The Walking Dead Season 4: Producers Gale Anne Hurd and David Alpert Interview

Wondering where The Walking Dead is headed in its fourth year as the survivors cope with the death of Andrea? We asked producers Gale Anne Hurd and David Alpert when we saw them at the Saturn Awards!

By: Joseph McCabe

With season three’s dramatic deviations from the comic, do you feel that you now have a licence to deviate as much as you want, and that the audience will accept wherever you take them?

Hurd: “No, I feel it’s really important to chart the growth of the characters and let everything that happens advance the emotional connection that they have either to each other or the conflicts that they have. As opposed to just, ‘Wouldn’t it be cool if we did this?’ I think that’s when a show gets into trouble, when all they’re trying to do is do something for shock value. That’s just not been the course that we take with The Walking Dead.”

So in the wake of Andrea’s death, you can’t say if we’ll see a greater or lesser number of deviations?

Alpert: “What I would say is we look for organic storytelling. So there was a decision this season to introduce Michonne in a really dramatic fashion, and to do that we had to split Laurie Holden’s character off from the group. When that happened we had Michonne and Andrea out in the woods and the story of the Governor. And there was a decision. Michonne left and Andrea stayed. And those consequences pay off over the course of the season.

“What I like about that is that the storytelling grows out organically from those decisions. So if you were paying attention to something that happened in episodes two and three, you’re going to be rewarded in episodes 15 and 16 and in seasons to come. So it’s not, ‘What can we do this week? How can put out 60 pages of script?’ It’s more about, ‘How do we tell a story that makes sense?’”

Hurd: “And if we make a decision to kill off a character, whether it’s from the comic book or not, we do try to put a twist on it. Whether it’s the way that Shane died at the end of the second season – that wasn’t the way it was in the comic book; and Carl’s involvement was different than the way it was in the comic book. But it affected both of those characters and it also obviously affected the character of Laurie. Then when Laurie dies that is also different from the comic; and we get to see Rick’s descent, and we get to see Carl rise as a child soldier. That was motivated by those deaths. The same thing with the Andrea character – when Andrea dies, Michonne is incredibly affected. They all get to see the effect that she’s had. Her death has an effect on them that we’ll see resonate through this new season.

“We also introduced new characters last season, and we now have an opportunity to tell their stories. To delve into the characters of Tyreese and Sasha, characters that were introduced last season.”

Alpert: “The show is like a shark – if we don’t move, we’re dying. So we’ve got to constantly evolve and grow and change. Otherwise we’re doing the same old story. And we have evolving threats, evolving characters, evolving situations, locations. Everything changes.”

Where will we find the cast at the beginning of this season?

Alpert: “I think you’re going to be incredibly surprised where we’ll find everybody this coming season. I think we’re gonna do things in a little bit of a different way. And the characters are going to go in different directions. You’re going to be surprised at where they start, and you’re going to be surprised at where they finish.” (Interesting answer considering we now know this – Ed)

Can you talk about the new characters we’ll see this season?

Alpert: “There’s going to be some really awesome new characters that are newly introduced in the season, and if you’re a fan of the comic and the show you’re going to be pleasantly surprised.”

Read our reviews of The Walking Dead season 3