Frank Darabont’s departure from The Walking Dead has certainly left fans of the zombie series more than a little concerned that the show will suffer as a result.

Not so, says the new No. 1 Glen Mazzara, who spoke with the media concerning how his take on the material will not be an attempt to emulate Darabont’s style.

“I think the show would be inauthentic if I tried to mimic’s Frank’s voice. I’m not Frank Darabont and I shouldn’t try to be. I think that would hurt the show,” Mazzara stated, adding his awareness that trying to fill the void left by a well-known talent like Darabont is a daunting task – not just for him, but the entire cast. “Let me be honest, it was rough. There’s an emotional connection to Frank that they’re never going to have to another writer/producer.”

To Mazzara’s credit, however, his attention is focused, first and foremost, on The Walking Dead – not others’ perception of him or the controversy. “There’s been all this concern that I’m going to f— up this show, and really, we’re just trying to get it done.”

Thankfully, Darabont, Mazzara and the rest of the writing crew had pretty much mapped out the entirety of season 2 – with around eight of the season’s twelve episodes completely scripted. Mazzara will also potentially benefit from a midseason hiatus (for eleven weeks) after episode 7 that could help cleanse everyone’s pallets.

The break begins on what executive producer Gale Ann Hurd is calling a great cliffhanger. So, in addition to finding out what’s in store for Rick Grimes and Co., the second half of the season will also feature all eyes on Mazzara – to see if he plans to steer the ship any differently that Darabont.

To hear Mazzara say it, there are no plans to rock the boat:

“We all did a lot of work on plotting this season under Frank, and part of the reason we’ve had such a smooth transition is that it’s a fully articulated world. This [season] is consistent with the material that we did last year. I think, like any second season, you work out the bugs. You try to improve. What you’re seeing is the usual growth of any TV show, creatively. There’s no plan to deviate from what we worked out, there’s no different vision of the show.”

That vision, according to comic series creator Robert Kirkman, is to make the show bigger than season 1 by constantly pushing the envelope. In season 2, the zombie kills will be unlike anything seen on television before. Kirkman said, Breaking Bad keeps setting new precedents for us to try and top. The fight really, for me, is to find something that they’re not going to let us do, so we have to continually top ourselves.”

As much as many might like it, however, The Walking Dead is no rail shooter – Mazzara assures there will be breaks in the dispatching of the undead.

“You need to break the tension. This is not a bleak world, it is an intense world, but you need to have humor and hope in it otherwise it’s a very bleak, ugly world and that’s not something we’re interesting in doing.” 

Keep in mind that while Darabont is no longer running the show, he is still listed as an executive producer – what that means in terms of his level of influence is likely only to be felt when (and if) the show begins its third season.

The Walking Dead season 2 returns with a 90-minute premiere, October 16 @9pm on AMC.

Source: TV Guide