The AMC suits admit they were worried about how fans — and the cast — would react to two episodes of The Walking Dead Season 4 focused just on The Governor (David Morrissey).
AMC President Charlie Collier told Entertainment Weekly it gave them pause when they saw that plan for Episodes 6 and 7. "Of course," he said. "You get those scripts and go, ‘What are people going to think?’ And are we going to see the Norman Reedus fans saying, ‘Where is he?’ But what a payoff!"
(Side note: It’s a good sign for Daryl Dixon fans if the AMC president is worried about their reactions! He has to know about the plan to riot if Daryl is gone from more than just a couple of episodes.)
AMC programming director Joel Stillerman said "My biggest fear is that [David Morrissey] was such an engaging character — so much so we put him in another pilot immediately [Line of Sight] — my fear was how’s it going to feel for Andrew Lincoln and the rest of the cast. But they were so generous and so excited. They want that show to succeed and continue to expand and not rely on the same storytelling success it’s had."
Andrew Lincoln (Rick Grimes) even previewed those particular Governor episodes by saying the two scripts he'd read without his own presence may have been the best of the series. So the cast is not exactly ego-tistic about being in every shot.
Joel noted that we should expect even more of that standalone format in the rest of the season. "The back eight [episodes], we’ve scattered [the characters] in all different directions — you’ll see more of that."
We've already been warned that Team Prison won’t be reuniting quickly, the way they did at the end of Season 2 when the farm was overrun. So it makes sense if we have a series of this mini group eps. The Grimes boys appear to be first, since we know Episode 9 will have lots of action for them, especially Carl Grimes (Chandler Riggs).
The brief teasers we've seen for the second half have focused on how these various groups are scattered, with Glenn Rhee (Steven Yeun) appearing to be on his own after ditching the bus; Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) and Beth Greene (Emily Kinney) on the run together; and Michonne (Danai Gurira) doing whatever Michonne does, which will probably be awesome.
However, we also have several new faces coming in the final eight episodes of this season. There's Abraham, Rosita, and Eugene, possibly arriving together as they did in the comics; plus new guy Gareth, whoever he is; and we've been told to expect Morgan again. Showrunner Scott Gimple has to have a whole chessboard in his mind to keep all of these characters and their stories' on the right path!
How do you feel about more standalones? It was great to take that break back in Season 3, Episode 12 with "Clear" (which Scott wrote), but if we have to go several episodes without checking in on various characters, it might get frustrating. We're already frustrated waiting to see what happened to Carol Peletier (Melissa McBride)!
The Walking Dead Season 4 returns with Episode 9 on Sunday, February 9 at 9 p.m. ET on AMC.
Source: Entertainment Weekly