'The Walking Dead': New showrunner Scott Gimple calls season 4 'a greatest hits approach'

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EW: We’re going to see some new areas of the inside of the prison as well. Can you talk about that? Obviously there are all these Woodbury people now and these different groups.
GIMPLE: I would say what was so wild about the velocity of last season was there was never this sort of chill point in the prison. Now that they have reached that stability we see other places in the prison that are used for the society they built.

EW: But it is interesting for fans because every season you guys have gone to a new location: season 1, trip to CDC; season 2, Hershel’s farm; season 3, the prison. Now in season 4, it’s still the prison but it’s different with these new areas and this new community.
GIMPLE: You actually answered it quite well actually. In some ways, the prison will be a new location, both in the scope of how we see the prison and how the prison is in some ways more stable. In another way, there’s sort of a constant threat they always have to deal with, and that isn’t the big threat of the first several episodes. But, there are a lot of people in the prison, there’s a lot of activity in the prison, but there’s a little bit of maintenance as far as walkers.

EW: In the comic book there’s a difference between a group of zombies and a full-blown herd. There have always been more zombies than humans. Is that something we’re going to see more of this season?
GIMPLE: I will say an emphatic “yes.” It will be very, very noticeable in the first few episodes. I don’t want to sell that the population density of walkers in the world is, like, insane — like you can’t walk through the forest without experiencing tons and tons and tons of zombies. The flip side is, we will see some herding. We will see some very arresting examples of how zombies own the world now.

EW: You guys clearly made a conscious decision after season 3 where the zombie threat was not as high as it was the first two, because it was more about the human threat. You guys made a decision to go all-in with these zombies, and making these zombies extra scary again, or scarier than they have been to remind everyone that this is a major issue and beyond.
GIMPLE: Absolutely. A non-frightening zombie is a lame zombie. I will say Greg did a couple of things this season, especially in episode 1. There’s even some later in the season that are a little bit difficult to shake from my brain. It’s kind of like, go to bed at night, close your eyes and you see it, and you’re like, “Nicotero!” Yeah, there’s been some pretty horrible stuff, some very scary stuff, some imagery that is highly unpleasant in an awesome way.

EW: That’s the only way we want it.
GIMPLE: Except when you’re in an editing bay and you watch it 100 times, and then you go to bed at night and you’re like, “Oh, no.”

EW: Do you feel at all that there’s an expectation to have more of a resolution to the Rick-Governor battle of last year? We never really saw those two really fight it out. I think maybe some people expected a resolution to that but didn’t get one.
GIMPLE: I will just say that I think they both had individual conclusions, and I think they both affected each other greatly. It’s a long story. We’re very lucky to tell a long serialized story here, and I hope that it’s safe to say that it’s not necessarily the end of the story. I think that story did change Rick a great deal and put him in the place that we’re starting with this season.

EW: At least we know that the Governor is coming back. What do you want to say in terms of when and how and why?
GIMPLE: As little as possible.

EW: Say something, dammit!
GIMPLE: Okay, okay.  If he comes back, it will be in service to an incredibly satisfying story. But I guess the second half of that sentence doesn’t really serve the “if” of it too much.

EW: Well, the fact that David Morrissey was at Comic-Con is a bit of a spoiler. So we know the Governor is out there. But Michonne clearly is still upset about what happened to Andrea. How much has she been able to let go of that?
GIMPLE: I think that is very much alive in her story this season, that question.

EW: She looks badass on the horse, man.
GIMPLE: She does, and I’ll tell you this — Danai can ride that horse. She does an amazing job. Initially I was a little afraid. I think she was a little confident about it, but I was pretty amazed.

EW: Are you prepared for the death threats you’re going to get when Daryl Dixon stubs his toe or something?
GIMPLE: I think Daryl Dixon’s fans are pretty awesome. There’s a lot of Twitter handles with like “Dixon” and/or “Reedus” at the end. They generally post a lot of funny stuff. I don’t know. I’m going to look at the positives with a passion.

EW: They’re coming after you now if anything happens to him. Be warned.
GIMPLE: Maybe Norman will protect me.

To watch an exclusive behind-the-scenes video of Andrew Lincoln from his recent Entertainment Weekly cover shoot, just click on the video player below. And for more Walking Dead scoop, follow Dalton on Twitter @DaltonRoss.

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