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.
"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."
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.
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