'The Walking Dead': Showrunner Scott Gimple on what's next for the Governor

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Image Credit: Gene Page/AMC

[SPOILER ALERT: Read on only if you have already watched Sunday’s episode of The Walking Dead.]

Boy, this guy can just not get over it, can he? I guess being bested by Rick and the prison gang both in Woodbury and then again at the prison just wasn’t enough for the Governor. The one-eyed baddie disappeared at the end of last season in the wake of gunning down his own Woodbury townsfolk in a fit of madness, yet there he was at the very end of tonight’s episode of The Walking Dead, staring at both Rick and the prison itself from a distance through his one good eye. What does that bastard want this time? Why is he there? What the hell has happened to him since last season? And what is going to happen next? We went to the man-in-charge, showrunner Scott M. Gimple, for answers. (Also make sure to check out our interview with the Governor himself, David Morrissey.)

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Okay, we saw the Governor standing there staring ominously at the prison. What is he looking at? Is he looking at Rick in terms of I want to get that sucker? Or is he looking at the building in terms of I want to get THAT sucker? Or both?
SCOTT M. GIMPLE: That is such a good question. I’m not going to answer that, but I would say that’s a good question, that’s another good question, and that’s a great question. But I will tell you this: You’ll get the answers to those questions pretty damn quickly.

EW: So what can we expect to see in the next episode?
GIMPLE: We will be really getting into who this guy is, to further define this guy. He did something very pronounced at the end of the season that defines him a certain way that affected him a great deal. That’s changed him a great deal. So we will see who this man is now. There will absolutely be a flashback element to filling in some of those blanks. More so, I would say, than we did with rejoining the prison.

EW: The Governor truly went off the deep end last time we saw him. What can you tell us in terms of where his head is?
GIMPLE: We know what he did. He killed those people. We know that Rick welcomed basically the remaining people in. That town did very much make up that man’s identity. And his purpose. And everything he was fighting for. And asking the question, what’s left after that?— we’re gonna see. We’re gonna answer that question. We’re gonna show that.

EW: When we met the Governor last season he had almost this messiah complex and really thought he was the savior for that group of people. How does he view himself now?
GIMPLE: I don’t know if I’d go with messiah complex, but I will say he was quite proud of what he had done. He was very comfortable in the identity he had forged for himself, and the purpose that gave him. Being stripped away of all these things brings him down to the core of who he is. And also, I would say the man that the Governor is in the zombie apocalypse at Woodbury is not necessarily the man he was before the turn. Being stripped of that identity puts him back at day 1 as far as who he is.

EW: This is definitely unchartered territory in that the comics did not follow this trajectory of the Governor surviving the assault on the prison and going on-the-run of sorts. Will we see any influence from the three Governor novels, perhaps?
GIMPLE: I did very much dig those novels very much. The new one just came out. I did not get an advance copy so I’m just getting into it now, but I love those first two novels, and absolutely they were inspiring. And it’s interesting because the Governor in the novels is a little different that the Governor in the comics. And of course the show is a little different than them both. I guess I just will say I very much dug those novels. We were talking a lot about those novels. I think they were inspiring to this story and there are some moments some people might sort of recognize, but it’s also pretty different.

EW: I’m going to throw your own words back in your face now…
GIMPLE: Back in my face!

EW: Absolutely! Because back in the summer when we spoke you talked about this season being like a remix because you were going to take big moments from the comics and incorporate them into the show but in new and different way, kind of like what we saw with Tyreese. So does that remix approach still hold true here in terms of what we may see with the Governor?
GIMPLE: It’s interesting because a lot of that remix stuff I spoke about, I pointed at different elements. like here’s this from the comic in a different way and here’s this from the comic in a different way. I’ve read the comics for so long now — first as a civilian and now working on the show — that sometimes I even forget the stuff that winds up in there being remixed. But with the Governor, absolutely there is stuff like that that fits under the umbrella in terms of what we might see coming up.

EW: It’s been a while since we’ve seen this guy. Is it nice to have this chess piece back in play?
GIMPLE: I am just very excited to dig into this character and that people will see all sorts of sides of him that we hinted at before. Just as I was totally curious about the audience reaction to what happened with Rick and Carol, there’s moment after moment regarding the Governor and his story where people might have those arguments on both sides. And I really want to hear those arguments. Not directly at me. I just want to overhear those arguments.

For more ‘Walking Dead’ news, follow Dalton on Twitter @DaltonRoss.

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