As a fair warning, if you haven't watched the Season 3 finale of The Walking Dead, "Welcome to the Tombs", there will be spoilers throughout the rest of this article. Executive producer and comic book creator Robert Kirkman revealed in a new interview that the writers are half way through writing Season 4, and spoke about their process when it comes to killing off a character.
"It seems to have worked out that way thus far, but we're certainly never in the writer's room going, 'Oh, we've got to kill somebody every episode! We haven't killed anybody in a long time!' It's something that pretty much flows organically. We're working out Season 4 right now - we're halfway through writing it - and we know exactly where we're going. Who's dying and when they're dying is all worked out very early on as we're plotting out the entire season. It's something that we always know where we're going with it."
Many fans of the comic book were surprised that The Governor (David Morrissey) survived his showdown with Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and his group at the prison. We reported earlier this week that David Morrissey will be a series regular in Season 4, but Robert Kirkman said the character will be used in a much different way.
"Yeah, he's still very much in the mix. That's certainly not the last that we'll see of him. When we see him again and where we see him again, that's the big question. It's not going to be like it was in Season 3; it's not going to be Rick and the Governor on a collision course with a conflict between them. He'll be used in very different ways next season."
The executive producer also spoke about Rick's relationship with his son Carl (Chandler Riggs), and how that will change in the new season.
"Rick has had a success. The people at the prison have survived this conflict with the Governor, he brought people from Woodbury into the prison, and he's kind of had this big win. He's had this moment where he's brought people together and he's doing good things. But he's had this tremendous loss in that Carl has lost this piece of his humanity. This has been Rick's main mission throughout the show, to protect his family. We've seen two very big failures on that front this season. Moving into next season, we're going to see a very different Rick, but one of his main goals is to manage this situation with Carl and see if he can bring him back from this darkness that's crept into him. Whether or not he's able to do that, we'll have to see. But this is a big change in the character of Carl, but it's something that's going to be weighing heavily on Rick next season."
While many familiar elements from Season 3 will be in place, such as Michonne (Danai Gurira) and the group staying in the prison, Season 4 will have a much different feel to it.
"I'll say that there are a lot of familiar elements that are remaining. Michonne is still around, Rick and his group are still in the prison, the Governor's still out there... so there are a lot of things that are carrying over from Season 3 to Season 4, but I can't stress how different things are going to be. There are going to be some radical changes to those elements that are going to bring in a lot of new storytelling. While [Season 4] does seem somewhat familiar, it's going to be vastly different from Season 3."