Some of you may know that I have a troubled relationship with AMC’s zombie drama The Walking Dead. A long-time devotee of Robert Kirkman’s comics, I’m one of many who have been jerked around by the adaptation. But I love the source material so much that I keep coming back for more, week after week. It’s not a particularly healthy relationship. That said, I’m cautiously optimistic for the upcoming season four, currently in production. The trailer they unleashed at San Diego Comic-Con is fantastic, I like new showrunner Scott Gimple, and while it didn’t do anything to increase my excitement, this new behind-the-scenes video from the set of season four doesn’t dampen my enthusiasm either.
The cast and crew say all of the right things, and promise things like “deeper, darker” storylines, “shocking” new elements, and “more zombies than ever before.” Zombies are great, zombies are wonderful, I have a sleeve of zombies tattooed on my arm, but that’s still not what’s most interesting in this video. The best parts of the comics are the characters, and the something has always been lacking thus far in their translation from page to screen.
There isn’t a ton of content here, but a bunch of the major players show up in this two-and-a-half minute video to dish a little about the evolution of their characters. That’s what I really want to see, I want to see these people change and grow as human beings. If they’re to be believed, Glenn (Steven Yeun) and Maggie (Lauren Cohan) will attempt to live life like they may die tomorrow, which probably means a lot of humping; Rick (Andrew Lincoln) finally realizes that he has two kids who need a father; and Carl (Chandler Riggs) may get a moment to act like the kid he is. We’ll see how all of these changes, and others, pan out—I’ve been burned before—but at least they talk a good game.
The prison also goes through a metamorphosis, transforming from a jail into a home. You can see some of what they’ve done farming wise, as well as making their environment more livable. There are a bunch of new additions from Woodbury to expand the cast, and we also know that we’ll be seeing more new faces as the season progresses. After three seasons of sheer, utter bleakness and desolation, it’s nice to see a ray of hope, no matter how small, creep into the world of The Walking Dead. Like Norman Reedus says, they’re more comfortable here than they’ve been in some time. But we also know this peaceful, idyllic life can’t last. When you’re complacent you let your guard down, and that is when things are the most dangerous. Knowing what they had will just make it that much more heart when it slips through their fingers.
That brings us to a point that’s been brought up numerous times already in the build up to season four. We know the Governor (David Morrissey) is still skulking around the woods, and that he’ll have at least a couple stand-alone episodes, but cast and crew keeps teasing a new threat, one that isn’t human, one that isn’t walkers, but one that may be deadlier than both. It’s cryptic, and an obvious tease, but I’m totally on the hook, mostly because I can’t, for the life of me, figure out what the hell they’re talking about. What do you think it is? What is this “new threat” that could wipe out Rick and his merry band of survivors?
We’ll find out when The Walking Dead returns Sunday, October 13.