Robert Kirkman, the creator of the comic book The Walking Dead, writer of episodes of The Walking Dead, Fear the Walking Dead and other projects, may be one of the hardest-working writers in Hollywood today. But he managed to take time out of his ridiculously busy schedule to speak to audiences at New York Comic Con on Thursday.
He had a great deal to say about The Walking Dead: the comic book, the television shows, the videogame and the entire TWD matter. Here’s some of what we learned from Kirkman, who was interviewed by Nerdist.com’s Dan Casey.
About the upcoming season of The Walking Dead:
It’s going to be the most intense season of The Walking Dead yet. There’s big cliffhangers at the end of every episode.
[Maggie has] become very assertive … bridging the gap between the Alexandrians and Rick’s group. We’re going to see her kicking butt. There’s a lot of cool stuff with Maggie coming.
We’re doing more CGI augmentation on the zombies. There are a lot of green noses that are going to get taken away digitally [to better show the decay of the zombies’ flesh].
About the next season of Fear the Walking Dead:
There’s definitely some water action coming up. There will be seafaring adventures. There will be reasons to get off the boat and get on to a different boat. It’s going to be a journey, where people are finding a place where they’re not in danger. And the open ocean may not be that place.
About the upcoming issues of The Walking Dead comic books:
Alpha [leader of the enemy camp, The Whisperers] showed Rick the herd they’re managing that they can use at any moment. But Rick and his group don’t know how many Whisperers there really are.
There’s big stuff happening, and it’s going to change things in an important way. Charlie [Adlard, the comic book’s artist] and I have been rocking and rolling schedule-wise. We’re way ahead of schedule.
On what makes The Walking Dead properties so successful:
I think The Walking Dead is as strong as it is because I’m able to hand things off. Just giving [creators such as Telltale Games] general direction on what makes The Walking Dead The Walking Dead, and them following that to a tee.
Trusting talented people in their fields with The Walking Dead is my MO.
On the differences between the television show and the comic book:
Carol in the show is a completely different character from the comic. The Carol in the comic is my attempt to show just how broken an individual can become. She lives a horrible succession of bad things and commits suicide by zombie because she can’t take it anymore.
Carol in the show is a much better character, to be honest. [She] is made stronger by the horrible things that happen to her in the show. Melissa McBride does such an amazing job, so she’s safe. [Kirkman shrugs his shoulders here, to imply “safe” is a relative term.]
[And as for keeping Glenn alive on television when he’s dead in the comics:] It wasn’t his time to go
On killing off characters in the comics:
I regret all of them and none of them the same time. I wish I could still write Tyreese. I wish I could still write Abraham. You feel bad. It’s much harder with the show [when actors are involved]. If I didn’t have any regrets, then I feel like I wouldn’t have done my job. You need to feel loss, you need to feel the impact.
About Daryl dying in the next season:
Norman [Reedus] is jerk. We don’t want to work with him anymore. Everyone loves you enough.
We liked [Reedus] so much we said, “Let’s create a character for this guy.” He was very much like Merle. He was more of an antagonist, he wasn’t necessarily a part of the group. He was a troublemaker. I would have to credit Norman Reedus a great deal for how his character developed. It was the first time that how the actor read the lines informed who that character was. I would not take credit for Daryl Dixon’s personality.
But next year, I’ll say, “It was all me. All me!”