is something he’s never had before and he has this new sense of self worth that he never thought he could ever have. So through these people, that’s the glue that’s keeping him around. I think he’ll go hard again after [killing] Merle. I think Merle is going to shut him down for a minute. -- Reedus
Uh, sorry. I got totally distracted there for a minute over the idea of Daryl "going hard again." *fans cleavage wildly*
Anyway. Carl's evolution is also going to be a main focus in season 4:
Moving into next season, we’re going to see a very different Rick, but one of his main goals is to manage this situation with Carl and see if he can bring him back from this darkness that’s crept into him. Whether or not he’s able to do that, we’ll have to see. But this is a big change in the character of Carl, but it’s something that’s going to be weighing heavily on Rick next season. (…) [Rick] is letting the people of Woodbury in and trying 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 -- Kirkman
[Carl's] dark right now. I think he’s going to get much darker. -- Reedus
It's been reported that Chad Coleman (Tyreese), Sonequa Martin-Green (Sasha), and Emily Kinney (Beth) will have an increased presence when The Walking Dead returns in October, since they're now series regulars. This makes sense given the Tyreese/Rick storyline that happens in the comics, which Kirkman says we can probably count on seeing more of:
Yeah, I think that really is something that comic book fans can use to kind of draw out some information on where we might be going with Season 4. Now that these two characters are together and are on the same side, we will see a little bit more of that comic book relationship that fans are familiar with creeping into the show.
It's interesting that Sasha and Beth will be getting more screen time -- particularly Beth. She gave off weird crush vibes towards both Carl AND Rick during season 3, so I wonder if there's something developing in those directions?
Or maybe she'll just be eaten by a zombie. As executive producer Gale Anne Hurd revealed,
We are going to amp up the threat of the walkers, because they've started to seem like a manageable threat. They are not a manageable threat.
Finally, on the overall changes to come in the new season, here's what Kirkman says:
A bigger group brings with it bigger problems. They are certainly going to need a lot more resources, and they already have a lot of rebuilding to do, just from the things that happened in this battle between Woodbury and the prison. I don’t think there’s going to be a shortage of conflict and danger coming into the fourth season, despite the fact that they are still in the prison.
I'll say that there are a lot of familiar elements that are remaining. Michonne is still around, Rick and his group are still in the prison, the Governor’s still out there… so there are a lot of things that are carrying over from Season 3 to Season 4, but I can’t stress how different things are going to be.
There are going to be some radical changes to those elements that are going to bring in a lot of new storytelling. While [Season 4] does seem somewhat familiar, it’s going to be vastly different from Season 3.
Well, I confess I was underwhelmed by the season 3 finale, but AMC's doing a bang-up job of getting me excited for next October. What about you? Are you looking forward to season 4 of The Walking Dead?
Image via AMC