For those not constantly counting down the days until The Walking Dead's season 4 premiere, the return of AMC's hit zombie drama is still nearly six weeks away. While the wait has been undeniably agonizing for fans, the network has been kind enough to release several sneak peeks, trailers and featurettes in recent months to hold them over and just recently, the show's cast, producers and creators provided some tasty season 4 tidbits that should continue to whet fans' appetites as they ride out this next month and a half.
In talking with THR, the cast and producers answered (as best as they could) some of the most burning questions about the upcoming season, which new showrunner Scott Gimple said will "remix a lot of elements from the books in a different context." So, what exactly will season 4 bring? Here are the highlights from the interviews and some things we learned:
- Season 4 will feature a comics episode. While the upcoming season will remix material from the comics in different ways, executive producer Greg Nicotero said one episode this season is "almost verbatim" with an issue of the comic. Said Nicotero: "It's really fascinating to make those slight departures, introduce new characters and then get to a situation where you take one episode and you really stick to the source material."
- Not all of the former Woodbury residents assimilate seamlessly into the new prison community. Producers teased that many of season 4's conflicts will revolve around the old Woodbury group versus Rick's (Andrew Lincoln) crew and that not everyone will be able to buy into the latter's way of life. Co-star Steven Yeun (Glenn) also hinted that Rick may not be the same leader with the expanded group, saying: "The community is growing and that mixes with the fact that there's less of a dictatorship than there has been."
- Rick could lose a limb. In the comics, Rick loses a hand in an epic battle against the Governor (David Morrissey), which obviously hasn't happened on the show yet, but that's not to say it won't sometime in the show's future, according to executive producer Dave Alpert. Lincoln certainly wants it to happen soon. Said Lincoln: "I keep saying we should do it, so maybe that's going to happen!"
- The Governor will change. At the end of season 3, viewers saw the Governor go to the ultimate extreme and the events of last season's finale will have a lasting impact on the character, according to Gimple who said: "It will weigh upon him and it will change him." Morrissey added that season 4 is "about how he (the Governor) deals and comes to terms with the man he is and what he's capable of and which side he's going to fall on."
- A new threat will be introduced. Between the walkers and the Governor, it's clear that Rick and co. already have plenty of enemies, but Gimple promised that a new threat will challenge the survivors in season 4. Said Gimple: "It's someone we haven't seen before. Someone unusual; you can't stab them in the face, you can't reason with it. It's a force that would be dangerous in this world and in the world of 'The Walking Dead', it's terrifying."
- The walkers will become more dangerous. As the series has gone along, its core group of survivors have learned how to adapt to their surroundings and dispose of walkers rather easily. Apparently, that could change in season 4, as Nicotero hinted that the zombies will pose a major threat, as they did in the first two seasons. Said Nicotero: "We've devised ways to put our characters in instantaneous jeopardy without them being prepared for it. Danger could come from anywhere, and it was really important that we re-establish the rules of our world."
- Season 4 will be split into two parts. As it has in the past, the show will split the new season into two eight-episode halves. Each half will contain its own story, but the path for the second half story will be set up in the season premiere, which will also unveil the new threat that was mentioned above. Of the premiere, Nicotero said: "It's really the one episode of the season where there's a little bit of lightheartedness before the s*** hits the fan."
While there weren't many complaints about the show's third season, some fans felt the series was getting a bit monotonous, as its nomadic characters continued to move around and slay countless amounts of the undead. However, after going through some of these teasers, even those nitpickers would probably agree that season 4 is aiming to shake things up, while continuing to develop its characters.
With a slew of new characters, more threatening walkers and ever-evolving group dynamics, there seems to be a lot to look forward to in season 4. Now, all we have to do is wait the six weeks to see how it all comes together on screen.
Tune in to AMC for the season 4 premiere of The Walking Dead on October 13, 2013.