According to numerous online sources, executive producer and director Frank Darabont is staggering away from his role as showrunner of AMC’s hit horror series THE WALKING DEAD. The show, adapted from Robert Kirkman‘s epic comic series, has a history in its brief existence up behind-the-scenes upheaval when a large shift in the writing staff this May. If that staff shake-up added some uncertainty about THE WALKING DEAD’s second season, Darabont stepping out of a top spot in the series’ production team only adds more confusion and mystery about exactly how the show will move forward in terms of visual tone and writing content — two of DEAD’s hit-making qualities last fall.
Fans and attendees at Comic-Con 2011 just last weekend had not clue about Darabont’s decision, as he joined cast and crew on-stage in THE WALKING DEAD’s panel discussion about casting and other typical production aspects of the show’s upcoming season of episodes. It seems the DEAD’s reputation for shocking twists and turns plagues the off-screen side of making this apocalyptic adventure as well, at least for die-hard devotees of the series following the behind-the-lens drama of the award-nominated show.
As an executive producer, contributing writer and director of THE WALKING DEAD, Darabont definitely cast his creative and storytelling mark on the six-episode first season of the AMC ratings-earner, but so far has only “Written by” credit among the second season’s thirteen episodes set to air this Fall. Like a panicked human chased by flesh-eating zombies, speculation can only run rampant and blindly on how Darabont’s diminished role may impact the feel and success of the show as it shambles forward, if at all. The writer/director of successful feature films ranging from THE GREEN MILE and THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION to genre thriller THE MIST definitely brought his screen drama skills to raise the bar for quality in THE WALKING DEAD, which stunned zombiephiles and doubters with its unrelenting suspense and unswerving exploration of its lead characters in its October 2010 cable debut.
Will THE WALKING DEAD live on as well both artistically and commercially with less influence by Darabont, or will the zombies bite the ratings bullet in its second course? FilmEdge remains a fan of both parties involved and wishes both of them success in any an all capacities.
Starring Andrew Lincoln, Jon Bernthal, Sarah Wayne Callies, Laurie Holden, Jeffrey DeMunn and Steven Yeun, Season Two of THE WALKING DEAD debuts on AMC October 16, 2011.