This weekend at PaleyFest, though, executive producer Gale Anne Hurd told CBR that the first half of season four will remind fans that the walkers aren't a threat to be taken lightly either.
"We are going to amp up the threat of the walkers, because they've started to seem like a manageable threat. They are not a manageable threat," she said. "But, it is the people who you think you can trust who betray you, that you have to fear. It is the monster inside you. We all have them. How do we keep them in check?"
That's a challenge that Kirkman faced in the comics as well, but one he managed. During the survivors' time at the prison, it seemed as though they were safe behind the walls, and some fans lamented that not enough was happening. By the end of the Governor storyline in the comics, though, that seemed to have worn off.
"In the early days I heard a few complaints that there weren’t enough zombies in the book," Kirkman told ComicBook.com in 2009. "I recently went a year–two entire trade paperbacks’ worth of issues–without them killing any characters from the book (issues 49-60/Volumes 9 & 10) and thus far, nobody has noticed. Eventually I foresee being able to go an entire block of issues without a zombie appearing. I think it’s important to the book that they’re not the focus. If it makes sense for them to appear–like currently in the series, they’ll be there…but if it ever doesn’t, I’m not going to shoehorn them in just to have them there."
While no one has yet been clear as to whether the threat of the Governor will be gone by next year, the prominence of walkers as a threat may suggest that the survivors will have left the prison and be back on the road by then. Ironically, though, it was during that time that the comic book issues that Kirkman refers to took place.