What would you do if you woke up one day and realized that the world has been overrun by zombies? Robert Kirkman, the creator and executive producer of the acclaimed horror-drama TV series, “The Walking Dead,” has no qualms about the rightness or wrongness of his answer: “I’m a happy-go-lucky guy, so don’t read too much into my answer. I’ve worked on the comic book for almost a decade and ‘lived’ in its gloomy world as I wrote it.
“I’m not very brave nor athletic, I don’t run fast, and I don’t know what weapon there is out there that would make me last a week – I will be eaten by the ‘walkers’ pretty quickly! So, my alternative ‘survival’ plan would be: I’d go to the nearest tall building – and jump off it (laughs)!”
Last week, we found it appropriately ironic to interview Kirkman about the AMC network’s surprise hit series during the witching hour – at 1 a.m.! The show follows deputy sheriff Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) as he leads a small band of terrified human survivors away from their flesh-eating pursuers. The show wasn’t just a ratings champ, it also became a favorite among critics.
The thrilling horror-drama expands from a six-episode arc in Season one to an unrelenting 13-part nail-biter this season, which premieres on the Fox channel on October 22 at 8:55 p.m. (after a Season one marathon that starts at 3:25 p.m.).
What can avid followers expect from the series in Season Two, and will there be new major characters? “It can be daunting to look back at the tremendous success of the first season,” Kirkman admits. “But, for Season Two, we’re hitting the ground running. The opening episode starts immediately after the destruction of the Center for Disease Control.
“As Rick and his group look for a safe place to live and hide, they find themselves on the road with danger lurking at every corner – until they meet other survivors who will butt heads with them. will they be dying off one by one? Well, dying is a reality in this parallel world. But, we also want to leave a spark of hope for both the characters and viewers.
“Zombie flicks always end in one of two scenarios—either the majority of the characters die or they hop into a vehicle and ride into the sunset and are never seen again. To me, that’s the most interesting aspect of the story: where do they go and how do they continue to survive? The possibilities are endless! ‘TWD’ picks up where most zombie movies leave off.”
Why choose zombies over vampires and werewolves? Kirkman says he’s always been fascinated with George Romero’s “undead” creatures (from “The Living Dead” series): “Zombies can be used as a great storytelling device that allows you to tell engaging tales of human survival.
“Vampire and werewolves can sometimes be ‘unrelatable,’ because they have a personality that you have to depict. On the other hand, zombies don’t have a personality – they have no motive other than to eat you! So, when you have them in your movie, you have to carefully focus on the human characters and how they rely on one another to survive – that’s the core appeal of the series!”