‘The Walking Dead’ Season 4: Robert Kirkman Previews “Big Changes” Ahead, Clarifies Season 3 Finale
Fans of AMC's 'The Walking Dead' were in for a major surprise with last night's season 3 finale "Welcome to the Tombs," as the conflict between Woodbury and the prison turned out differently than any reader of the Robert Kirkman comics could have imagined. Kirkman himself has been all over the wire today to preview the upcoming fourth season, and explain a few points of surprise and confusion from season 3, so get the latest intel on 'The Walking Dead' season 4 inside!
There will be spoilers present from here on out, so for anyone who hasn't witnessed 'The Walking Dead' season 3 finale "Welcome to the Tombs," this here's your port of harbor. Got it? Good.
So that was pretty insane, wasn't it? Rather than a no-holds barred battle between Woodbury and the prison, with characters falling left and right, the conflict was delayed for another day as the Governor went completely insane, slaughtered the majority of his own fighters, while the rest of Woodbury absconded to the prison under Rick's renewed leadership.
No fan-favorite characters fell in the conflict, but instead Andrea and Milton died by one another's hand in a lethal trap sprung into motion by the Governor himself. With very little actual climax to be had by the finale, and another year to be spent in the prison walls, series creator Robert Kirkman offered up a number of explanations for the episode, as well as some lingering plot points from the third season.
"There’s always going to be new locations and new places to discover and explore," Kirkman told TVLine of the decision to stick with the prison. "I don’t want to reveal too much; season 4 is still five months away. But I will say that as we see at the end of season 3 we’re definitely going to start season 4 at the prison. We may be there the whole season and we may not be...But there are going to be some big differences from season 3."
A frequent question asked of the comic creator was the decision for Rick to move the Woodbury survivors into the prison, rather than move his smaller group to the idyllic town, but Kirkman clarified that the Governor's survival inevitably keeps all their lives in jeopardy. The prison proves a more defensible location against human attacks, while the Governor's personal knowledge of Woodbury would make the town vulnerable to infiltration.
As for the Governor himself, Kirkman confirmed that the plan had always been for David Morrissey to return as the Governor in season 4, rather than keep the character contained to a single season. The decision to kill off Andrea proved difficult for the writing staff, as the comic character remains alive to this day, but Kirkman explained that Andrea's death would have the most impact on the other characters overall. Fans may not have warmed to the character or Laurie Holden's portrayal, but the character's death redeemed her arc and made for the larger impact going forward.
Kirkman told Entertainment Weekly of the changes in store for season 4:
Season 4 is all about change. We’re going to see a lot has changed in the prison. I think a lot has changed with these characters. I think we’re going to see a very different Rick with very different motives and we’ll see how this conflict with Woodbury and the death of Andrea has affected everybody. And we’ll see a lot of new elements, as we do on every season of 'The Walking Dead.' It’s going to be exciting and different and cool but it’ll still have zombies with it. It’ll still have the things that everybody loves.
Rick will certainly have plenty of new challenges to deal with from the population influx at the prison, as well as his own son's increasingly dark tendencies, shooting down a young Woodbury soldier in cold blood rather than consider his surrender. We're not sure exactly what 'The Walking Dead' season 4 will look like after such a major divergence from the comic canon, but we'll be as curious as ever to see what Robert Kirkman and new showrunner Scott M. Gimple come up with.
Entertainment Weekly also obtained a video previewing the dangers to come in 'The Walking Dead' season 4, so check it out below and tell us what you thought of the season 3 finale in the comments! Would you prefer that the Governor had died, and the group left the prison?