News: THE WALKING DEAD Loses Showrunner

Written by Kris Heys Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Movie News

Worrying news from the world of THE WALKING DEAD. Showrunner Frank Darabont (THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION) has stepped down from his role – mid way through the second season shoot. 

But the show must go on as they say, with reports that Darabont’s Executive Producer Glen Mazzara will step in as his replacement [UPDATE: This has now been confirmed]. As for the reason why Darabont made the sudden decision to leave – and anyone who’s seen him on beaming with enthusiasm on recent promo duties can attest it was sudden, (that or he’s a better actor than any of his cast!) – nobody knows for sure. The closest anyone has gotten to a theory is that the acclaimed film director never quite adjusted to the pace and demands of the TV format. Sources also point to last year’s decision from the director to fire the show’s writing staff in favour of freelancers, though that has continually been downplayed as less dramatic as it sounds by both Darabont and creator Robert Kirkman.

What does it mean for the future of the show? In my opinion, the differences won’t likely be that noticeable. Unlike a TV series like BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER, or LOST, where the showrunner(s) were the voice of the characters, and gods over the storylines, THE WALKING DEAD is driven by an existing source material. Those characters will live on with regardless of who presides over them. And Glen Mazzara has high credentials indeed, having worked for years on FX’s cult cop show THE SHIELD, so it’s unlikely we’ll see much drop-off in quality. In fact, this shake-up might arguably be better for the future of the show. As great as Frank Darabont is as a filmmaker, what was the number one complaint fans had towards that first season? The pacing was slower than that leg-less 'Walker' Rick had to shoot in the face in episode 1 - "I'm sorry this happened to you"... but that’s the job of the showrunner to sort.

(Seen THE WALKING DEAD Season 2 trailer yet? Check it here, it'll cheer you right up).

I am talking nonsense? Does Darabont’s exit mean the show will suffer? Will THE WALKING DEAD ever be the same? Or is it all gravy? Either way, let us know with your comments below!

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