There are still three episodes left in “The Walking Dead” Season 3, but it’s never too soon to start thinking about Season 4 and the transition to new showrunner Scott Gimple.
Glen Mazzara has been manning the ship ever since Frank Darabont departed midway through Season 2, and fans have clearly sparked to Mazzara’s dramatic, action-packed and conflict-driven vision for the show. Unfortunately, we’re losing Mazzara as well next season. That’s when Gimple will take over as showrunner.
While we have no idea yet what Season 4 will look like — the writers have just begun the process of breaking stories — there’s reason to believe Gimple is a solid choice to continue the strong work Mazzara has been doing on the show. For one, the episodes he’s written since joining the series in Season 2 — “Pretty Much Dead Already,” “Hounded” and last week’s spectacular “Clear” among them — have been first-rate installments.
For another, he clearly has the support of the cast and crew. “Walking Dead” comics creator and series executive producer Robert Kirkman told us at the show’s recent PaleyFest event that he has complete faith in Gimple’s talents. “I think having Scott Gimple come up and become an executive producer and showrunner is gonna provide a very tremendous voice for the show,” Kirkman said. “I think it’s gonna give us a clear path moving forward. He’s been an integral part of the writers room since the beginning of Season 2. I think we’ve got some really exciting times ahead of us under his leadership.”
“Scott has a really amazing vision for where the show goes,” adds fellow executive producer David Alpert. “He has it sort of fully mapped out. He’s collaborative, he’s an amazing writer and amazing producer. We really couldn’t be luckier to have him as our new showrunner.”
“When that slot opened up, he was obviously the clear choice,” Kirkman adds of Gimple. “You know he also wrote the episode where Sophia comes out of the barn [“Pretty Much Dead Already”]. A lot of the key moments that fans love that are constantly talked about are things he was a very big part of in the room and in some cases ended up writing directly into the episodes. He’s been a really strong asset to us and was the clear choice.”
Danai Gurira, who joined the cast this season as Michonne and had her strongest showcase episode yet in “Clear,” also vouches for Gimple. “A lot of the episodes I’m heavily involved in, he wrote,” Gurira told us earlier this year. “He’d be on set and we worked very intimately together. I deeply respect him as a writer and a creative voice. I trust him a great deal, he’s a great artist.”
In addition to Gimple taking over as showrunner, “The Walking Dead” has also promoted makeup guru and frequent director Greg Nicotero and producer Tom Luse to executive producers. “They’ve already brought it,” executive producer Gale Anne Hurd told us about the promotions. “They’ve earned it. We’re probably a little late.”
Nicotero told us he’s already eager to jump into the new season. “We did the pitch out for Season 4 the other day,” he told us at PaleyFest. “Our team of writers is so great. I feel we’re poised for greatness for Season 4. We have a couple new writers that are top notch and I feel like we’re headed to the stars.”