‘Sons of Anarchy’ Creator Predicts ‘Walking Dead’ Downfall in Seasons 4 & 5

Published 2 years ago by , Updated February 4th, 2013 at 3:33 pm,

Kurt Sutter Sons of Anarchy Sons of Anarchy Creator Predicts Walking Dead Downfall in Seasons 4 & 5

Kurt Sutter is not only well-known for his hit FX series Sons of Anarchy, but also for his outspoken manner and willingness to let his opinion be known through all the various outlets at his disposal. Recently, Sutter sounded off in regard to the surprising news that Glen Mazzara would be leaving his post as showrunner of The Walking Dead, saying AMC’s hit series will suffer as a result of its inability to maintain a constant creative presence on the show.

Very soon after the news broke that Mazzara would be leaving The Walking Dead, Sutter and The Shield creator, Shawn Ryan, took to Twitter to express their sentiment on the issue, questioning why showrunners would take their vision to AMC, and forecasting a tough road ahead because, Even zombies need consistency.”

Now, in a 12-minute video, Sutter has once again taken up the cause of creative vision vs. “a corporate culture,” and in a rather low-key fashion, details what he believes will be the downfall of The Walking Dead – placing the blame squarely on the shoulders of the “non-creative people” who are ultimately enforcing creative decisions at the cable network.

Sutter said:

“The show has a tremendous following; it has legs. They’re going to plug somebody else in there; they’ll plug some pour soul in there, or, my sense is that they won’t even hire a showrunner. My sense is that…they’ll throw a s***load of executives at it. They’ll take some poor sap on the writing staff and elevate him…they probably won’t even call him a showrunner…And that poor sap will ultimately be just expediting the notes and the vision of non-creative people, or at least non-creative TV people.”

It’ll work for a minute. In season 4, when this will all happen, the numbers will be big, and people will show up. Will it continue to do well? No. My sense is that without somebody like a Glen Mazzara running that show, eventually it will lose focus and the narratives will run out of steam, and it won’t be able to build off of itself, and it will suffer.”

Earlier in the video, Sutter’s criticism was pointed directly at Walking Dead creator, Robert Kirkman. Apparently, Sutter doesn’t believe that Kirkman has the necessary skills to manage a television series successfully, as he goes on to say:

“The process of showrunning and vision is not something everyone can do. You have to have somebody who understands the process of making a television show week after week.

Robert is an amazing visual artist and graphic artist who knows very little about TV. The reins keep going back to him in this process, and he doesn’t know how to run a show.”

Robert Kirkman The Walking Dead Sons of Anarchy Creator Predicts Walking Dead Downfall in Seasons 4 & 5

It’s not clear if Sutter simply meant Kirkman works in comics, or if he is under the impression Kirkman also works as an artist, but those comments may be related to a statement from Kirkman’s Twitter account which said:

@sutterink is brilliant and Sons is my favorite show on TV. Still, it’s upsetting to see him ranting about things he knows nothing about.”

While many of Sutter’s comments are pointed directly at AMC and Robert Kirkman, it seems as though his argument is ultimately in regard to how the creative process is handled at networks where he believes the vision of an individual is considered less important than a television program achieving a place in what he calls “the middle.”

The interesting thing is that, like Sutter, Kirkman is a brand unto himself, and even released a “manifesto” in 2008 detailing what he thought was wrong with the comic book industry, and why he vowed to pursue creator-owned work exclusively – essentially stating that in order for the comics industry to survive, it needed top creative voices working on original material, as opposed to supporting a large corporation. It’s not necessarily the same thing, but it does illustrate how similar Sutter and Kirkman’s thinking is; their primary concern is with their industry and the artists who make it work.

Danai Gurira Andrew Lincoln and David Morrissey in The Walking Dead Season 3 Sons of Anarchy Creator Predicts Walking Dead Downfall in Seasons 4 & 5

Sutter ends his video by admitting that “The Walking Dead is none of my business at all,” saying his rant is “in support of my fellow showrunners, my fellow artists – and hopefully as a little bit of a wakeup call to AMC.”

With Glen Mazzara’s final eight episodes set to begin in February, it will be a while before we find out if Sutter’s prediction for The Walking Dead will come to fruition. In the meantime, AMC is continuing its search for a new showrunner, which, as Sutter mentioned, is rumored to be an individual already on the writing staff, who will be promoted to an “elevated” position on the show.

Screen Rant will be sure to keep you up to date on all the happenings with The Walking Dead, as news is made available.

Source: Sutter Ink

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  1. FIGHT

    • NO!

    • Haha!!
      I’ll bet on Kirkman though…
      Sure, Sutter hangs with a bunch of bikers and looks tough with all his tattoos but Big Rob Kirkman has the bulk and a mind full of zombie killing ways to take Kurt down. 😉

  2. Uh… if Kirkman can write a comic… he can storyboard a TV show just as easily.

    Or is there some special “TV Show” powers only Sutter possesses?

