If you thought Sam Witwer’s description of an unproduced “Walking Dead” web series last week would make you miss Frank Darabont, just wait: there’s more.
Ain’t It Cool News followed up with Darabont to confirm Witwer’s account of the online series, which would have followed a soldier’s trek through zombie-ravaged Atlanta, culminating in his death-by-zombie-fever inside of the tank we see in the “Walking Dead” pilot episode. Darabont not only confirmed the idea, he also added new details, including the fact that this wouldn’t have been a web series, but a full-fledged season premiere.
“This was never meant as a web gimmick, this was intended for use in the actual TV series,” Darabont wrote to AICN in an e-mail. “I wanted to kick off the 2nd season with the flashback episode Sam describes, which would have followed a squad of Army Rangers getting trapped in the city and trying to survive as Atlanta falls.”
“The idea was to do this with a very focused ’you are there’ documentary feel. Not going all shaky-cam, but still making it a bit rawer and grainier than the rest of the show,” he continued. “We’d start with a squad of maybe seven or eight soldiers being dropped into the city by chopper. They have map coordinates they need to get to; they’ve been told to report to a certain place to provide reinforcement. It’s not a special mission, it’s basically a housekeeping measure putting more boots on the ground to reinforce key intersections and installations throughout the city. And we follow this group from the moment the copter sets them down. All they have to do is travel maybe a dozen blocks, a simple journey, but what starts as a no-brainer scenario goes from ’the city is being secured’ to ’holy s—, we’ve lost control, the world is ending.'”
Darabont added that the episode would have also featured some of the show’s regular characters, including Dale, Andrea and her sister Amy.
“Picture our squad arriving at a manned barricade where some civilians are being held back from leaving the city on shoot-to-kill orders to stop the spread of contagion, it’s a panicked high-intensity scene, and in this crowd of desperate people we find Andrea and Amy,” he said. “The barricade gunners panic, the civilians start to get mowed down by machine gun fire, and in this melee the girls get pulled to safety by some old guy they don’t even know. It’s Dale. He’s nobody to them, just some guy who saw the opportunity to do the right thing and reacted in the moment.”
Still, in Darabont’s mind, the episode would have centered largely on Witwer’s character and his ill-fated journey to the tank.
“The notion was to take the ’throwaway’ tank zombie Rick encountered in the pilot, and tell that soldier’s story. Make him the star of his own movie, follow his journey, but don’t reveal who he is until the end. The idea being that every zombie has a story, every undead extra was once a human being with a life of his/her own…was, in a sense, the star of his own life’s movie,” said Darabont.
There’s a lot more over at Ain’t It Cool… and all of it is awesome.
What do you think of Darabont’s proposed season two opening? Let us know in the comments section and on Twitter!