The Walking Dead executive producer Gale Anne Hurd has addressed concerns over the show's extreme violence ahead of its season 8 premiere. Last year, the season 7 premiere shocked some viewers enough to file complaints with the U.S. Federal Communications Commission, demanding that the violence be toned down for the rest of the series and that the FCC prevents anything like that from ever happening again. Of course, that's not exactly how the FCC operates - at least not anymore.
Still, Hurd sparked some debate among TV series and comic book fans when she revealed that they had toned down the violence for the season's back-half in order to appease viewers. However, the notion that The Walking Dead crew was catering to the vocal minority was later refuted by showrunner Scott M. Gimple, who said that the violence in that particular episode was exaggerated for a reason. Now, mere weeks ahead of The Walking Dead's season 8 premiere, Hurd has once again addressed concerns about violence in their zombie drama.
ComicBook spoke with Hurd about The Walking Dead during a recent set visit, and they asked her about concerns about violence ahead of the upcoming season 8 premiere. She explained that the show is still based on a comic book series, and so they have a responsibility to adhere to the source material, no matter how violent the comics get.
"Look, this is the thing, this is a show that comes from a comic book. The only thing that we changed up in [the season 7 premiere] is that two died instead of one. Issue 100 of the comic book was incredibly violent. For people who are fans of the comic book ... We've got to remember, without them, we wouldn't be making the show. It's important to embrace that fandom. There are shots that are directly, once again, panels from the comic book. But, that didn't mean that the show, from that point on, maintained that level. It was setting up this character, it was an homage to the comic book, and it set us on course for an all-out war for this season."
The season 7 premiere's pronounced violence certainly took some viewers by surprise, but as Hurd says, it was necessary for them to depict what kind of man Negan is, thereby setting up the rest of the season as well as the impending All Out War story arc.
Moreover, Hurd's comments about embracing the fandom and staying true to the comics is something that all comic book shows - not just superhero shows - should abide by. However, since the TV series has strayed away from the comics in many ways, some assumed that the series would be more family-friendly compared to the source material. After all, Negan hasn't really dropped any F-bombs on the series yet, at least not on live television. Interestingly, though, that's something that will change going forward. So, although they aren't depicting any more grotesque violence, they are still finding different ways to honor the source material while also maintaining the series' mature rating.
The Walking Dead season 8 premieres October 22nd on AMC.