The Hollywood Reporter caught up with Robert Kirkman, creator of 'The Walking Dead' (both the comic book series and the hit television show) and got him to dish details on the highly anticipated fourth season. WARNING: SPOILERS FOR BOTH THE THIRD AND FOURTH SEASONS OF 'THE WALKING DEAD' APPEAR BELOW THE IMAGE THAT FOLLOWS!
Still with me? Then let's get to the juicy details...
First off, we're told that the fourth season isn't going to pick up precisely where the last season left off.
"There's going to be a bit of a time jump," Kirkman explains. "It's only a few months, we're not nailing down the exact number of days or anything like that. The prison that we see is a very different prison and the characters that we see are very different from the last time we saw them. We go into season four with characters you've known for four years and still find new things to explore with them and new aspects of their character and see that they are growing and changing in extremely dramatic ways due to the strains that this world has put upon them."
It sounds as though the fourth season will be structured quite differently from the third. While in season three we saw two parallel stories--one at the prison, one in Woodbury--which eventually came to a head, the fourth season won't follow that pattern. In fact, we won't know what became of The Governor right away... but from the sounds of it, when his fate is revealed, it will be worth the wait:
"We're telling completely different stories. While the Governor is still out there and still a threat, we're going to see him in a new light and he won't appear until we least expect it. I don't think people are really going to be able to anticipate what we do with the Governor; it's going to be radically different. Once that story unfolds over the course of this season, people will see this is a very different story from season three and we are breaking some new ground with these characters."
So where do our favorite characters fit into this new mix? And what's the deal with Larry Gillard, Jr.'s character, Bob Stookey?
"Rick is doing something very different, but his goals are still the same: keep these kids safe and growing up...As we meet Michonne coming back this season, she's on a mission to hunt down the Governor. It's something she's very obsessed with. It's big part of her character this season. She did lose Andrea and she lost her because of the Governor. She's not willing to let that guy go or be out there. It's something that may possibly be to her detriment, the fact that she's so dedicated to finding this person....Bob will be someone who is familiar to the comic and novel audience but we're definitely not married to doing those stories and could do different things there."
'The Walking Dead' on AMC has never been afraid to veer away from the storyline of the comic book. At this point, the television series is as far removed from its source material as any adaptation could get, with many of the key characters (such as The Governor) resembling their comic counterparts merely in name only. Just because comic fans know Bob Stookey doesn't mean we'll know him in the fourth season of the AMC series.
Still, after a massive departure from the comic book in seasons two and three, it sounds as though we may be inching closer to Kirkman's black & white basis for the upcoming season:
"We are definitely going in some new directions and this will continue to be a different take on the material form the comics but there will possibly be some scenes that are a little bit closer to the comic than we've done in the past. Season four probably has the most number of scenes that are adapted directly from the comic series or very close to what we did. A good deal of that is from Scott and the way he views that material and puts forth that extra effort to work it into the show in a way that it all works."
Another season, another showrunner for 'The Walking Dead' on AMC. What can we expect from Scott Gimple's tenure at the helm?
"It's a much more character-based story. It's going to be more focused on who these characters are and what they're going through. To a certain extent, we got away from that a little bit in season three. Coming into season four, we're definitely going to know a lot more about these people so it will be that much more gut-wrenching and worse when we lose these characters."
Well it sounds like one thing is going to remain the same since the first season: no one is safe.
How much are you looking forward to another season of 'The Walking Dead?'