You know how world leaders have body doubles to give assassins a hard time? Well, The Walking Dead has employed a similar technique to avoid any plot details from leaking. This is a normal and proportional response to the problem of spoilers.
Obviously, all shows are always worried about spoilers. The bigger the show, the more they worry, so it’s no surprise Robert Kirkman told The Hollywood Reporter that, like Game of Thrones, no screeners of The Walking Dead’s season seven premiere were sent out to the press to prevent leaks. That’s pretty standard.
It’s the “extra security measures on distribution and the international dubbing and those things” TWD has added to keep things secret and safe on set that have gotten weird. “There have been a lot of tactics used in filming that have been used on films — monitoring actor movement and trying to do things in secret,” said Kirkman. “We’ve employed body doubles in places to make people think that people are in places that they’re not.”
“Monitoring actor movement” sounds very creepy and a lot like nothing anyone does on the Walking Dead set is unknown to security. And they’re using body doubles to foil the people who watch the sets, trying to figure out what actors are filming what scenes, and where. (You know HBO’s so mad that they didn’t think of this first. Or maybe Game of Thrones did do it first, and they’re smart enough not to brag about it. Because now set spies are going to be looking for those body doubles, mark my words.)
Kirkman went on to say that “it’s pretty exciting to try and hide certain things” and that they’re doing all this for the fans, because they’re “trying to maintain that secrecy so when people watch the show, they can have that same experience they have in the comic where you don’t know what’s going to happen and it comes as an exciting surprise as the story moves forward.”
But surprises aren’t what makes a show. They’re a nice element, but so is character development, world-building and watching a story move forward. If all you’re banking on is surprising the audience, that’s a different problem. And if it’s taking this much work to hide things, it might not be worth it.
Kirkman concluded his answer on spoilers by saying, “There is a lot of secrecy surrounding this season and when people watch the episodes, they will see why and hopefully appreciate it.” We hope so, too. Otherwise, they have been seriously wasting their time.