Ray Richmond is contributing to Deadline’s TCA coverage.

During AMC’s session for The Walking Dead, the producers of the hit zombie drama were asked about recent reports that ousted showrunner Frank Darabont had a different idea for the show’s second season premiere than the one that aired, but it was rejected.  “The story was one we discussed internally; that was Frank’s pitch and it was one of many ideas examined in the writers’ room,” said executive producer Glen Mazarra, Darabont’s successor at the helm of the series. “It just felt like a stall and we wanted to get to our characters. We have a lot of ideas like that. … That was not something that was rejected by another party. That’s not accurate.” Darabont’s plan was allegedly a flashback to the early days of the zombie apocalypse. It told the story of a zombie soldier The Walking Dead lead Rick (Andrew Lincoln) came across in the series’ pilot, ending with their encounter before the show were to pick up with Rick and his crew in Episode 2.

Also during the panel for the zombie smash, the critics — feeling rather like zombies themselves as the winter press tour grinds to a close on Sunday — scrutinized zombies’ speed — both rising from the dead and walking after that. “The speed with which you turn into a zombie is something we’re very mindful of,” said creator and executive producer Robert Kirkman. “It’s based on your physical health at the time and other variables. You can be faster or slower. It all depends on your life as a zombie, how long you’ve been dead, the condition you were in when you died.” It was also pointed out that the zombies appeared on the whole to be walking faster this season, almost to the point of jogging. Executive producer Gale Anne Hurd explained that someone bitten in the leg would naturally not go very fast, “while if you’re bitten in the arm you’re going to motor a little faster. It’s all in the character and back story of each zombie.”

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