READ WITH CAUTION. SPOILERS FOR THE WALKING DEAD LURK BELOW
Last season on The Walking Dead, fans of Robert Kirkman’s graphic novel were delighted to finally see the Governor, played by David Morrissey. By the end of season three, he had become the series’ best villain, but, though he survived the finale, he’s been missing in action so far in season four. Over the off-season, Morrissey was added to cast as a series’ regular, but after four episodes, fans of The Walking Dead have yet to set eyes on the former leader of Woodbury.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Robert Kirkman and showrunner Scott Gimple talked about the whereabouts of the Governor. It appears The Walking Dead’s new showrunner wanted the zombie TV show go into another direction to give the series a much-needed overhaul. Kirkman explained:
We’ve just devoted an entire season to the conflict of the Governor and [new showrunner] Scott Gimple came in and was like, ‘You know what? I’m sick of the Governor.’ He actually said that. It’s not that we don’t like that character; it’s just that we needed to give that character a break…Going right back into that would seem like more retread of season three, and that’s the thing we don’t want to do.
It’s true. The new season of The Walking Dead is very different. The group is still at the prison, which is slowly under attack by zombies, a deadly virus, and a mysterious presence lurking from within. Some of the series regulars have already dropped out of the season such as Melissa McBride’s Carol. However, they assure us that the Governor will return, but in a different capacity. Kirkman continued:
He was never supposed to die in season three; we always knew there was a bigger story with him, and taking a break from that story is going to make things more heightened when he comes back…These characters are having real struggles and going through a lot of really bad shit. Viewers are watching this the entire time knowing that the Governor could emerge from anywhere at any time and add another threat to whatever these characters are dealing with — it adds another layer of tension. We wouldn’t be able to do that if we move right into his story.
When the Governor does return, though Kirkman and Gimple never reveal when he would return, the character will be more fleshed out than when we last saw him in season three. Viewers will get a chance to see him struggle with the horrific things he’s done, which should be very interesting to see. Gimple explained:
What the Governor has done weighs upon him; that is the first time he has done something like that. When the Governor comes back, it’s going to be in a very significant way but in a way that we significantly exploit the character and go even deeper into who he is.
So far, The Walking Dead has done a better job defining the characters and the cost of their violence, which is a good thing. I will gladly give up a few action sequences for more compelling drama and character moments. Although the show’s ratings and popularity is bigger than ever, and the quality is gradually increasing with every episode in season four. Hopefully, by the time the Governor appears, Gimple and company will have found their stride. Many assume that he’ll return just before The Walking Dead’s mid-season finale, “Too Far Gone,” but we’ll have to wait and see.
The Walking Dead airs Sunday nights at 9 PM on AMC.