frank darabont paleyfest 2011 'The Walking Dead's' Glen Mazzara on Frank Darabont's torpedoed S2 premiere: 'That happened on Frank's watch'Frank Darabont may have had a grand, action-packed vision for “The Walking Dead’s” season 2 premiere, but according to showrunner Glen Mazzara — his successor — that idea was never seriously considered for production.

“We discussed that, examined it, but it was best to open the season on picking up our characters — so Frank moved off of that,” says Mazzara at the Television Critics Association winter press tour where the show announced plans for a 16-episode third season. “So if Frank said that was an idea that was written and rejected, that’s not my recollection.”

The fact that we know about the idea at all is kind of a funny story. An e-mail from Darabont to AICN surfaced in early January, detailing plans for a season opener that would break from the main story to chronicle the zombification of the soldier Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) encounters in a tank in season 1.

“After the soldier dies this squalid, lonely death,” he writes, “and after a quiet lapse of time … we do a shot-for-shot reprise from the first episode of the first season: Rick comes scrambling into the tank to escape the horde … blows that zombie soldier’s brains out … now Rick’s trapped .. fade out … the end.”

At a later session, Mazzara underscored the fact that the decision to go in a different direction was Darabont’s.

“That happened on Frank’s watch,” he said.

Posted by:Liz Kelly Nelson