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The Walking Dead: Robert Kirkman And A New Casting Rumor Hint At The Direction For The Rest Of Season Four

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The Walking DeadAMC’s hit zombie drama The Walking Dead is prone to taking extended, months-long breaks in the middle of a season. We should all be so lucky. For some shows such a hiatus could lead to a hemorrhage of viewers, but The Walking Dead the effect is almost the opposite. While the show continues to grow in popularity, the producers use the break to hint at things to come, tease possible story arcs and new directions, and generally build up tension and suspense moving into the final portion of the season. For a show that hasn’t been on the air for nearly a month, unless you count that New Year’s marathon, we’ve seen a continual stream of undead related news. They’ve mashed up The Walking Dead with Toy Story, the characters have made “apocalypse resolutions,” and producer/special effects guru Greg Nicotero even said that we’re going to get the closest adaptations of the comic books yet. Creator and executive producer Robert Kirkman even went so far as to tease how the season might end, and the latest casting rumors making the rounds indicate a possible direction as well.

The Walking Dead isn’t known for happy-go-lucky, everybody hug, warm and fuzzy endings. Season one concluded with the CDC exploding, season two with Hershel’s farm being overrun by shambling corpses, and season three finished up with the Governor (David Morrissey) killing a bunch of people and a key member of the cast getting zombie bit. See what I mean? The mid-season finale, “Too Far Gone,” fits perfectly into this string of bummers. The prison where the survivors had been living gets torn to shit, a bunch of people—including a baby—die, the group splinters, everyone is on the road again, and Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and his son Carl (Chandler Riggs) are on their own in the wilderness. Given the state of things, you might be skeptical when you hear anyone, even Kirkman, mention a happy ending.

Talking to TV Guide, Kirkman said, “We started the season pretty hopeful and pretty optimistic…We’ll open our last half of the season pretty bleak and we’ll move them to something a little more hopeful by the end.” The phrase “a little more hopeful” isn’t necessarily a full on, sunshine and puppy dogs happy ending, but for a show that is generally as hopeless at The Walking Dead, a single ray of sunshine is probably all we’re going to get.

Kirkman’s words don’t provide much in the way of concrete detail, but fans of his comics may be able to infer a few things from his statement. We know that Rick and Carl are going to be on their own, at least for a bit, and we also know that three new additions will join the cast around episode ten. Sergeant Abraham Ford (Michael Cudlitz), Rosita Espinosa (Christian Serratos), and Dr. Eugene Porter (Josh McDermitt), characters from the comic books, are scheduled to make their first onscreen appearances.

After these new faces settle into the group—there are some harrowing adventures and distrust to get through first—the group comes upon the Alexandria Safe Zone, where they’re able to hang their hats for a significant amount of time. One possible way to interpret Kirkman’s “hopeful” ending is that perhaps season four of The Walking Dead ends with them arriving at the fortified walls and the relative safety Alexandria.

If this does happen to be the case, like I said before, the group has to go through some tough times before they find their safe haven. A new casting rumor could shed some light on what the interim might look like.

We’re hearing from The Walking Dead Women that Anissa Matlock has been cast in an unknown female role (in fact she’s already listed on IMDb). The current word on the street is that she’ll play one of the Hunters. If you haven’t read the comics, the Hunters are another group of survivors—five men and one woman—who have gone cannibal, hunting, kidnapping, and eating other people they come across. They don’t just slaughter and consume people, they swallow them piece by piece, keeping them alive as long as they remove body parts. It’s grim. I won’t ruin anything in case this arc does go down, but when the two groups collide, you’re correct to assume there is some intense, brutal violence.

Right now this is just speculation, hearsay, and guesswork, but it does feel like a logical progression. And if it is true, the second half of season four just got a whole lot more interesting. We’ll have to see how it all goes down when The Walking Dead returns on Sunday, February 9.

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