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Robert Kirkman Explains Governor’s Absence on ‘The Walking Dead’


When The Governor, the psychopathic ruler of Woodbury played by David Morrissey, survived the attack on the Prison in the Season 3 finale of The Walking Dead, many viewers presumed he’d return, guns blazing, in Season 4. But after four episodes, there’s not been a sign of him.

Of course, Rick Grimes and the other Prison inhabitants have plenty of other threats to occupy their time. But still, it’s difficult not to wonder just what happened to Philip Blake, an ever-present menace during the previous season. As Executive Producer Robert Kirkman explains to The Hollywood Reporter, it was simply a matter of just too much Governor.

“It’s not that we don’t like that character,” said Kirkman, who created The Governor with artist Charlie Adlard in the pages of the comic. “It’s just that we needed to give that character a break. Going right back into that would seem like more retread of Season 3 and that’s the thing we don’t want to do.”

He said The Governor’s absence amid the survivors’ other trials — a deadly flu outbreak, a killer in their midst and a mysterious figure tolling in walkers to the Prison — serves to heighten the the anxiety. “Viewers are watching this the entire time knowing that The Governor could emerge from anywhere at any time and add another threat to whatever these characters are dealing with — it adds another layer of tension,” Kirkman explained. “We wouldn’t be able to do that if we move right into his story.”

And when he does return sometime in this 16-episode season, The Governor will likely be a changed man — and not for the better.

“We like to keep people guessing and he definitely will return this season,” Kirkman said. “Just when you think things are getting to a breaking point, that’s when The Governor layer will be thrown in to make things that much more deadly and dangerous. It’s going to be a really big, memorable moment in the show.”

The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on AMC.


  • Joey Dillander

    He’s return will will end bloody. With the a crushing death, a decapitation, and a one handed man. for those who read the comic you’ll know what I mean

  • matt

    for those that have read the comic, they’ll know that there are very few parallels between it and the show. I don’t suspect he will bite it in quite the same fashion.

  • anthonybgonzalez

    yes i believe that Merle losing his hand was the trade off for another hand. I seriously dont think theyll go there with a main actor, esp with how the one handed thing wasnt exactly the best SFX product in the world on merle

  • Jeremy R. Montgomery

    Kirkman already said that his biggest regret with Rick was taking his hand, in the comics. So that won’t happen. As for the head lopping. I am all for it, because that character is a pale comparison of what he was in the comics and he is really really getting on my nerves.

  • demoncat_4

    not to mention when the governor finaly does show up it will have been worth the wait at last of no governor yet which means bodies will be hitting the floor