In anticipation of "The Walking Dead's" upcoming premiere episode, "30 Days Without Accident," Zap2it spoke with executive producer Gale Anne Hurd about what's in store. She promises the show has "more than one threat this season," but stayed mum on an old one: the Governor. Though David Morrissey has been upped to series regular, he's been absent from the Season 4 promotions, and Hurd says there's a good reason for that.
"We did that for reason being we don't want people to focus too much on, 'Oh, you know, Season 4 is going to be exactly like Season 3.' Then all the questions are, 'Is he going to be in the first episode? How much of a focus is going to be on the Governor?'" she explains. Well, is he? Hurd wouldn't say when and in what capacity the Season 3 villain will rear his one-eyed head in Season 4.
One thing's certain: the new season starts off with a whole lot more zombies. It's been teased in the Season 4 promos that walkers find a way inside the Prison, and Hurd says that's not a response to fans' constant clamoring for more scenes featuring the undead. She explains that the addition of more zombies only happens when it makes sense to the story.
"It's important to get a sense collectively of what people want, but also realize if it is not an organic outgrowth of where our characters and world are at a particular point then we can't necessarily accommodate it. It's true that there are more and more walkers in the world," she says. "At some point this calm period at the Prison is going to end, and it's they're going to encounter them when they go on runs, they're going to encounter walkers at the Prison; it's inevitable."
Season 4 will pick up with a very different Rick than the one audiences last saw in "The Walking Dead." A large part of that is due to Carl's evolution in Season 3.
"At the end of last season, he got to see the direction that Carl was taking. I mean, he really had become a child soldier, and a child soldier who could kill another young man. That's not something that Rick could have imagined happening, and I think it was a huge wake-up call for him," Hurd teases. "We'll see how Rick has been changed by the observation of who Carl was in danger of becoming at the end of last season."
In addition to new threats, Season 4 will also see new allies. But with the post-zombie apocalypse world affecting various survivors in different ways, Hurd says viewers will be right to be skeptical of some of the new additions.
"With society now and any group, there are going to be people who are positive additions to the community and people who bring discord and jeopardize the others," she says.
In the new season, viewers will see Rick and his group trying to find a way to return to civilization in a way different than the Governor's Woodbury. This is a part of their attempt to find a safe place to call home, but that peace will soon crumble around them. Hurd says she doesn't think anyone wants to see this group find peace too quickly, because that will mean the end of the show -- so don't expect the Prison to be a safe place for too long.
Hurd wouldn't discuss the announced companion series, nor would she tease whether there is someone in the outside world who has some idea of the global scale of the zombie outbreak. She says that can be addressed "only if there's someone who's going to have that information," but when pressed whether there is, Hurd simply answers, "How can I tell you that?"
She also stayed tight-lipped about Daryl and Carol's romantic future, saying she couldn't address whether they could one day get together because "that would either confirm or deny." "They have a great chemistry, and a lot of their dialogue is really double entendre. It's very cute," Hurd says of Norman Reedus and Melissa McBride's characters. "They bring some levity into what can often be a very grim world. They seem to have a lot in common in terms of having violent backgrounds that they've endured and come out the other side."
"The Walking Dead" has taken some pretty major departures from the Robert Kirkman comics that it's based on, but Hurd says that fans can expect to see some familiar characters and moments occur in Season 4. "There will be things that fans of the comic book will absolutely recognize," she teases.
"The Walking Dead" Season 4 premieres on AMC on Oct. 13 at 9 p.m. ET.