    • Not everything that works in comics works well on TV.

      • @geco11:

        While that is true… the same skills used to create a good comic storyline (which Kirkman has done with TWD), can translate to laying out a TV series and season.

        In a good comic, you have to plan out the arcs and character development which many TV shows lack. Sutter thinks Kirkman is just an “artist” just because he works in the comic medium where actually Kirkman is more of a writer/director/producer… talents which lend themselves to TV.

        • Storyboarding and producing a TV show are not the same animal.

    • I agree with you completely. This guy was probably Sutter’s friend and his vag hurts for him. He’s got a great show but the Walking Dead is also great. And it is not great because of the “show runner”. It is great because they have great source material to take from. This has already proved it translates to TV.

  3. IMO the smart move for AMC would be to promote Gale Anne Hurd to showrunner but I doubt she would take the job because it’s practically guaranteed that she will be out within 2 years…

    • Would that be a promotion or a step backward?

      • looking at the shows track record, this would be more of a death sentence

  4. I can barely get through the opening song in SoA.

    Just wanted to add that. Not as if it contributes to the current debate here.

  5. Having never seen a single episode of either show, I’ll just add that it’s a shame that people have to insult others to help get a point across.

  6. one of my favorite shows on tv is sons. but i feel like Sutter should shut up and mind is own network…

  7. so…why does he call Kirkman a “graphic artist”? Last time I checked he’s the creator/author of twd…

  8. Sutter should shut up, too many people think because he has a hit show it gives him the right to spew crap whenever he wants. He should look at his own show 1st though.. season 5 was a let down after the quality season 4 of Sons.
    My only concern with the swapping people around in The Walking Dead is that it sometimes takes people a bit to get in the groove and whomever takes over is going to have to hit the ground in stride to keep the momentum going created by this season.

    • I agree with Loomis. Ed, you’re being a wee bit hypocritical suggesting that Sutter should keep his mouth shut, when you apparently can’t. He is not spewing crap, just addressing his opinion about the creative process when corporate heads stick their noses in too deep. Granted, the way he comes off in the video isn’t very eloquent, but thats just his manner of speaking. We all have a voice. Lets use it. Or are we really zombies?!
      Also, in my opinion (…and actually everyone I’ve discussed with about series) Sons of Anarchy is one of the very few shows that can keep the plot/story interesting through five seasons.

      • I love SOA but I must also agree that the show has also gone downhill since Season 4. Yes, the details are better thought out than this show but the excitement level isn’t the same for the last couple of years. Sutter should focus on his show before rambling about another show.

      • sons of anarchy is the same thing every season. same story line/plot every season. its been boring since season 2.

  9. Aren’t his comments the same as everyone’s comments on this site. To say “he think it gives him some right” because of his success implies that because of his success he actually doesn’t even have the same right as people who comment on sites like this to spout their ideas intelligent or otherwise. The only difference is people may actually listen to him.

  10. Kirkman thanks this jacka$$ for the publicity

    • LOL so true.

  11. I’m not sure why everyone is attacking Sutter. I mean sure it may have come off “wrong” but he’s sticking up for the show and he’s not “really” attacking Kirkman. He’s saying Glen Mazzara shouldn’t be going anywhere and that AMC should let creative people be creative people. He’s right, don’t let the delivery sour the message.

    • I totally agree with your comments. Couldn’t have said it better

  12. Really Kurt should shut his mouth and pay attention to his own show. Sons started to go down hill in season 4 and season 5 was just a horrible mess.

    Dead has some ups and downs in the first two seasons but so far season 3 has been the strongest yet.

  13. It’d be kinda funny if the TWF gang happened across some biker zombies that looked awfully familiar…

  14. I don’t agree with how he voiced his opinions, but he’s right. If AMC keeps messing around, this show will go downhill. That’s coming from a fan.

  15. Being the Showrunner for TWD is kind of like being Professor of Dark Arts at Hogwarts. Its the job absolutely everybody wants but nobody manages to last more than a season or two.

  16. I remember when Frank Darabont left and everyone was acting like the show was over and it would be terrible. And it turned out the season he has nothing to do with is the best. There are plenty of story lines already laid out in the comics. One person leaving means nothing.

  17. as much as I love the walking dead and a lot of what AMC has put out, I agree with most of what he said. A show doesnt make itself. It needs a steady and ready creative team behind it. People willing to stick with a show through the highs and lows and not be bought out of their spot or quit while they’re on top. with the staff behind TWD changing every season, its only a matter of time before the show is run by people who didnt even watch the first two seasons. How can a show stay great if none of the people behind it remain?

