Almost immediately after The Walking Dead ended its successful and widely publicized six-episode run on AMC, head honcho Frank Darabont did away with his entire writing staff. The rumored intent was to replace them with freelancers. That idea, it seems, is no longer the case.
Glen Mazzara (The Shield, Hawthorne) recently signed a deal with AMC to become the new second in command to Darabont, serving as writing executive producer. In direct contradiction to those earlier reports, Mazzara’s first task will be to assemble a new staff of writers for the show’s upcoming second season.
Under this title, Mazzara has now effectively filled the role left vacant from the writing executive producer of season one, Charles “Chic” Eglee, who in the interim has aligned himself with another creator-owned comic book property, FX’s upcoming Powers from Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Avon Oeming.
Mazzara, coincidentally, was a freelance writer on The Walking Dead, penning season one’s penultimate episode “Wildfire.” His other television credits include a role as consulting producer on the upcoming Criminal Minds spin-off Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior and as showrunner on the first season of Starz’s Crash.
What could have prompted such an abrupt about-face? Well, for one, season 2 of The Walking Dead will contain 13 episodes, more than double that of season one. Secondly, Darabont’s involvement throughout the first season was decidedly hands-on—officially writing two full episodes, but rumored to have strong input in the remaining four; a fact that led many to conclude he would be handling the majority of the writing duties on the show’s sophomore effort.
Perhaps the increase in episodes, and Darabont’s already heavy workload as executive producer, sometimes director and writer, has proven too much a commitment for him to also oversee an influx of freelancers. While the television watching world will likely never hear such a statement from anyone involved in the series, it’s a good bet that a full-time writing staff and the addition of Mazzara will serve as a much-needed prop to the potentially over worked Darabont. Ironically, the writing crew Mazzara has been recruiting will be as big, if not bigger, than the crew let go at the end of season one.
What are your thoughts? Does the tumultuous tenure of the show’s creative staff make you leery of the upcoming second season for The Walking Dead? Perhaps, given the first season's deviations from the source material, this change in writers bodes well for the continuation of the series. Let us know with your comments.