The writers of “The Walking Dead” have let their imaginations run wild for Season 4 of the hit AMC series, so the zombies will be more incredible than any season before. For example, in one of the first five episodes, there is a moss-covered walker, who was crushed under a tree, where he has been for months and months before getting freed.
“The writers sit down in the writer’s room and they kick it around,” executive producer/showrunner Scott Gimple said in the press room at Comic-Con. “We come up with things. We go, ‘Oh yeah, they’re never going to be able to do that.’ Then we sit down with Greg [Nicotero, co-executive producer and special effects makeup designer]. He’s like, ‘Oh yeah, I can totally do that.'”
In addition to amazing walkers this season, there is a great deal of pressure on the group — not just from the zombies who are a real threat, but also from a new source.
“The group dynamic starts to get more combustible and the pressure certainly builds,” said Andrew Lincoln, who plays Rick Grimes.
In addition to the zombies and the new threat, an old threat will be back as well: The Governor (David Morrissey) is returning — although neither Gimple nor Morrissey would comment in which episode he appears.
“It’s about: On which side is he going to fall?,” Morrissey said. “Is he going to go for the good side today, or is he going to go for the bad side? That battle inside him is what I find so interesting about him, what the writers have done so well.”
It is hard to imagine that the Governor implementing his good side is something that could happen, but along those lines, executive producer Gail Ann Hurd made this cryptic comment: “The people who were killing each other in the season finale need to find a way to co-exist, and everything that is inherent in creating two communities that used to be at war.”
One thing we do know for sure is Season 4 will find Rick on a more even keel than last year. Because of his children — Carl [Chandler Riggs] and his baby daughter, Rick has decided to renounce his leadership role.
“I do think he was so far lost last season,” Lincoln explained. “I think if you lose him too far, you lose the comic book as well, because he has always been that central role. What I have noticed in the first scripts this season is how the world is psychologically changing these people.”
In the Season 3 finale, Carl killed a man that he may not have had to kill, causing Rick to realize that his son is out of control. So, Rick is trying to subdue his own brutal instincts and take back his responsibility as a father.
“You see a man attempting to change, or maybe return to the man he once was because of the kids,” said Lincoln. Then he teased, “I never thought they would start this season the way they did, but that is all I can say.”
In the first six episodes of Season 4 of “The Walking Dead,” viewers will also learn more about Tyreese (Chad Coleman), Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) and Carol (Melissa McBride).
“Prison is claustrophobic,” Coleman said. “Tyreese is trying to find his footing in the new community and see where he lands, what his real role is in juxtaposition to what has been established and how he fits into those rules of engagement. He is always confronting the gross violence and somehow trying to hang on to a humane way of dealing with it.”
As for Glenn (Steven Yeun) and Maggie (Lauren Cohan), they made a commitment to each other at the end of Season 3 to stay together, which they are honoring.
“They have agreed pretty much that they are together and they are living life as normal as possible,” Yeun said. “Even bringing in the new group, we are going to strive for that. Where Glenn and Maggie pick up in four is striving for normalcy. It may be different ideas of that but they are striving for normalcy.”
“The Walking Dead” Season 4 = “More Zombies Than Ever Before”
The new “Walking Dead” characters being buzzed about for Season 4 are Laura, a single mom, Melody and Don. Gimple would neither confirm nor deny their existence, and Lincoln pushed aside the possibility that one of women is a new love interest, and joked, “The fans have decided Michonne (Danai Gurira) and I are having an affair this season. Then Norman [Reedus, who plays Daryl] chipped in and said, ‘We could go three ways on this.'”
But on the serious side, Lincoln said he thinks it is way too soon after Lori’s (Sarah Wayne Callies) death for Rick to think about a new romance. “There should be a little more grieving time,” he pointed out. “I think it is too profound a death for me to get back into the dating game just yet … but I may be wrong.”
One new character that Gimple did confirm to xfinityTV is Zach (Kyle Gallner), who will have a romantic relationship with one of the characters — possibly Beth Greene (Emily Kinney).
“A lot of people have been picked up along the way since Woodbury, and Zach comes from this group of essentially college students that had entered the prison,” Gimple told xfinityTV. “He has a pretty big impact on the group. Those other characters that you are talking about are a little further down the line.”
“The Walking Dead” returns for its fourth season on Sunday, Oct. 13 at 9/8c on AMC.