The Hollywood Reporter reported on Jan. 9 that "The Walking Dead" comic book creator Robert Kirkman is the main reason that AMC chose to remove both Glen Mazzara and Frank Darabont from their showrunner duties. The site said that Kirkman is "very proprietary" of the franchise.
This entire explanation meshes well with the small information that has leaked out since AMC announced that Mazzara would not return to the show in season three. He is now the second showrunner AMC removed from the popular zombie television show since it debuted three years ago.
While the entire move originally looked more like AMC playing power games with its creators again, such as the ones that led to disagreements with the men who run "Mad Men" and "Breaking Bad," it turns out Kirkman had a little more of a hand in this specific conflict.
This might not be a great thing for "The Walking Dead" as a television show. Kirkman is a brilliant comic book writer, but things he can do in the comics won't always work on a television show. Kirkman has been accused in the past of being exploitive in his comics for the pure shock value.
There have been some pretty drastic changes made in season three so far, including having Lori die in childbirth and having The Governor not rape Michonne. In the comics, the rape occurred, which is what led to Michonne seeking the most horrible form of revenge you could imagine. Also, Lori died in the comics when The Governor gunned her down while she ran with her baby, bullets tearing through both individuals.
There is no way those scenes could make it to the television show and Glen Mazzara knew this.
However, on the other side of the coin, a source told the website that AMC had to shut down production of the second half of season three on numerous occasions because Mazzara had a "lack of material."
While many people, including "Sons of Anarchy" creator Kurt Sutter, have been very vocal about the decision to remove Mazzara, Kirkman has remained silent, only saying at one point that Sutter knew nothing about the decision. AMC has also declined to comment about "The Walking Dead" situation.
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Shawn S. Lealos is a member of the Oklahoma Film Critics Circle, the professional film critics’ organization of Oklahoma. He is also working on a book about the Stephen King dollar babies called “Dollar Deal.” To read more of his writing, visit shawnlealos.net.