Frank Darabont Cans All Of The Writers For The Walking Dead, And Considers Having No Writing Staff For Season Two

So far AMC’s “The Walking Dead” has been everything I wanted it to be and more. My only real issue with the series is that there is only one episode left. Seriously, I expect that from a British show, but man, six episodes is pretty brief. At least they’re really good episodes. The good news is that AMC has already ordered a full, 13-episode season two.

In an interesting move, especially considering the critical and popular success of “The Walking Dead”, writer/director/producer Frank Darabont has let go of the entire writing staff, including his second in command, Charles “Chic” Eglee. Furthermore, he is considering not having a writing staff at all for the second season.

According to Deadline,

Darabont is looking to forgo having a writing staff for the second season of “Walking Dead” altogether and assign scripts to freelancers. Darabont, who hails from the feature world with “The Young Indiana Jones” as the only series credit before “Walking Dead”, ended up writing two of the first season’s six episodes. . . the pilot and the second episode—and co-writing/rewriting the other four. Two of those four were written by non-staff writers, one by executive producer Robert Kirkman, on whose comics the series is based, and one by Glen Mazzara.

This may sound like a drastic move, but there is some precedent. The Starz/BBC series “Torchwood” uses a similar model, employing only freelancers. Apparently this is fairly common practice in the UK, though as a US-based series, “The Walking Dead” could run into legal problems with the Writer’s Guild. This is just the latest, and there has been no final decision, so AMC could ultimately go with in this direction, choose to have a staff of writers, or go with a multi-pronged approach, using some unholy, many headed amalgamation of staff writers and freelancers.

This might not prove to be a horrible idea, but at the very least it does sound like it could be problematic. A core staff of writers can create an overarching cohesion within a series that freelancers might not be able to pull off. They’ve seen it all go down, and have a grasp on the subtle nuances, minutia, and internal mythology that really make a show come together. Who knows, maybe I’m just freaking out over nothing, but it is concerning for the time being. What do you all think?



About Brent McKnight

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Brent McKnight lives in Seattle with his dogs. He likes beards, movies where things explode, and overcast skies. His three favorite movies are "Rubin and Ed", "A Bittersweet Life", and "Out for Justice". He wishes his knees didn't hurt. On Twitter @BrentMMcKnight

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  • blackfox

    is he mentally handicapped or an egomaniac? you need a writing staff per guild rules.

    • http://www.originalgeekspodcast.com/ Dedpool aka Jiinx

      Meh. Guild Schmild! Rodriguez broke away from the directors guild to give Tarantino and Frank Miller co-directing cred on “Sin City” and that worked out well and he’s still getting movies made. So this isn’t something that upsets me completely.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Z7546NQ5ZXFHS6G5AVECRYREAY THE MAN

    Ijust hope he does not kill a good thing.

  • Phil

    I enjoyed Torchwood and didn’t know that they used freelance writers.. however it would explain why some episodes were tremendous and others just felt off and lacking. This is the new favorite show amongst myself and my friends and I really really would hate to see it go down the toilet because of behind the scenes shennanigans.

  • http://www.beyondhollywood.com/ Nix

    J. Michael Straczynski essentially wrote every single episode of “Babylon 5″ except for the occasional episode or two where he was forced to hire someone else per Guild rules. When a creator has that kind of unified vision for his project, it sometimes makes sense to have total control over the writing, story, plotting, etc.

    • Doubleh55

      What about the actual guy who created the comic strip? He wrote one of my favorite episodes of the season so far and without him there is no Walking Dead show.

      • http://www.beyondhollywood.com/ Nix

        From everything I’ve read, and I’ve read lots on the show and the behind-the-scenes stuff, Kirkman seems to get along famously with Darabont (he’s no Alan Moore, let’s just say that), so I’m sure he’s not going anywhere. And I don’t think he was ever part of the writing staff to begin with (though I could be wrong), so it shouldn’t affect his position on the show AFAIK.

  • blackfox

    Good point Nix. and Dedpool. but it just that this seems like a dick move. you rewrite every episode including the guy who’s comic your basing your series off of! it seems more like he wants free lancers so he can rewrite every ones work without anyone complaining in a big way. I’m curious to see where he goes but come on lets hope he doesn’t ruin it with his complete control. J. Michael Straczynski is a different animal when it came to his own series that he brainstormed.

    • http://www.originalgeekspodcast.com/ Dedpool aka Jiinx

      Um they aren’t written yet. I’m sure there are outlines done but the scripts arent fully developed. As for Kirkman, Darabont would probably have him be one of the freelance writers. Darabont is gonna have his hands full come Janurary with “The Wolverine” and Kirkman is still a producer so I’m sure he’ll get to do another episode or two.

  • The Strongest There Is

    I like the idea of Freelancers, being that I just joined two company work forces to do such things. I want to know where he is looking and try to be there. lol.

    • http://www.originalgeekspodcast.com/ Dedpool aka Jiinx

      THAT would be AWESOME! I wish you good luck man.

    • http://www.originalgeekspodcast.com/ Dedpool aka Jiinx

      THAT would be AWESOME! I wish you good luck man.

  • Brian

    I kind of hope season 2 bombs now…with the writing to be to blame, so in essence Darabont is to blame. From the sounds of it thought, it does seem like he wants control all by himself. I’m torn on how to feel about that. I don’t like it, but I also enjoyed the way the first 2 especially were put together. But then again he was writing with source material in mind. What happens if/when he runs out of comic story? (I haven’t read the comics so I don’t know how long the series runs for) Will his writing start to suck after that point?