“The Walking Dead’s” Season 4 midseason return might not have been the most action-packed of the series’ episodes, but it did shed some light on some of its major character’s darkest thoughts. In addition to Carl’s breakdown at the unconscious Rick, viewers also had their Michonne suspicions confirmed when they found out she did in fact have a child in her pre-zombie apocalypse life.
That was something that the producers were excited to explore in the TV series. Comic book fans likely recognized bits of that from the Robert Kirkman issues, but actress Danai Gurira brought her own gravitas to the reveal. It helped that the way “The Walking Dead” showed Michonne’s pre-walker life was unlike anything it’s done in the past.
“I think it’s important to get a real sense of what she went through, but to do it in a stylistic way that’s in keeping with the show, and perhaps introducing a few new twists on it,” Gale Anne Hurd tells Zap2it.
Just don’t expect every episode going forward to spotlight only a couple of characters who are on the run. Hurd explains that while some characters will get longer looks while everyone is separated, the format of the next seven episodes will be varied.
“We do mix it up. There’s not a formula that we’re following necessarily for the back eight, but there will be times when we focus like we did in that episode,” she says of “After.” “Since we’re not in the Prison any longer and everyone’s on the run, there’s going to be a significant focus on survival, but I also thing we’ll have an opportunity to know a lot of these characters a lot better.”
Not all the characters viewers thought were dead and left behind were absent from “The Walking Dead’s” midseason premiere. Of the brief reappearances of Hershel and the Governor, Hurd says with a laugh, “We really, really, really hated to see them go, as you can see.”
Chandler Riggs‘ Carl had a lot of time to himself in “After,” which allowed viewers to see how a teenager would act in a post-apocalyptic world. Carl is at the point in his life where he thinks he can do everything better than his father Rick, though that rebellion doesn’t always work out for the best in the world he’s living in.
“I think that what we can examine is a struggle all parents have in raising a teenager or an almost teenager, their desire to be independent. But you’ve got the life-or-death stakes of the zombie apocalypse. There’s so much there to mine for great character development and storytelling,” Hurd says.
She adds of Riggs, “Chandler, you can’t really call him a child actor. He goes head-to-head with our incredible adult cast. They don’t treat him like a child.”
There is a lesson to be learned from this Carl episode, though. He was a bit frivolous with his bullets, and that was definitely a bad call.
“The truth is, now that we’ve seen it, every bullet is going to be precious now,” Hurd says.
Now that “The Walking Dead” is back, Hurd promises big things ahead. “There are going to a few upcoming episodes that will knock your socks off,” she teases.
“The Walking Dead” airs Sundays on AMC at 9 p.m. ET/PT.