When Frank Darabont originally brought The Walking Dead to AMC, he had big plans. He created a first season of The Walking Dead that turned television on its ear and he created one of the most successful shows that remain huge today, after six seasons. Interestingly, one of the things that Darabont wanted to do with the first episode of season two was to create a black and white episode that was a complete flashback to another survivor at the hospital Rick was at, someone who showed the audience what happened in the hospital while Rick was sleeping.
AMC shot the idea down and hated it. That was also around the time that they fired Frank Darabont and moved on without him. The Washington Post reported that Glen Mazzara, who took over as showrunner after Darabont was fired, said that black and white flashback episode could have be a “show killer.”
Mazzara himself was fired a few years later by AMC and replaced on The Walking Dead. After he was fired, The Walking Dead shot the Season 6 premiere episode in black and white flashback scenes, although they also mixed in color scenes from the present day.
Now, in an ironic bit of news five years later, IndieWire reported that AMC will televise the entire first season of The Walking Dead over the Fourth of July weekend in black and white. When that is completed, they will re-air the entire first season of The Walking Dead in color.
This is very interesting, and if Darabont wasn’t so bitter over his exit after one season, it might be something he would love as well. Darabont is best known for directing three of the best Stephen King adaptations of all-time in Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, and The Mist. The interesting thing about The Mist is that Darabont wanted to release it into theaters in black and white. The studio shot him down there as well, but he got his way when he released the Blu-ray with both versions, and many critics appreciated the black and white version the best.
For fans who don’t know, Melissa McBride, who plays Carol on The Walking Dead, was in The Mist. Now, the entire first season of The Walking Dead will get the black and white treatment, and it is curious how fans will react.
The reason that the studio did not want The Mist in black and white is because they believed that fans would ignore a movie in black and white. It is true that, in many cases, fans do not like black and white and equate it to old and outdated. However, when done right, black and white can be more striking than a full-color production, one that throws all shades of red blood at the fans.
With AMC offering an entire marathon of The Walking Dead in black and white and then the full marathon in color, it is a good bet that more people will watch the color version of the marathon. However, for people who want something different with a completely different aesthetic, the black and white version is the one to really take the time to see. It may never happen again, so this could be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Walking Dead fans.
The first season of The Walking Dead saw Rick, a Georgia cop, wake up from a coma and realize that the entire world has fallen apart and zombies have overrun the world. He meets a pizza boy named Glenn, two outlaw brothers named Daryl and Merle, and a tough ally named T-Dog and sets out to find his wife and son, who are under the protection of Rick’s former partner Shane.
The marathon for the black and white re-showing of The Walking Dead Season 1 starts at 7 a.m. EST on Sunday, July 3. The color marathon will start after that, at 1:30 p.m. AMC will then have marathons of the next five seasons over the next five Sundays.
[Image via Matthew Welch / AMC]