Like HBO's Game of Thrones, AMC's The Walking Dead is wildly popular, unabashedly violent, and famous for killing off major characters, sometimes when you least suspect it. So with the end of season 4 leaving Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and his thoroughly traumatized but still-tough band of survivors in a grim position as they are held by the likely cannibals of Terminus, the season finale's cliffhanger left us with the promise of only more death.
More than even showrunner Scott Gimple, The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman is the one person who knows when and how some of our favorite characters will meet their ends. Despite the many and varied deviations the show takes from the source material, Kirkman is closely involved in the show's development. As the latest season 5 trailer promises, Rick's extended family will face more peril than ever.
While at San Diego Comic-Con 2014, Robert Kirkman spoke with EW Radio, and when asked about how tough it is to say goodbye to actors who are going to be killed off, he said:
“It’s kinda worse than that. Because I got a pretty good idea when all of them are dying. To a certain extent, if we follow the comic, like possibly even more than [showrunner] Scott [Gimple] knows.”
Since the show doesn't exactly follow the comic books, the fates of the characters are theoretically more fluid than Kirkman is allowing here, but Kirkman elaborated on such an ordeal, saying:
“So I’m always like…two years, three years, six months, two weeks, oh, God this is awful! It’s really rough. Doing the comic, it was fine because it was just lines on a paper. Whatever. We’re killing that guy. Cool. But the show, it sucks because we all work together, we hang out and have a great time. But, you know, the story’s gotta get done and people gots to die, as I like to say. It’s pretty rough.”
More interesting are Kirkman's comments on characters who were slated to die only to have the show's creative team change their mind. According to Kirkman, they of course cannot let on:
“You can’t tell ’em, because we change our minds all the time. And that’s the other really bad thing about it. We can’t really give them that much warning because there’s always a chance that we’ll get into actually writing the scripts after we plan things out and we’re like, ‘Nope, that character’s living.’ Which has happened many times. So we don’t want to have many false news giving situations.”
With this in mind, it's anyone's guess as to exactly what fate has in store for many of the fans' favorite surviving characters. We know at least a few things about what awaits in season 5 for characters like Rick and Michonne, and as the whole gang joins Terminus in heading to Washington, D.C. to find a supposed cure, it is more clear than ever that really, anyone could go at any time.
Are you looking forward to season 5? Let us know in the comments.
The Walking Dead returns for season 5 on Sunday, October 12 @9pm on AMC.