'The Walking Dead': Robert Kirkman on why you need to 'stay tuned for season 5'

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Image Credit: Gene Page/AMC

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EW: A lot of people, including myself, have theorized that the people of Terminus may actually be a new version of the group of Cannibals we met in the comics, and the clues seemed to be there in this finale. What would you like to say about that speculation?

KIRKMAN: Stay tuned for season 5! But I do enjoy looking at the speculation and I will say that some people are right and some people are wrong, which is always the case. And I think that people are going to be pretty excited when we come back in season 5. We’ll be revealing very quickly what it is that is going on and what it is that Rick Grimes and everybody else are up against. We’re not going to be keeping that close to the vest for too very long. So in our big season 5 premiere we’ll get some answers.

EW: What can you tell us about this guy Gareth that we were just introduced to who seems to be leading the Terminus group?
KIRKMAN: He is a very interesting character and he is based on someone in the comics. So there are some pieces of him in the comic book series that you could dig out if you were a bit of a detective, and we’ll definitely reveal more next season. He’s a big character.

EW: I know you all run this fine line because you want the stakes to feel real and to do that, people need to die. But you killed so many main original characters in season 3. Obviously the Hershel death this season was brutal, but did you guys make a conscious effort to not kill too many big characters this time around because when you do that you run the risk of altering the DNA of the show?
KIRKMAN: As far as altering our show DNA too much, I think our DNA is ever changing and ever evolving and that’s kind of our thing, so that hasn’t really brought any hesitation as far as killing characters. But I know that early on back in season 3 I was talking to Scott and I was saying, you know we’ve sort of worked ourselves into a unique position where the shocking thing for us to do is not to kill a character. It’s gotten to a point where we have killed so many characters that people kind of expect it and we can get to a point where we not do that, then that kind of pulls the rug out from under the viewers in a different way. And I like the idea of us not really relying on that too much here and there. There’s always going to be big deaths in this show. But we never want to get to point where we’re like, “Oh, it’s been five episodes without a big death. There’s totally going to be a big death this episode. Oh, there it is!” We don’t want it to ever be predictable. So you’ve got to change that up and keep the viewers guessing so no one can really get a handle on exactly what it is that this show is doing. We definitely wanted to do something a little different. And I think our finale is just as impactful and just as much of a gut punch as we wanted to do. I think there is some really heavy material and shocking stuff. But I’m really proud of the fact that we didn’t need a death to give that impact.

EW: I feel like there are a lot of shows that really don’t kill characters a lot so then they do in the finale, and I sort of like it when you all do it off-pace episodes like Lori and T-Dog in episode 4 of season 3. When you do it in places like that I think it ends up having even more impact.
KIRKMAN: Yeah, we don’t ever want the show to become formulaic in any way.

EW: Okay, so let’s barter now. What do I have to give you to make you tell me where Carol, Tyreese, Judith, and Beth are?
KIRKMAN: [Laughs] That’s not for sale, man.

EW: C’mon, I got some old, dirty Star Wars t-shirts I can throw your way.
KIRKMAN: Can we get 12 more Entertainment Weekly covers?

EW: Let me talk to main man Matt Bean and I’ll get back to you on that. At least you can tell me that things will pick up in season 5 quicker than the 7 to 8 month time jump you’ve started the last two seasons with, right?
KIRKMAN: It would be a safe bet to think that is not the case. But you never know. We like to keep people guessing, so we’ll just have to see.

EW: Finally, you guys made the announcement that Dave Erickson from Sons of Anarchy and Low Winter Sun is going to be working on the Walking Dead spin-off show with you. What can you say about that?
KIRKMAN: I can just say that I have been a huge fan of Dave Erickson for many, many years. We actually developed a project together before The Walking Dead show ever happened. So to me he was the best possible guy for the job and I’m very excited about this idea of doing this companion show for The Walking Dead because people aren’t quite aware of all the different new angles we can go in and the new kind of stories we can tell and just how unique and exciting and how much this show can stand alone. I think people are going to be pretty taken aback by how cool this companion show can be. And being able to work with Dave on it will be pretty exciting for me.

Also make sure to read our finale interviews with showrunner Scott M. Gimple and star Andrew Lincoln.
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