The Walking Dead Season 5 will become “like a completely new show” over its last four episodes, star Andrew Lincoln hinted in a possible spoiler.
The Season 5 premiere on October 12 set a record for cable television drama viewership, with 17 million fans watching in real time (plus about five million more via DVR and On Demand). The AMC network has already renewed the show for a sixth season, and a spin-off is also in the works.
In case you tuned in late — or not at all — to the most popular cable television show in America, The Walking Dead is based on a series of graphic novels by Robert Kirkman and follows a small group of survivors led by Georgia Sheriff Rick Grimes (Lincoln’s character) in a quest to try to find a safe haven far away from virulent zombie-cannibal “walkers.” One bite from a zombie turns a victim into one of them, although getting covered with zombie guts after close combat oddly seems to have no affect on the heroic zombie fighters.
Some of the humans that the good guys encounter along the way — including power-hungry fanatics and human cannibals — are also equally dangerous as the reanimated flesh-eaters. In the context of the series, the “walking dead” may also describe the humans who are apparently all infected with the virus in its dormant stage and who “turn” upon dying and must be neutralized by a brain blow.
In a wide-ranging interview with Details, Lincoln freely admitted that the first three episodes this season (especially the third installment which premieres tonight) have been very intense as most viewers would agree.
“I think the first three episodes are pretty much a body blow–three is an astonishingly brutal and uncompromising episode. But then the story kind of spins off. But I would say that nine, ten, and eleven… and twelve… actually, the whole season is pretty intense. [Laughs] I’m trying to sort of temper it, but I can’t. It moves very quickly. Lots of new locations, a heck of a lot of new characters. But it is a season where maybe two-thirds has this momentum and this drive, and then the final third is like a completely new show.”
In referencing the famous or infamous Season 4 scene in which he bit into the throat of one of the (non-zombie) claimers, Lincoln also suggested that he would exit The Walking Dead if the level of violence ever reached the point of so-called torture porn.
“The moment we move into pornographic violence–‘torture porn’–I have absolutely no interest. In fact, it’s abhorrent for me, that type of movie–that victim-torture porn, is the only way I can explain it. If we move into that area, that is a show I want nothing to do with.”
Each season features one or more regular players meeting a gory demise, an event which can be traumatic for viewers who have bonded with the character or characters concerned. According to one spoiler that has recently gained currency on the internet, Beth Greene could die in the Season 5 mid-season finale.
Walking Dead executive David Alpert claimed that the production staff has the plot mapped out through Season 12. If accurate, it would be generally unprecedented in TV history for a drama to sustain its quality and ratings over that long a period of time.
What do you think Andrew Lincoln actually means by suggesting that The Walking Dead could become a completely new show as Season 5 unfolds?