Scott Gimple marks the third showrunner in the four year lifespan of The Walking Dead. He recently spoke to Hollywood Reporter, and while the conversation was largely about how he will fill the shoes of predecessors Frank Darabont and Glen Mazzara, he did sneak some hints as to what we can expect from the upcoming fourth season. We've dug out the best bits:
THR: Darabont's run was nuanced, while Mazzara's was fast-paced. How do you envision your run being described?
Gimple: I'm trying to take a greatest-hits approach and take the best of both those runs and run with it. As far as my own personal stamp, it's more of what we do here already with character-driven stories and really delving into these characters while having some amazing, horrible scares and exciting sequences but all in service to a greater story that builds. A phrase that I've been caught using a bunch is "cumulative storytelling." It's about having everything stack up so it means something. When The Walking Dead has been its best, all that stuff is happening at once: the emotion, action, horror, scares. I'm very proud that I was able to write an episode where a little zombie girl could walk out of a barn after a horrific zombie execution and have people cry. That's one of the proudest things I've ever done.
THR: A lot of people were angry at the end of season three when the Governor escaped and Andrea died. How will season four be different?
Gimple: Hopefully all those people will be excited about the stuff that's coming in this new season. Maybe some of the [conflict with Michonne, Rick and the Governor] wasn't entirely skipped over. It's all part of a greater story because the story is continuing. All that stuff is going to affect the future.
THR: There are some big watershed moments from the comics that come with the Governor and Rick -- including the latter losing his hand. How will you approach those moments?
Gimple: Going back to the remix idea, there are going to be big moments from the comic that will be seen in a very different context that fans will recognize but aren't that different in the continuity of the book. There are a lot of things that are different at this stage in the story than they were in the comic. The Governor on the TV show is a different character than the Governor of the comic. You will recognize a bunch of those big moments this season, but you will also see that they aren't exactly the same as they panned out in the comic, and you'll know why because of where the story is now. Daryl Dixon is a huge part of the show and he's not in the comic. The stories that happen involve him heavily and he, as a character, changes those stories. That happens in so many ways through our story. What's cool is we can get in those moments, those themes and those dynamics but they happen in different ways, at different times and sometimes between different characters. It's so cool for me, as a fan, when we do it. And it's a way to take something that the comic fans know and present it in a different way and hopefully with a different emotional context but just as powerful as it was in the comic. So you still get something new, but it serves the story that's just been told.
The Walking Dead returns to AMC this October. The show's panel at Comic Con will be Friday afternoon. To read the whole interview, head to HollywoodReporter.com