The Walking Dead has accumulated a large and passionate fanbas, but it definitely has not been immune to criticism from the folks who usually love the show. Some factions have been so upset with plot twists that they break out the petitions to reverse the decisions, ranging from Beth's tragic death to Andrew Lincoln's upcoming departure. Former showrunner Scott Gimple has been on the receiving end of a lot of criticism during his time in the top job, with some fans even campaigning for him to get fired after that heartbreaking Carl twist in Season 8. According to Gimple, however, the criticism doesn't bother him:
This is a show that has lived in the world of Twitter. It's something you check in on and it's interesting, but there can be so much praise and criticism for the same things. ... Anybody's opinion is valid, as long as they watch the show.
No popular TV show exists in a vacuum anymore thanks to social media, and The Walking Dead as well as its fans are active on Twitter. Judging by his previous comments to USA Today, Scott Gimple is well aware of what fans have had to say about the show's direction over the years. While he and the show do get praise, they also get a lot of criticism, and online criticism is often more impassioned than online praise. As somebody who had fans petitioning for him to get fired after killing off Carl in a massive departure from the comics, Gimple could have been bitter about the criticism. Instead, he's cool with it as long as they watch and their opinions are informed.
Scott Gimple didn't get sacked by AMC due to the fan reactions in Season 8; in fact, he got a big promotion. When news broke that The Walking Dead had been renewed for a ninth season, it was announced that Gimple would take over the role of chief content officer of the entire Walking Dead franchise, which means he'll have a hand in Fear the Walking Dead as well as The Walking Dead, marketing, video games, merchandise, and more. Replacing him as showrunner is Angela Kang, who has been a part of the show as a writer and executive producer since way back in 2011.
Given the looming time jump, the major shift in Negan's position, the potential introduction of the Whisperers, and the switch in main character moving forward, Angela Kang may have a more or less blank canvas for the zombie apocalypse in Season 9 and beyond. We'll have to wait and see. The Walking Dead has switched showrunners a number of times already over the years, and not all of the transitions have been clean. Still, maybe the fans who were upset with Scott Gimple in Season 8 will enjoy any changes that come with Kang in charge. Even if the criticism didn't bother Gimple, perhaps he'll enjoy not being the target of it as much.
Only time will tell. The Walking Dead won't return until the fall, although Fear the Walking Dead will return in August. You can find its midseason premiere date along with plenty of other important dates on our summer TV premiere guide. Be sure to check back with CinemaBlend for the latest in zombie apocalypse news. Don't forget to check out our picks for most awesome theories about Rick's final episodes.