Frank Darabont's dismissal from his role as the showrunner on AMC's The Walking Dead was a crushing blow to fans of the series when it was announced earlier this summer. All representatives have been willing to say (officially) is that the split was due to "creative differences." Though it likely had far more to with the budgetary (and as a result creative) stranglehold that the network put on the then executive producer.
The departure of the prolific and beloved filmmaker left a gap that his second-in-command Glen Mazzara stepped up to fill. Yesterday AMC announced that Mazzara would be getting a co-executive producer in the form of special effects make-up artist Greg Nicotero.
Nicotero has been with the show since the beginning and played a crucial role in the design of The Walking Dead's zombies. In addition to what we have already seen of the artist's creative effects work, audiences will get a taste of what Nicotero has to offer as a storyteller when AMC launches a six-episode web series on amctv.com beginning October 3rd.
The (now) executive producer conceived of and directed the webisodes which according to the network will:
"Tell an “origin” story of a woman’s struggle to survive and to protect her family as the world begins to fall apart. Fans have the opportunity to explore the back story of one of the most celebrated “walkers” last season. It focuses on (one of Nicotero's personal creations) “Bicycle Girl,” the infamous zombie from season one, who was shot by Rick Grimes in the pilot episode. Fans learn about this woman’s life before the apocalypse, and watch her story unfold into what becomes her ultimate demise into zombie-hood."
It is possible that in addition to the directorial skills he brings to the table, that Nicotero's effects expertise will be utilized as he and Mazzara attempt to maintain the quality of the series in the face of the budget cuts that have been enforced.
The Walking Dead was shooting episode four and prepping episode five when Darabont was let go, so it will be interesting to trace the development of the show in relation to the shifts in the creative leads as season two unfolds and leads into (a possible) season three.
The Walking Dead season 2 returns with a 90-minute premiere, October 16 @9pm on AMC.
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