Now that season three is over, Kirkman and his team of writers are hard at work on season four, which will again be sixteen (hopefully less decompressed) episodes. Kirkman spoke recently with IGN about the work so far:
Rick has had a success. The people at the prison have survived this conflict with the Governor, he brought people from Woodbury into the prison, and he’s kind of had this big win. He’s had this moment where he’s brought people together and he’s doing good things. But he’s had this tremendous loss in that Carl has lost this piece of his humanity. This has been Rick’s main mission throughout the show, to protect his family. We’ve seen two very big failures on that front this season.
One of [Rick's] main goals is to manage this situation with Carl and see if he can bring him back from this darkness that’s crept into him. Whether or not he’s able to do that, we’ll have to see. But this is a big change in the character of Carl, but it’s something that’s going to be weighing heavily on Rick next season.
On The Governor
That’s certainly not the last that we’ll see of him. When we see him again and where we see him again, that’s the big question. It’s not going to be like it was in Season 3; it’s not going to be Rick and the Governor on a collision course with a conflict between them. He’ll be used in very different ways next season.
I think it’s important to note that I don’t believe for a minute that Rick would have accepted the people of Woodbury into the prison and unified those communities as he has at the end of this season if it weren’t for Andrea and all of the work she did toward that goal. I think to a certain extent, Andrea as a character accomplished the very difficult task that she was trying to accomplish, but did it in a way that ended up costing her life.
On Season 4
We’re working out Season 4 right now – we’re halfway through writing it – and we know exactly where we’re going. Who’s dying and when they’re dying is all worked out very early on as we’re plotting out the entire season. It’s something that we always know where we’re going with it.
I’ll say that there are a lot of familiar elements that are remaining. Michonne is still around, Rick and his group are still in the prison, the Governor’s still out there… so there are a lot of things that are carrying over from Season 3 to Season 4, but I can’t stress how different things are going to be. There are going to be some radical changes to those elements that are going to bring in a lot of new storytelling. While [Season 4] does seem somewhat familiar, it’s going to be vastly different from Season 3