Credit: Gene Page/AMC

Robert Kirkman always has plenty to say … except when he can’t speak! EW caught up with Kirkman recently, but we had to do it over email since the Walking Dead creator was still recovering from throat surgery. We asked him all about if his role on the show has changed and what to expect in season 6.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: With all your comic books, and the new companion series, and Outcast on Cinemax, and the Transformers thing, and putting out Skybound movies like AIR, and everything else, how much time does that leave for you in terms of creative input on The Walking Dead TV show? What is your role like now on the show and how has it changed over the years?

ROBERT KIRKMAN: I’m definitely spending less time on set. But to be honest, I never really spent all that much time on set anyway. For the most part, though, my role has not changed. I’m an executive producer, and the show is based on the comic series I write, but I’ve always considered myself to be one of the writers on the show, no more important than any of the others. I have input, but the show is a team effort led by Scott Gimple and that hasn’t changed, and that’s always allowed me to have the luxury of doing other things.

We’re hitting a period in the comics that is about Rick taking control of Alexandria, and dealing with threats both internal (like a botched mutiny by Nicholas) and external (like the Scavengers and a herd of zombies that gets through the walls). How much of what we see in season 6 will match up to that? And what will be the biggest difference between what we see in season 6 and this stage of the comics?

Dalton, Dalton, Dalton … I can’t tell you how closely season 6 will follow the comics! We have to keep people guessing. If you’re paying attention, the material around volume 13 or so of the comic series has been getting adapted into the show most recently, but we always reserve the right to stray from the source or even jump back or ahead and do things out of order. All that said, the biggest differences we’ll see revolve around Daryl, who was never in the comic, and Carol, who was long dead and never as cool as the TV version by this point.

In addition to that, we have Lennie James’ Morgan, who is also very different (and cooler) than his comics counterpart. Having Lennie, who was such a huge part of season 1 and amazing every time we had him back, finally a regular part of this show is really going to energize this show for the coming season. And I would argue this show wasn’t really in need of reenergizing, so it’s just going to be that much better.

Showrunner Scott Gimple mentioned to me that you all are going to explore some backstory this season to things that are only mentioned in the comic and get a look at some things that happened in Alexandria’s past. What can you say about that and some of the other time-jumping we are going to see this season?

I’m in the enviable position of constantly seeing Scott and the rest of the writers dig up morsels from my work and doing things with them I never could have imagined. All I’ll say is that a few of the things coming deal with very cool, very beloved parts of the comic series and expand them in ways that die-hard fans are going to love. Oftentimes we do things that are cool, but risky, and I know some people will love it, but there’s a potential for some people not to like the changes we’re making or things we’re adding. This is not one of those times. This stuff is awesome.

For more Walking Dead intel, follow Dalton on Twitter @DaltonRoss.

Want more? EW’s Fall TV Preview mega-issue has the scoop on 115 shows! Pick up your copy on newsstands now, or buy it here.

RELATED VIDEO: ‘Walking Dead’: Norman Reedus on season 6

WANT MORE EW? Subscribe now to keep up with the latest in movies, television and music.

Episode Recaps

The Walking Dead

AMC's zombie thriller, based on the classic comic book serial created by Robert Kirkman.

  • TV Show
  • 11
stream service