Someone’s dead. But that someone is not Carol or Morgan… yet. Not only are the former polar opposites still alive, but they have some spiffy new digs as well, as the duo will be entering a brand new community known as the Kingdom in season 7. We spoke to Walking Dead showrunner Scott M. Gimple to get the scoop on what’s in store for Carol and Morgan and their wacky new host, King Ezekiel.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: You and I have already talked a lot about the big cliffhanger, but let’s discuss Morgan and Carol and where they left off. She doesn’t want to keep killing people yet then Morgan kills someone to save her in the finale. What I found interesting is not only did Morgan shoot that savior once, he unloaded his whole gun. He shot him six times.
SCOTT M. GIMPLE: He wanted to save her life and he wasn’t taking any chances. That character, Roman, was raising his gun. So Morgan was like, “This is it. There’s no way to stop him.” The big thing with that as far as Carol’s side of it was that it wasn’t only that she didn’t want to kill, but she really wanted to get away from people and people that she’s close to, which is something we saw all the way back in episode 502.
That really is a driving motivation with her. And yet, in that moment — though she didn’t really think of it this way — she did need someone. But she’s in a tricky place. She doesn’t want community and she doesn’t want people close to her. She wants to be on her own and she certainly has the skills at this point to do so, but how do you achieve that when there’s people around who care about you?
What about the Morgan half of that equation?
That’s a little more binary in that you absolutely hit that. I mean he has been struggling with adopting a philosophy that saved him in so many ways, and yet that philosophy isn’t workable in the world that he inhabits. Obviously, in that moment, it wasn’t. Towards the midseason, we saw how much Morgan was struggling with it and how he wanted to walk that path, but he knew that it was challenged and it was possibly unworkable.
And then, yes, in that moment, are you going to kill someone and save your friend’s life in some ways that you feel responsible that they’re out there in the first place, or do you let them die? Because somebody’s going to die in that moment. He made a choice, but that will only further that conflict if it doesn’t end his association with that philosophy altogether.
Morgan was never certain, and now his going through the world without killing anyone, is that just wishful thinking at this point? That’s a big part of his story this season. I will say obviously we’re not going to be seeing him wringing his hands and bemoaning this the whole time. In fact, what we saw, it’s more that he will see that he has no choice but to move away from the philosophy, but it’s not going to be easy for him.
Let’s talk about where they’re going to be since they’re visiting the Kingdom and this is a huge location from the comic. What is this community all about?
I’ll say that the Kingdom is a place that works and it’s a place that has a very different vibe because it works. They’ve figured out how to feed themselves. They’ve figured out how to have a place that in many ways celebrates life. They get to be alive. They want to live. It isn’t merely about survival.
There is a community there and the man in charge is somebody who embraces in some ways some of the more nonsensical parts of life. You know, he walks around with a classical royal air and yet there’s something very affirming about that. It’s theater. He’s a bigger than life character and they’re living in a way that is very affirmative of life and it’s very different from any of the communities that we’ve seen before.
What about his tiger, Shiva? When you knew you wanted to bring Ezekiel in, you knew you had to bring the tiger in. Take me through the discussions you guys had in terms of how the hell you were going to do this.
There were people that were like, “We’re not going to do this. There’s no way we can do this.” You know, we have Greg [Nicotero] and we have a remarkable effects team. I’ll just say, as with everything on the show, it’s something we thought about a long, long time. The show is a very difficult show to make. However much you plan or whatever, the ground sort of crumbles out beneath your feet as you just rush ahead with each and every episode. I’m very lucky that we’d been thinking and planning for a long time. We’re pulling it off just in the nick of time.
For more Walking Dead scoop, follow Dalton on Twitter @DaltonRoss.