The Walking Dead Season 6 Part 2 Will Be More Plot-Driven, Says Showrunner

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After a bravely/foolishly (delete as per your viewpoint) experimental but divisive first half of season six, it sounds like The Walking Dead could return to a more traditional plot-led format for a large part of the second half of the season. Some fans and critics were less than enamoured with the way that episodes in the first half concentrated on smaller groups of characters, leaping about in time with flashbacks and parallel plots and main cast members absent (or underused) for weeks on end. Teasing viewers about the fate of Glenn – apparently killed early on, only to return weeks later – especially annoyed some people (in a hysterically over-the-top criticism stroppily bemoaned “manipulative” scripting, apparently unaware of the fact that all fiction in manipulative by nature). At the other end of the spectrum some reviewers realised that this new, character-led storytelling with its surprise choices of what to cover and when was a much-needed shot in the arm for a series that could easily become formulaic.

In a series of sometimes quite hostile interviews with various media outlets this week (The Hollywood Reporter bangs on about Glenn’s storyline losing the show credibility like it has a political agenda), current showrunner Scott Gimple has reassured that the second half of season six is more of a return to the show’s traditional approach while defending the creative decisions made in the first half.

“The second half is very, very different from the first half in tone and the line-up of characters for every episode,” he tells The Hollywood Reporter. “It’s a very different show in the second half of the season and that was quite a shift. There is quite a shift in the show in the second half of the season very early on. It’s a totally different type of storytelling, in my opinion, that we do. I believe this first half of season was structurally just focusing on certain characters and their internal journey a lot of the time. The externals really take over in the second half of the season. It takes a very different vibe and for this part of the story, the plot takes over a little harder — which is different thing than what I’ve done on the show before.”

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In addition, he tells Deadline, “I will say that we are going to see much more Daryl Dixon next half-season… This past half-season saw the characters very sequestered from each other and there’s much less of that in the rest of season six. This upcoming half-season is very very different than the previous half-season in the structure, in the lineup of characters in the episodes, and I think even in the types of stories we are telling.

“I have us go outside what is my comfort zone because I love telling stories that are character-based first. In lot of ways, this next half-season has that character but the plot really does take over for several episodes. I was trying to push myself to take it in a new direction, maybe not permanently but for these next eight episodes I wanted to do something different and you’re going to see something different.”

He also teases a “weird” episode: “There are a lot of direct moments from the comic coming up in the second half and panels that we’re bringing to life – from very big comic moments to really tiny comic moments. Things that are not gigantic and dramatic but just little moments from the comic that all add up to some big moments. The second half is very cumulative. Within that, there is one of the weirdest episodes we’ve ever done because it’s one of the amazingly enough more light-hearted episodes, which was terrifying on my side.”

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And apparently the mid season premier is going to be one hell of an episode: “It’s quite deadly, sadly. There is some death going on in that but it’s also unbelievably intense. It’s one of the most intense episodes we’ve done. I know we say that a lot — I’ve said that about the premiere episode this year and we had 30,000 walkers. We might not hit those numbers in episode nine but the intensity by the end of that episode is not gut-wrenching — it’s gut-swirling and gut-slamming and frappeing.”

As for the introduction of comic villain Negan, to be played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan, he warns that fans of the comics should be aware that things on screen may not pan out in the same way: “I will add that we’ve done things from the comics to the letter and we’ve done things from the comics very very differently. I think that’s probably the guiding principle that fans should have when they think about Negan.”


Read our reviews of The Walking Dead season six
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• Jeffrey Dean Morgan Cast As Major Baddie Negan In The Walking Dead


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