‘The Walking Dead’ Producer Scott Gimple Says Shows Without Strong Women Are ‘Telling Stupid Stories’

Scott M. Gimple
Scott M. Gimple Paul Butterfield/FilmMagic

Female empowerment is a natural progression in the Walking Dead universe. Executive producer Scott Gimple spoke to Us Weekly about the show’s tendency to elevate plot lines about strong women.

“I’m proud to be a part of a show that, even the comics that the show is based on, had the story values to put forth incredibly strong, powerful female characters. Michonne (Danai Gurira) is from the comic book, and it can’t get stronger than her,” Gimple, 47, told Us at the Walking Dead season 9 premiere in Los Angeles on Thursday, September 27. “You’re going to see some new characters this season from the comic book, incredibly strong female characters. And to have anything short of that is just to tell a frickin’ lame story, and that’s been true long before this political moment. When you don’t have strong female characters in your stories, you are telling stupid stories.”

He continued: “I was proud from the moment I started [working on The Walking Dead]. I’m that much prouder to have promoted Angela Kang to showrunner and to step back and tell different stories. I think that The Walking Dead is a place where you can find great female voices, great female artists and stories that honor female characters, not as a novelty but as intrinsic story value.”

Gimple went on to elaborate on season 9’s focus. “There are a number of incredibly powerful female leaders on this show, in the story,” he added. “And the story turns on their decisions and actions.”

The writer also emphasized the changes ahead in the series’ upcoming season. “There are multiple huge stories coming up, big shifts, the way that we tell stories has changed. It really has different emphasis that other seasons have not, and that’s to give the audience something new,” Gimple revealed. “The pressure I would imagine with any show, whether it be this show or 60 Minutes, is after all these years providing some novelty, new stuff, fighting hard to give the audience an experience that they haven’t had in eight years. Going into our ninth season, that’s been the big thing. And I think that this incredible writing staff, that this incredible cast has really risen to the occasion, the producers. And it feels great!”

Kang previewed the female-focused narrative at the AMC Summit in June, hinting at “some really great stories” for Enid (Katelyn Nacon), Michonne, Maggie (Lauren Cohan) and Carol (Melissa McBride). The showrunner also noted that season 9 will include a time jump.

The Walking Dead will feature casting changes when it returns, too, with Andrew Lincoln confirming his exit in July and Cohan taking on a reduced role as she stars in ABC’s upcoming spy series, Whiskey Cavalier.

The Walking Dead returns to AMC on Sunday, October 7, at 9 p.m. ET.

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