These days, AMC’s Walking Dead goes through showrunners about as quickly as it does cast members. After departing the series about a month ago, the show’s second axed showrunner, Glen Mazzara, has finally opened up about what happened behind the scenes.
Not surprisingly, Mazzara’s abrupt and surprising departure was spurred by creative differences with the network. Mazzara stepped in to run the show during its second season after the series’ original producer Frank Darabont was forced out. The general consensus is that the show improved under Mazzara’s watch, with a faster pace and shocking deaths coming fast and furious to main cast members in the current third season.
Mazzara was involved in a panel attended by Deadline, and touched on his brief tenure as the man calling the shots for one of TV’s biggest hits:
“When people involved with the show are looking at the long-term plan, you know, they want something different. And what those differences are, you’d have to ask AMC. I was a hired gun coming in to support the creator of the show and, through odd circumstances, I ended up becoming the showrunner. I was just glad that I was able to contribute and not mess up the show, I see that as a win ... When you are the creator you can say this is what the show is. I didn’t create the show, I didn’t create the comic book so I was just glad I was able to contribute.”
It makes sense that AMC wants to make sure the series heads in a direction they agree with in the long term, but season three has shown that Mazzara’s wild style of storytelling is exactly what the show needs to succeed. Could it sustain that level of heightened insanity in its fourth year? Who knows? But if you slow the pace down to a crawl again to try and draw it out, you won’t have to worry, because it’ll start shedding viewers and may not make it to season five.
Best of luck to new showrunner Scott Gimple, and here’s hoping he can keep up with the avalanche of awesome that Mazzara left behind. What’s your take on Mazzara’s exit?