I always get excited when I see there's been an interview with one of the Walking Dead crew, and Comic Book Resources just did a GREAT talk with producers/showrunner Scott Gimple. All of us fans are clamoring for the inside scoop on the upcoming season, including the actual cast (Chandler Riggs, who plays Carl, says, "I haven't gotten the scripts for the next season yet. I want to know what happens, too"), and while Gimple is as tight-lipped as ever about what's to come, he did share some revealing info about the "very, very intense" plans for season 5.
(Season 4 spoilers ahead!)
Comic Book Resources has posted the entire transcript from their interview with Gimple, and there's some great stuff in there about why they made the decisions they did for season 4. I was particularly interested in how it was decided to bring the Ben/Billy storyline from the comics into the show the way they did, and here's what Gimple said about that:
With "The Grove," the basis of that story is totally and completely from the comic book, but looking at that story, and looking at the story that I wanted to tell for Carol, I went to Kirkman and was like, "I know this is a huge Carl story, but this would really go well with the Carol story we're telling. (...) For her to be the one that has to experience the Billy and Ben story -- that just seemed like a powerful match-up.
And it was. While it seemed impossible to top this shocking moment in the comics:
Lizzie's actions in "The Grove" and that whole "look at the flowers" scene was even more gut-wrenching. Nicely done, Gimple.
Gimple went on to talk quite a bit about audience expectations and how they decide upon the death of a character. When he was asked if they deliberately confounded fan predictions by not killing anyone in the finale, here's what he said:
Looking at it and playing out the stories, death didn't really serve the story we were telling. And then it was like, "Whoa, well that means nobody's gonna die in fifteen or sixteen!" And then it was very much like, "Well that's -- awesome." Because that's what people expect, and at that point, yeah, it's pretty cool that you're laying out this story and you're like, "Uh oh, we're not having a death --" And it's like, "That's -- the greatest thing in the world." If people are setting their watches by deaths on "The Walking Dead," that's not cool. That's a story failure.
That makes sense to me, but of course prioritizing story over the OH MY GOD, THEY KILLED KENNY moments doesn't mean anyone's safe in the long run. Gimple confirms that despite what people may believe, no one is too important to kill off:
Well, that isn't this show. I mean, it's a bummer, but nobody's too important to kill off. I'm not thrilled to say that, but it's just the nature of this show. Anybody can die, anybody will die, and my goal is that it not just be for shock value and that it serve the story. People might last a good long time, or they might be taken tomorrow. And the speculation of all of it — I try not to pay too much attention to that, because it's really important that we just serve our story. People are thinking that we're killing too many people, that we're not killing enough people. I'm just trying to tell the story.
I'm sure it's an incredibly difficult balance, because the truth is, we want unexpected deaths. That's what makes it a nerve-wracking show, and I believe that's where things fell apart a little bit in the second half of season 4. All those individual storylines were okay, but they didn't pull me in and make me worried for the characters. It felt like a foregone conclusion that everyone was going to survive until they reunited at Terminus.
As for season 5, here's what he says about how things will change:
I guess I can say, from a vibe point of view, the first eight of Season 4 were one thing, the second eight were something very different. These next eight are going to be something very different again. Things are just going to have a much different tone and a much different practical reality moving forward. The season has a number of shifts of location, and even of the tone. But the tone for most of the season is very, very, very intense. [It's] going to be very different from the last half-season, and I loved the last half season, but it was always planned out in my head that there would be these big shifts, and we're about to have one of those big shifts.
I'm glad to hear it, because like I said, I thought the last half-season was a little weak overall. I'm glad the group is mostly back together, and I'm curious about those shifts of location. My guess is that the Terminus story will last a while, because new arrival Andrew J. West (Gareth the Terminus leader) was upped to a series regular for season 5 along with Alanna Masterson (Tara) and Christian Serratos (Rosita). Here's what creator Robert Kirkman said about the mysterious community (which is almost certainly comprised of cannibals although the show hasn't confirmed that plot point yet):
Seeing Gareth and Rick and the people of Terminus and our survivors go head-to-head is going to be interesting. There is a very deep, dark and storied history to Terminus and how these people came to be that will be revealed in season five.
I wonder if the first half of season 5 will be at Terminus, with the second half focusing on the road to Washington, DC -- perhaps culminating with a finale that introduces the Alexandria Safe Zone? After all, the story has to get there pretty soon ... if only because Chandler Riggs might otherwise age out of the character he'll need to play when Negan joins the show.
What do you think is going to happen during season 5? Any predictions for who's going to get killed off?
Image via AMC