“The Walking Dead” brought one story arc to a close in its midseason finale, “Too Far Gone.” With the midseason break stretching until February, there are only a few clues about the direction the show is headed in.
According to executive producer Gale Anne Hurd, the second half of Season 4 is going to feel quite different from its first half. Zap2it recently spoke on the phone with Hurd, and here are 10 things we learned from her about what’s coming next on the show and how Hershel’s death will affect the group.
On the introduction of Abraham, Rosita and Eugene: “Our characters have split up. The Prison really has been completely overrun and destroyed this time,” she says. “So we’ll be with them on the road and on the run. They’re bound to encounter new people, and certainly some of the people they’ll encounter include Abraham, Eugene and Rosita.”
On whether we’ll ever see Hershel again: “I’m hoping,” Hurd admits. “We do [flashbacks] rarely, but we have done it from time to time.”
On whether the Governor and Judith are truly dead: “That was a head shot! Lilly shot him,” Hurd says, confirming the Governor’s demise. As for baby Judith, she hedges, “First of all, I don’t think you’d ever want to see a baby being killed. That’s probably a line we won’t cross. But at the same time, habeas corpus. We’ll have to be just like them, wondering.”
On the decision to kill Hershel: “It’s one of those things where we never kill off a character willy nilly. Hershel really was the one character whose death will resonate the most with everyone,” she says. “There’s no one who didn’t like Hershel. He had no enemies. He could be relied upon. Obviously his two daughters are bereft. He had a strong relationship not only with Rick and Carl but also with Glenn. There wasn’t going to be someone we could kill off who would have the same level of impact, and there was no way that you could have a confrontation with the Governor and the group at the Prison without someone dying. That would have been a cheat.”
On why the Governor attacked Hershel instead of Michonne: Basically the same reasons as above. Hurd confirms the Governor killed Hershel because his death would have the greatest impact on the group.
On whether Daryl’s almost-death was meant to give fans a heart attack in the midseason finale: “It truly is not the intention to create sort of a fake out. It really is, ‘If this were really going down, what would it be right?’ And everyone has a close call,” she says.
On what comes next in Season 4: “Our characters are very much on the run, not as a group but split up, and they’re all in jeopardy because — as we’ve learned — being on the road alone is a difficult and dangerous place to be,” Hurd says. “It will also give us an opportunity to get to know who they are and whether they have the will to survive. How much have they changed after this devastation and can they retain their humanity?”
On whether the rest of Season 4’s storyline with follow the comics post-Prison assault: “We never follow completely. There’s no way to, because we have characters that aren’t in the comic books,” she says. “There’s simply no way, even if we wanted to, follow the comic books entirely.”
On how having the group so split up will affect the show: “It’s going to be quite different,” Hurd teases. “In the past, people have been left behind. Like in Season 2, Andrea was left behind at the farm, left for dead, and she ended up encountering Michonne and then Woodbury. We have done somewhat similar things, but never have we had the core group so split up. That’s a first for us.”
On whether there will be a return to familiar locations like Hershel’s barn: “We can’t talk about that,” Hurd says with a laugh.
“The Walking Dead” returns with the second half of Season 4 in February on AMC.