    • The only thing is that the writers, creator of the show stays but Mazzara isn’t. Nothing changes except for Mazzara. People seem to forget that even though Mazzara runs the show, everything goes through Kirkman for finale say

  18. Sutter ought to know, he couldn’t even keep Sons of Anarchy good for one season.

    • LOL, SOA Season 1-3 was good but has gone downhill since IMHO

  19. It’s ironic that he bit his tongue off as a character in sons but can’t bite his tongue in real life

  20. The thing i know is Walking Daed season 3 seems a little bland with everyone just cutting zombies in half, it really takes away the creepy and unsafe feeling of season one and two. season three reminds me of what the Resident Evil movies are ,and seasons One and two are what it should have been. I think they have lost sight of what really makes this show work, and have added way to much action.

    • i think your right but also wasnt the group looking for safety wouldnt it make sense that they would get better shelter and have better survival skills as it goes on. the zombies arent even the threat anymore but that was obvious coming into the season because the tagline. i still think season 1 was the best though

  21. Here’s the thing, I seemed to remember people saying how the series was over when Darabount left but the series got stronger with even better ratings. It’s different if the material has no reference to go off of(SOA) but with TWD, the source material is already laid out and just needs to be translate on script. You get a showrunner that keeps on the same page as Kirkman and we will have a showrunner for more than 2 years. In the end though I don’t think it matters. Now if you get rid of the writers then you have issues.

  22. Frankly, everyone jumping on Sutter needs to grow up and shut their hole. As the creative force behind a very successful and interesting show, he has the qualifications to be able to voice an informed opinion and this is what he is doing. It’s obvious that he admires the show and is concerned. The Fans should be also. it’s never good for a show to have it’s Showrunner replaced this often. He’s obviously not a Fanboy who follows the actual books and so getting your panties in a twist about him not knowing Kirkman’s creative role on the book is silly.


      I don’t think anyone is disagreeing that not having a stable showrunner is a problem.

      The problem is Sutter’s assessment of Kirkman… and if he does not “know Kirkman’s creative role”… than how can he comment accurately on it?

  23. Sutter sounds more like he’s butthurt over the fact that TWD is still good even with different showrunner. For me personally, I’m ok with it because how different season 1 over 2 and 3 is and with new showrunner, the show felt different and enjoyably fresh.

  24. I share his concerns. Harsh but reasonable concerns. The details of Darabont’s departure that came out regarding budget tightening and minimizing expansive outdoor shoots, etc. were discouraging and hardly sounded like “creative differences”. We KNOW that contract costs regarding Mad Men led to some money motives in the AMC lineup that hurt other shows pace and presentation. Does anybody really think Mazzerra is leaving because he and AMC have stylistic impasses as opposed to scale of the show disagreements? It sounds like bad news to me, just like last time. Still, I love the show as it has become, for the most part, so I hope they find a way. Mixed leadership has rarely worked out, but sometimes the new custodians make the show better, like the fourth season of Enterprise.

  25. I watch TWD and SOA Sutter should realize that his own show has lost its creativity. The show should be called Son Of Gemma My gosh could he inject his wife into every scene of the show any more than he does?
    I know Gemma is a lead in the show but good grief ! There are so many talented actors in the show Just look at the ability of them yet it is all about Gemma.
    The only great scenes I saw this season were Kim Coates when his daughter died and when he thought Jax was giving him to Pope. The rest was Gemma getting high Gemma and Clay Gemma and her boyfriend Gemma and Tara Gemma and the Sherriff Gemma and Jax Gemma and her boys Gemma and Jaxes ex etc etc etc . With that said TWD moves around the cast and gives each a significant part in the show. That is using each actors abilities to the fullest a lesson Sutter should learn.

  26. Soa is a fictional show based on a genre of actual people. All sutter had to do was watch national geographic documentaries on bikers to get new ideas. Not really an original idea. What’s next sutter? Locked up abroad of anarchy? When animals attack of anarchy? Funny how he is criticizing a show that has barely scratched the surface of comic. It could fail for two seasons, point is, Kirkman drew every scene. He didn’t watch a show about something, or dress up for a day and then exploit it. TWD is his to mold, create, to do what he wants with.

    What’s next for you sutter? Season 100 ? Let me guess…..

    It will be about rich executive bikers driving their fancy bikes to bike night?

    To be completely honest, I ride motorcycles. Have my whole life, grew up around REAL bikers. And SOA is a bunch of primadonna

    Lets settle this with a show vs show merger, SOA vs. TWD.

    P.s : Darryl is a better example of a true biker then Heath ledgers younger brother would ever be.


  28. I think the downfall happened already with the worst season finale ever and the 4 to 1 commercial Time. I think mr Sutter hit it right on the nose. Why should I start watching another series on AMC