Why 'The Walking Dead' decided to use black and white scenes in the season 6 premiere

Warning: There are spoilers if you haven’t watched the season six premiere of “The Walking Dead.”
Season six of “The Walking Dead” kicked off Sunday night with a huge episode.

Not only were fans greeted to the biggest zombie horde we’ve seen yet on the show, but the episode also played out in black and white as well as colour as the episode flashed between the past and present on screen.

Tech Insider caught up with series executive producer Greg Nicotero, who directed the season six premiere, to learn more about the artistic choice for the episode, and it turns out black and white wasn’t always what they had in mind.

“We took sort of a rather bold move because we wanted to play with our non-linear timeline,” said Nicotero. “We wanted to sort of make sure it wasn’t confusing for the audience, so we had initially explored the idea of doing a desaturated flashback versus an oversaturated present-day.”

That didn’t exactly work, though.

“The present-day oversaturated makes the trees look very green and the zombies look very beautiful and ‘Wizard of Oz,'” he explains. “It’s so pretty, and you’re like, ‘Wow, that’s sort of weird.’ Adding colour to zombies is not something that you immediately gravitate to. So we went with the idea of just taking all the colour out instead of just desaturating the flashback … just so you could easily follow the timeline.”

The walking dead season 6 zombiesGene Page/AMCZombies are even more decomposed during season six of ‘The Walking Dead.’

The black and white sequences also helped add another level of intrigue and mystery to the season six opener.

“The episode’s a puzzle and what we’re doing is we’re giving you the final piece of the puzzle at the beginning and we love the idea that as the episode progresses, the audience is putting the pieces together, so by the time we get to the end of the episode, it’s like, ‘Ohhhhh, now I get what we’re looking at and now I see how this is all working,” Nicotero continued.

Nicotero says they were never really interested in doing the season six opener in a linear progression.

I think the discussion had come up once or twice about recutting it, but I felt that it would have taken away a lot of impact of the story to just tell it in a linear fashion,” he explains. “I know both [showrunner] Scott [Gimple] and I were very sold on just keeping the story structure and just finding a way to tell it visually that was appealing to the audience, and still got us through the story clearly.”

“It really is a bold filmmaking storytelling style, but something that we all feel the show warrants after six years,” Nicotero added. “We didn’t want to do something that we had done before so we took a big swing and it was very exciting to be able to do that.”

This isn’t the first time “The Walking Dead” has played with time in its episodes, and it won’t be the last.

At San Diego Comic-Con, showrunner Scott Gimple revealed we’ll see more flashbacks in the first half of the season. Gimple also mentioned there’s an entire episode in the works that will be a flashback.

Maybe we’ll see more black and white sequences worked into the season.

Let us know what you thought of the season six premiere below.

NOW WATCH: Watch the entire cast of ‘The Walking Dead’ show up to the season 6 premiere

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