When the “Walking Dead” season-two Blu-ray arrives Aug. 28, we’ll finally get to see more of the episode I think ultimately got Frank Darabont fired.
The 90-minute second-season opener we saw on Oct. 16 of last year was apparently cobbled together from what was originally supposed to be two hour-long episodes.
Most of those 90 minutes were derived from what was originally the second episode of the season, directed by Ernest Dickerson.
But there was also some footage in those 90 minutes cannibalized from the original season premiere directed by Gwyneth Horder-Payton (“Fringe,” “Battlestar Galactica,” “Justified”) from a teleplay by Darabont. (A presumably unhappy Darabont substituted his pseudonym “Ardeth Bay” in the “written by” opening titles. Horder-Payton also directed the series’ popular third episode, “Tell It To The Frogs.”)
That original Darabont-scripted second-season premiere, which picked up immediately after the season-one destruction of Atlanta’s Center for Disease Control, saw Shane become separated from his fellow survivors due to car trouble. Once Shane is rescued, the group sought shelter at the Atlanta nursing facility introduced in the season’s fourth episode, “Vatos.”
The show went into production on its second season in June. Sources say an early episode came in with footage that was not usable. The director had shot a successful first-season episode and was a mutually agreed-upon choice. Darabont was editing the episode in an effort to fix it but by then, an insider believes, AMC was looking for a pretext. “[AMC exec Joel Stillerman] thinks he is responsible for the success of shows on AMC, and not the creators,” this person says. This person blames Stillerman for the decision to fire Darabont. (Stillerman also has a strained relationship is Mad Men’s [mastermind Matthew] Weiner, who declines to speak to him.) Through an AMC rep, Stillerman declined comment.
The Blu-ray is also said to contain commentary from Glen Mazzara (showrunner of Starz' horrible TV version of "Crash"), who replaced Darabont as “Walking Dead” showrunner, explaining why original season premiere was largely scrapped.
Find Entertainment Weekly's story on the matter here.