Fear the Walking Dead Showrunners Address Fan Backlash

Fear the Walking Dead showrunners Andrew Chambliss and Ian Goldberg have responded to fan backlash and criticism raised by Season 4 and the just-ended Season 5, which wrapped as the worst-received season of either Walking Dead series.

“You know, we told the story that we believe in and we’re proud of what we did and in terms of going forward, the show is changing and that’s always been a part of the plan,” Chambliss told Insider. “You know, it changes every season and every half season and we’re very excited about the direction it’s going and a lot of the tough challenges that our characters ahead are going to be facing.”

When asked to grade themselves on Season 5 as a whole, Goldberg said, “Well, you know, we’re tough on ourselves. So I don’t know if we would necessarily assign a grade.”

“But you know, I think what excited us about this season was the opportunity to see people navigate the apocalypse in a completely different way,” he continued. “You know, by its very nature of the apocalypse, often, you know, whether in the Walking Dead Universe or the apocalypse that’s been explored in other TV scapes, it’s a very bleak, nihilistic place. And, certainly we’ve seen some of that over the course of the season.”

The writer-producers, who inherited showrunning duties from Fear co-creator and original three-season showrunner Dave Erickson in a semi-rebooted Season 4, wanted to continue that season’s thread — inspired by since killed off original series lead Madison Clark (Kim Dickens) — to view The Walking Dead spinoff through a lens that is “more optimistic and hopeful.”

This charge was led by TWD transplant Morgan (Lennie James), who was installed as new series lead in Season 4 as part of the first crossover between both shows. Following the actions of villain Virginia (Colby Minifie) in the Season 5 finale that ended with Morgan shot and left for dead, Season 6 promises to totally reinvent Fear.

“It was exciting for us to dig into what it meant to face the apocalypse with a lens that was more optimistic and hopeful and about connection and helping people,” Goldberg said. “Obviously we see that that, in the finale, is being met with a huge roadblock in the way of Virginia and her people. And it’s going to completely shift the paradigm going forward in Season 6. That’s a story that we really believe in, that we were excited to tell in Season 5. So looking back on it, we’re excited by how it took shape and really proud of our amazing cast and crew for helping to bring it to life.”

The showrunners faced fan backlash on social media when Talking Dead prompted viewers to submit questions for Chambliss and Goldberg ahead of their appearance on the aftershow following Fear’s Season 5 finale, “End of the Line.” Typically aired live, this episode of Talking Dead was prerecorded last week.

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Chambliss and Goldberg are also at the center of a fan-launched petition urging cabler AMC to remove the showrunners ahead of Fear Season 6, due out in 2020.

The Walking Dead Season 10 premieres Sunday, Oct. 6 at 9/8c on AMC. For more TWD intel, follow the author @CameronBonomolo on Twitter.