After March 31, there’s a long, empty road ahead of us until the next season starts, but we’ll get through it together — along with any teasers, photos, and spoilers that emerge during filming. Keep reading for a roundup of early intel, and bookmark this beast so you can keep coming back for more updates as the months trickle by.
FILMING & PREMIERE DATES: Season 4 filming begins May 6 in Georgia. There will reportedly be 16 episodes (just like Season 3) and the premiere is said to be in October, like the past three seasons, and they will likely do the midseason break thing again. (Groan.) We’re still waiting on an exact premiere date, so just clear every Sunday in October until further notice!
FILMING LOCATIONS: TWD shoots in Georgia, but if you want to get more specific, check outWalking Dead Locations, which shares photos and filming updates.
NEW SHOWRUNNER: Glen Mazzara is leaving, and Scott Gimple is the new guy. Here he is on Twitter, @ScottMGimple. If we’re all very nice to him, maybe he’ll share good info and photos from the set. If not, feed him to the walkers! Anyway, welcome to the top, Scott. Don’t let the crown weigh too heavily.
LESS RUN & GUN: Executive producer Greg Nicotero teased Season 4 to Entertainment Weekly: “I think there may be a wee bit less of the run and gun. And [we’ll] get a little more into some of our characters. The challenge with a show like this, when you have a big ensemble, is you don’t want any of the characters to get lost; it’s important that we know what Carol’s story is and that we know what Beth’s story is. And when you’re trying to service a lot of characters, it becomes challenging. Watching the first season of Walking Dead and seeing how grounded it was, that’s really important to all of us. Andy Lincoln and I spent a lot of time going through the scripts and making sure we feel that they’re grounded. Because that’s what keeps our audience coming back. The walkers and the gore and the action and stuff, that’s fun, that’s the popcorn part of it. But if you don’t have characters that people are invested in, you lose your audience.”
MORE CHARACTER FOCUS, LIKE ON ‘CLEAR’: Kirkman echoed Nicotero’s focus on characters for Season 4, telling Rolling Stone, ”We’re not going to slow things down, but if I had a criticism of Season 3, it would be that we didn’t focus on character development. We’re going to try to step it up a notch in that department.” He used Season 3, Episode 12, “Clear” (the Morgan/road trip episode), as an example of the coming tone shift. “We’re going to focus on fewer characters per episode.”
NEW LOCATIONS OR JUST NEW PEOPLE? Kirkman also told Entertainment Weekly the Season 3 finale would “set things up nicely for Season 4. There are new places to go in Season 4, but whether or not that means a new setting or new story direction or simply new characters I can’t really nail down any specifics.”
COMIC BOOK STUFF: Kirkman told Comic Book Resources Season 4 will keep moving in and out of the comics, as they’ve done in the past few seasons. “There’s going to be a lot of things that fans recognize from the comics. It’s going to be a lot of new elements pushed in, and it’s going to make for a really good show like it always has been.”
THE GOVERNOR WILL BE BACK: He disappeared at the end of Season 3, but he’s not dead.He’s a series regular.
MORE DANGEROUS ZOMBIES! Producer Gale Ann Hurd told Comic Book Resources the first eight episodes of Season 4 will remind us of the danger of zombies. “We are going to amp up the threat of the walkers, because they’ve started to seem like a manageable threat. They are not a manageable threat.” Huzzah!
GRUMBLINGS IN THE ATLANTA GROUP? Gale continued, “But, it is the people who you think you can trust who betray you, that you have to fear. It is the monster inside you. We all have them. How do we keep them in check?” CBR asked her to elaborate and she implied that someone from Rick’s Atlanta/farm/prison group would turn on him. “You never know who is going to, you know, who is going to be the one who’s had enough. Like, Shane saw Rick as a threat to their survival. He’s not the only one who’s going to have those feelings.” CARL! Sounds like crazy Carl.
EXPECT VERY DIFFERENT SEASON: Robert Kirkman told The Hollywood Reporter, “It’s going to be different in a lot of ways. We’ll see a very different Rick Grimes for one. His experiences against the Governor and with the various things that happened to him in Season 3 are informing his character in huge ways. We’ll see a lot of familiar elements from Season 3: we’ll see the prison, Rick and his group are still in the same place but those elements are all going to be radically different. I can’t really get into it but Season 4 is going to be extremely different than Season 3 in some very startling and cool ways.”
RICK WON’T PUSH PEOPLE AWAY: Kirkman told THR, “This is the moment where Rick takes a turn; he’s no longer going to be pushing people away, he’s no longer going to be doing whatever he can to protect these people in ways that hurt other people. He’s not going to be the guy who would leave that guy on the side of the road — the backpack guy in Episode 12. He’s letting the people of Woodbury in and trying to tell Carl that these people are like us, you have to be open to this and the only way to survive in this world is to have people and be in a community. That’s going to be a big part of Season 4.”
ANDREA’S DEATH WILL MAKE MORE SENSE: Andrea died on the Season 3 finale, instead of keeping her alive for any number of alternate storylines. Kirkman told The Hollywood Reporter, “The unfortunate thing is that you’re not really going to see why this was a good decision and good for the show until Season 4. We thought having that tragic end to her storyline — having [Andrea] work so hard to save these people of Woodbury and find a peaceful resolution to this conflict was really something worthy of the character. It’s also something that changes Rick’s mindset and alters a lot of the characters and their modes of operation moving into the fourth season. It seemed like the right thing to do at the right time.”
WATCH THE CAST PREVIEW SEASON 4: Check out the video below or visit it over here.