Last week, Horror News Network reported that The Walking Dead Executive Producer, Gale Anne Hurd, said that the level of violence in the show was toned down after fan reaction to the violent moments of Season Seven. Some fans were happy to hear about this change, while others were not so happy (One since-deleted comment on our twitter feed questioned if the show would be turning into a soap opera).
Some feathers were obviously ruffled by the statement, so now two more producers have told Entertainment Weekly that they have NOT toned down violence due to fan backlash! Showrunner, Scott Gimple, and executive producer and director, Greg Nicotero, offered a different perspectives on the situation.
According to Gimple:
“The violence in the premiere was pronounced for a reason. 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.”
Entertainment Weekly documented Nicotero’s take:
“Executive producer and director Greg Nicotero answers with a flat “No” when asked if anything was toned down later as a result of fan feedback, and he also says that if they could go back, they would not change a thing. “As brutal as that episode 1 was, it’s still part of our storytelling bible, which is what the world is about. I don’t think we would ever edit ourselves, and I think — even after looking at that episode 1 again — as tough as it was for people to watch, I don’t think we would have done it any differently. I don’t think we’ll ever pull ourselves back. There is definitely a difference between violence against walkers and human on human violence, but truthfully, we’re serving our story.”
The magazine continued to question the two about specific events which occurred towards the end of the season which appeared to have been less explicit than similar scenes in prior episodes, but they stuck to their guns that nothing has been changed due to fan response.
Who’s telling the truth? We wont know until Season Eight premieres. One thing’s for sure, though: Gale Anne Hurd has been in the business a long time (working on such boundary pushing films as The Terminator and Aliens), and it’s unlikely she would make such a public error about such a hot topic. The truth is out there!