11:00am PT by Lesley Goldberg
'Walking Dead' EPs, Cast Weigh in on 'Bloody and Deadly' Season Finale
AMC's The Walking Dead wraps its fourth season Sunday with an episode that promises to pack a wallop, judging by the zombie drama's three previous finales.
A refresher: Season one featured the suicide/bombing at the CDC after Rick (Andrew Lincoln) learned from Jenner that everyone was infected; season two featured the start of the "Ricktatorship" and first appearance of Michonne (Danai Gurira); and last season ended with Andrea's shocking death.
So how deadly and bloody will this weekend's season-four finale be? The Hollywood Reporter quizzed executive producers Scott M. Gimple and Robert Kirkman -- as well as a few castmembers -- to find out. Of course, there's always the off chance that it ends with a hopeful message.
Kirkman, who created the comics the AMC zombie drama is based on, warned: "I would expect a very high level of deadliness. Our season finale is not going to disappoint anyone; we've got some big stuff planned."
Gimple, who has taken a "remix" approach to the comics and a nuanced approach to the series as showrunner this season, says: "It's pretty deadly. There will be some very difficult, shaking moments for these characters. Everything they know is shaken."
Michael Cudlitz, who boarded the show this year as Army guy with a mission and comics favorite Abraham, cut right to the chase: "The season finale is pretty damn bloody. It's bloody and deadly."
Norman Reedus, whose Daryl has been accepted into the "Claimers" group after Beth's abduction, warns that the episode is "insane -- it's f---ing nuts!"
Lauren Cohan, whose Maggie suffered the loss of her father in season four's midseason finale and was reunited with her husband, Glenn (Steven Yeun), in the penultimate episode, hopes the gang -- the first to arrive at sanctuary Terminus -- catches a bit of a breather, though she isn't expecting it. "Can't these guys get a break?! It's The Walking Dead! There are worse threats than death."
Melissa McBride, who has had to kill Karen and David in the first half and Lizzie and her sister, Mika, in the back half, warns the finale may compare to the Governor's brutal attack on the prison. "All hell breaks loose! Shots are fired!"
Meanwhile, exec producer Greg Nicotero describes the finale as the "perfect culmination" of all the Easter eggs that have been planted all season long. "Every beat and moment leads somewhere and pays off," he says. "We spent a lot of time crafting those bits and pieces. Seeing where the season goes and how it ends -- the last line in the episode gave me chills when I first read it -- I think people are going to love it. People are going to feel like they went on an amazing journey and all we've done is open a new door to a new journey. The threat level is high. It's suspenseful, thrilling and exciting."
The Walking Dead season finale airs Sunday at 9 p.m. on AMC. Stay tuned to THR's The Live Feed for full coverage.