We're just shy of two months away from the start of The Walking Dead season 4, and we're starting to see the puzzle pieces come on to the table. During San Diego Comic-Con, AMC revealed a rather righteous trailer highlighting all of the in-fighting, walker shenanigans, and what-have-you. After that, we found out that there would be standalone episodes featuring The Governor, and now, show producer David Alpert is talking about civilization-building.
In a new interview with AMC's blog, Alpert reveals a few details about the nature of the threat that the prison collective will face, the show's proudest moments, their "Grateful Dead" wall, and more. Like others connected to the show, Alpert doesn't often stray from the vague native tongue of the Walking Dead set (which is fine because of spoilers...), but there is certainly a bit of land beyond the fog here.
Alpert on building up the prison community:
What we really have here in Season 4 is we dangle the carrot that civilization can be rebuilt… The notion that there’s civilization and the notion that there’s the possibility of there being laws and a sense of normalcy. I think we’re going to see an evolution in the walkers — there’s a whole bunch of new walkers — and we’ll see an evolution of the threat of human-on-human. Dangling the possibility of civilization will make people much more desperate and willing to do things that would have previously been unthinkable.
Comic fans may assume that this mirrors the suburban Washington D.C. enclave from the Walking Dead comic's later stages, but I assume that that is destined for a more full and faithful adaptation at a later point in the TV show's run than what Alpert is teasing, if only because of how central it has become to the story beyond the prison.
One could also argue that we saw the show's stab at newfound civilization and the dream of restored order with Woodbury last season, and that we saw how that can turn to rot if shepherded by the wrong kind of savior; however, we didn't get the chance to see Woodbury grow from the ashes into a post-apocalyptic Our Town, so maybe that's what this is. Plus, for many of the Woodbury exiles, the prison is a chance for a new start and Rick is surely mindful of the Governor's wrong turns because we saw him recognize the potential for such a bent evolution within himself last season, seemingly scaring him straight.
Speaking of evolution, it's weird to hear anyone connected to the show use that word when referring to the walkers and for someone to talk about "New Walkers". Concept creator and show producer Robert Kirkman has come out against making his zombies super-powered in the past, specifically in a 2010 interview when he said:
That's Romero's thing, the evolving of the zombies, and it's a very cool aspect to his movies. That's what he's embraced, but with The Walking Dead we try our best to differentiate as best as we can. We don't wear our Romero inspirations on our sleeve.
Both the show and the comic have embraced a sort of communal evolution before, as with the zombie herding, so maybe Alpert is referring to something more along those lines and not the introduction of Doctor Zed Sprinty McEvil-Genius.
As for the show's proudest moments, according to Alpert, they include the zombie Sophia in the barn shocker from season two (and Rick shooting her) and Carl's execution of Lori, his mother, following the birth of Judith, which is a name that still falls well short of Lil Ass-Kicker. You'll notice that both of those moments involve characters putting other characters down. These scenes are stunning gut punches. Separate growth moments for Rick and Carl, and for the show.
Throughout the show's run, Kirkman, Alpert, and the Walking Dead's other assorted writers and producers have used character death often - so much so that some have accused the show of using it as a crutch - but apparently, the cast and crew honor their fallen comrades with a wall in the production screening room which they call, "Our Grateful Dead". A nice tribute, right? Perhaps, but one has to wonder if one wall is enough.
Here's Alpert on the cluttered wall's potential for new inhabitants during season 4.
Oh, there’s going to be a whole bunch of people added to the wall.
We're not going to play the worthless speculation game and take a stab at who might... well, take a stab, or a bullet, or a bite, but that doesn't mean you can't. So, who goes down in season 4 of The Walking Dead, and don't you dare say Carol.
The Walking Dead returns on October 13th, 2013 on AMC