After what seemed like an endless wait, ‘The Walking Dead’ is finally back on our television screens with a new episode this Sunday, February 12th at 9:00pm on AMC. Not only does this Sunday mark the return of everyone’s favorite zombie show, but it will also be the first episode since the changing of the guard.
Frank Darabont, the original showrunner and creator of ‘The Walking Dead’ unexpectedly left the helm about six months ago, leaving Glen Mazzara, the second in command, in charge of the whole ship.
With only days before the first Darabont-less episode, Vulture sat down with the new head honcho for a huge interview, in which he talked about his career, what to expect of ‘The Walking Dead’ under his guidance, and what may have lead to the departure of Frank Darabont.
Many thought that what lead to the showrunner’s departure was that he and AMC were unhappy with where Darabont was taking the show, so Glen set the record straight to show that that was not the case:
“Well, I would like to say that the first part of the season was something that Frank Darabont had a large hand in, and I helped design that under his direction. That was a vision that we both believed in. It was not a vision that he had and I didn’t believe in or that I had and Frank didn’t believe in. It’s not true that Frank had a particular vision of the show that was rejected by AMC and then I was brought in to create a demonstrably different vision of the show. That’s not accurate.”
In addition to that inaccuracy, he had to clear this up as well:
“There was no budgetary crisis on the show — that’s not accurate, that’s not accurate. I’ve been nickel-and-dimed by studios before. They have not nickel-and-dimed this show. They have put money into making this show the best possible show. I don’t want to talk about why Frank left, that’s his business, or why he was asked to leave or whatever you want to say, but the idea that there was a budgetary crisis that was AMC’s fault is completely inaccurate.”
Since he had been in Frank’s shoes in this situation on a few occasions, he had some hesitation in taking over the showrunner position:
“The hesitation was that Crash was not the success that I had hoped. Hawthorne was also a situation where other people had an agenda and I stepped up to be helpful and wound up with egg on my face. So now here’s a third situation where someone needs help. And do I need to be the hero on this one? What if it doesn’t work? It could be three strikes and out. It could have been a very public failure if it didn’t break my way. And in all three cases, this wasn’t material that I had originated. Part of the reason I came over to the show was that it would be great to just be the number two while I figure out my cop show, my hospital show, my vision. And so now here was the third instance where I was signing on to execute someone else’s vision and what if it didn’t go right? I really felt like it could have killed my career.”
When it came time to be out with the old and in with the new, Glen had the extremely tough task of facing the cast and crew to gain their support:
“I had to convince them that this was not my coup. I had turned down showrunning offers to be Frank’s number two, so I had no interest in running the show — let’s make that clear. I felt horrible for Frank. I had been replaced on Crash, so I know that it’s a very painful thing to lose a show and a cast and a crew that loves you. I knew from firsthand experience. What I did was I came in and I met with them and said, “It’s not that there’s a new sheriff in town. This is just someone who’s here to try to help us stay on track and weather this storm.” And the cast and crew were incredibly supportive of that. They stood behind me and said, “Let’s give this guy a chance.”
For the whole article, where Glen talks about what he and Frank disagreed about in regards to the show, the differences in the style of the show, and more, head over to Vulture to see the interview in its entirety.