Forget what we told you back on January 19th—or rather, forget what a TWD producer told Deadline back on January 18th. Fans of TWD and opponents of censorship in any form were severely bummed when the show’s Executive Producer Gale Anne Hurd told a panel at NATPE that showrunners responded to complaints of excessive violence in the Season 7 premiere by toning things down in future episodes. Here’s what she said:
She acknowledged, though, that due to “feedback on level of violence” following the gruesome first episode of the season premiere last year “we did tone it down for episodes we were still filming.”
“Your show’s not a success if no one cares when you kill off main characters,” she says. “They let us know they were heartbroken” although the TV show was being “semi-consistent with the comic book” on which it is based.
Not so, according to showrunner Scott M. Gimple! Here’s what EW reported this morning:
Two exec producers tell EW that they did not change their approach at all after many viewers were critical of the graphic nature of the premiere. Showrunner Scott M. Gimple points out that the explicitness of that premiere baseball bat beating was intended to be above and beyond what the zombie drama usually does, and that nothing that came after was ever intended to come anywhere close to it.
“The violence in the premiere was pronounced for a reason,” says Gimple. “The awfulness of what happened to the characters was very specific to that episode and the beginning of this whole new story. I don’t think like that’s the base level of violence that necessarily should be on the show. It should be specific to a story and a purpose, and there was a purpose of traumatizing these characters to a point where maybe they would have been docile for the rest of their lives, which was Negan’s point. But I will say again, the violence in the premiere was for a specific narrative purpose and I would never say that that’s the baseline amount of violence that we would show on the show. If we’re ever going to see something that pronounced, there needs to be a specific narrative purpose for it.”
It looks like we can expect TWD to be gory as ever when Season 7 recommences on February 12th!
Official Synopsis: The first half of Season 7 saw Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and the group broken by Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), forced to fall under his will and brutally convinced to live under his rules. The second half of the season will focus on preparing for war and gathering the supplies and numbers to take Negan down once and for all.
Rick’s group will find out yet again that the world isn’t what they thought it was. It’s much bigger than anything they’ve seen so far. While they have a singular purpose – to defeat Negan – it won’t come easy. More importantly, victory will require more than Alexandria. They need the numbers of the Kingdom and the Hilltop, but, similar to how Rick felt, Ezekiel (Khary Payton) and Gregory (Xander Berkeley) do not want bloodshed. To convince them otherwise will take more than speeches. The lengths Rick and the group will have to go to in order to find weapons, food and new fighters is nothing short of remarkable.
We’ll meet new survivors in incredible places. We’ll see Rick and the group tested in ways we’ve never seen before. We’ll see treachery from people we trust. Rick is confident as he will see his group and many others band together with the common goal of taking down Negan. But no amount of planning will prepare the group for all-out war with Negan and his army.