As the ratings continue to diminish each season, AMC’s The Walking Dead creator and executive producer Robert Kirkman has made a move that will stun viewers and, hopefully, change the fate of the ailing series.
In a dramatic departure from the hit graphic novel series, the character of sheriff’s Deputy Rick Grimes will no longer be American. Kirmkan has decided that now Grimes will be a former British-national posing as a King’s County, Georgia native under the witness protection program.
While a severe departure from the main storyline of the graphic novels, according to Kirkman the decision was necessary for the survival of the series.
“We were getting way too much feedback from fans that Andrew Lincoln’s Rick Grimes was not charismatic enough to carry the show. What were we going to do, fire the guy who played Egg in This Life? Short of bringing Jon Bernthal back as Shane’s twin brother, this was the only way.”
Kirkman elaborated by saying that he didn’t think that the massive change would really phase most long-time viewers, but that the storyline would have a more ‘universal appeal’ to people who had not watched the show at all yet. They also were struggling to pay for dialect coaches for Lincoln, who is an English actor playing a Southern lawman.
“The bottom line is, trying to maintain an American accent as a British man while squinting a lot and conveying the agony of a man with the whole apocalyptic world on his shoulders is no small task for anyone. So we decided to give Andrew a break so he can really cut loose and bring new life to the character.”
Regarding where the plot is headed, Kirkman remains tight-lipped. However he did hint that Grimes will reveal his true identity to his band of fellow survivors at some point during the season premiere, and will coincide with Daryl’s realization of his latent attraction to “men from across the pond,” about which actor Norman Reedus is ecstatic.
“I get so tired of everyone asking me, ‘who is Daryl going to have a romantic storyline with,“ said Reedus, “Carol? Beth? It’s a huge relief to have that whole mess resolved.”
The official release date, set for later this month has not yet been announced.