Frank Darabont and ‘The Walking Dead’, A Shameful Situation

TV The Walking Dead
TV The Walking Dead

Now that we’re all speculating who Negan “Luclilled”, let’s take a step back. Since The Walking Dead hit the small screen, it remains popular in the coveted 18-49 year old bracket. How is it that our beloved Rick Grimes and his ragtag crew of survivors became available for us to view in the first place? Enter Frank Darabont. He has an impressive resume, how could AMC not listen to the man when he approached them? After nearly every network passed including HBO, AMC finally decided to give it a chance.


The Walking Dead is based Robert Kirkman’s, graphic novels, which go by the same name. The Walking Dead is his brainchild, not Frank Darabont’s. The Pilot, “Days Gone By”, is a magical episode. It drew me in. I am not a zombie gal, but every moment of the episode was captivating. The ending with Glen’s voice over the radio and the pull back of walkers all over the tank with the song “Space Junk” playing just hit home, and even Kirkman agrees that this episode was full-bodied. Darabont wrote and directed the episode. His authoring skills were in two other episodes of Season 1, including the finale.


Kirkman and Darabont didn’t see eye to eye regarding the storyline. For the Season 2 opener Darabont wanted to provide the backstory of the fall of Atlanta. It’s a cool idea. However, it is Kirkman’s baby. It seems their collaborative visions did mesh. I read individuals referencing how the walkers use to act differently—the little girl picking up the stuffed animal, Jenny turning the knob, and the walker that picked up a rock. These are the behaviors of Darabont’s walkers and are not reflective of Kirkman’s. The disjointed walker behavior consistently is problematic for fans. Typically, they aren’t aware of the Darabont situation.

In 2011 Darabont was fired and subsequently he and his CAA agents filed a lawsuit in 2013 suing AMC for breach of contract stating Darabont lost tens of millions of dollars. In 2016, Darabont’s deposition was unsealed and revealed that the suit outlined budget cuts per episode while taking a tax credit for filming in Georgia and other reasons. It is reported he provided showrunner service during the second season he is questioning the reduction of his profit share. The wrongful termination aspect of the suit has been dropped and the focus now is claiming 100 percent development and executive producer/showrunner profits vested shares and includes claims to profits for Fear the Walking Dead as a derivative production even though it has always been referenced as a companion series.


Darabont was not born with a silver spoon and worked his way up the ranks. He has an impressive body and is reported to be worth $15 million. That is more money than I will see in a lifetime and the same holds true for most of us that watch the show. It’s easy to understand why one would be bitter, and it’s a shame this matter ever became a public concern but this matter has only been cancerous on both sides of the equation and one way or another needs to resolve itself before it gets any worse.

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