Robert Kirkman Answers Questions about Tonight's Big Spoiler
Spoilers! Robert Kirkman the creator of The Walking Dead opens up about what Jenner whispered in Rick's ear at the CDC, and he hints at some major season finale spoilers.
Robert explains to TVLINE that he and Frank Darabont would've killed off Shane in the first season if they had the normal run of episodes (13), but were forced to push his story arc to season two when they only had six episodes to work with. The main reason why they had to kill off Shane was that he was holding back the progression of Rick. Too much of Shane's story was taking away moments from Rick, not allowing him to emerge.
According to Kirkman, the deaths of Dale and Shane do a great job of selling the notion that any character could meet their demise. He also said that Jon Bernthal was made aware of the decision and was "bummed" and "definitely upset." On a positive note, Jon
TVLINE | Did you ever consider not following the comics and letting him survive – if not through the entire run of the series then maybe just another season or two? The Rick-Shane dynamic was such a major part of the show.
There was a lot of back-and-forth when we were mapping out the second season. I’ll admit even I — who killed him in the comic — was saying there were a lot of interesting things that could come out of keeping him in the show. We had a lot of fun [writing for the character] in the second season because there were a lot of things that changed from the comic. Having him exist on Hershel’s Farm brought out new stories and made us do some cool new things that were different from the comic. And I’m always for that kind of stuff because I like to keep things interesting. But at the end of the day, what we kept coming back to is that The Walking Dead is much more about Rick and his journey than it is about Shane and his journey. And keeping Shane around was, in a sense, stealing from Rick. It was time to let Rick emerge and see how Shane’s death affected him and how it informed his decisions. And I think that when people see the last episode of this season — and Season 3 — and where Rick goes because of this, they’ll see that this is all part of the larger plan. [His death] is definitely an important moment. And it really sucked to lose Jon Bernthal, but it’s going to make the show that much better and that much more deadly. Having lost Dale and Shane, now you really get the sense that any of these characters could go at any moment. And we’re definitely going to be continuing that in Season 3. This finally tells people, “This is what The Walking Dead is. This is what you can expect.”
TVLINE | Shane turning into a zombie in the end pretty much confirms that everyone’s already infected. Can you confirm that that’s what Jenner whispered in Rick’s ear?
[Hesitates] Well, I can’t confirm that. But what I can say is that Shane turning after being stabbed definitely does inform Rick revealing what Jenner whispered, in the next episode.
TVLINE | So we’ll finally find out what he whispered in next week’s finale?
TVLINE | This does raise the question about the dead bodies in the season-opening traffic jam — why hadn’t they all been turned?
I think if you go back and watch that [sequence you'll see] we were very careful to have them be in cars that were in accidents, so the brain would’ve had trauma. Or they had some kind of wounds somewhere on their heads to show that their brains had been killed, like somebody came across and killed them. We knew that we were building to this throughout the entire season.
TVLINE | Will there be another major death next week?
I can say that the cast that enters the final episode this season does not leave the final episode intact. And there are a lot of surprises still yet to come.
What did you think of Shane's Death? And what do you think the show will be like in the coming seasons?
The Walking Dead airs Sunday nights at 9/8c on AMC.
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