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Former Walking Dead Showrunner Glen Mazzera Talks The Troubles Of Killing Off Popular Characters

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walking dead castEveryone knows that heading up a successful television show is a multi-headed beast of a challenge, especially in an age where the Internet audience pulls no punches when knocking a show under the bus. In the case of AMC’s The Walking Dead, that bus is surrounded by zombies. Former showrunner Glen Mazzara recently wrote a guest column for The Hollywood Reporter where he talks about the thought process and subsequent problems that arise when deciding to kill off a show’s major characters, a narrative task The Walking Dead has never been shy about.

He frames his story around the death of Henry Blake in a March 1975 episode of M*A*S*H, one of the most out of the blue deaths in television history. While nobody is in any way comparing the quality of these two series, Mazzara has overseen quite a few surprising character oustings, both here and on the FX crime drama The Shield. Though to be fair, human deaths in The Walking Dead are usually only surprising because they come an entire season later than they should have in the first place. It’s more surprising to me that no one has sacrificed Carl yet. But those kinds of heavy decisions take a long time to consider.

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Glen Mazzara On Last Week’s The Walking Dead

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Note: Following the non-specific first paragraph, the rest of the article contains spoilers about last Sunday’s episode of The Walking Dead. If you haven’t watched it yet, what did you click on the link for?

The cast of characters in AMC’s The Walking Dead continues to shrink. It’s both a good and a bad thing. Bad, because without the constant threat of death eventually taking over the characters’ lives, the show really doesn’t have too many exciting moments going on within the inter-character drama. Of course, the prison survivors vs. The Governor and his loyal tribe is now taking shape, so there will at least be revenge driving the emotions in a war that, you guessed it, will threaten everyone’s lives. In any case, there’s nothing else quite like it on TV, and the terrific effects and action sequences make up for the mucked-up dialogue for the most part. This week, Daryl slammed a trunk on a zombie’s head. No spoiler alert. Now we’ll move on to the meat of the story, after a few photos.

The Walking Dead - Season 3, Episode 10 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC