If like us you’re still reeling over the amazing season finale of “The Walking Dead”, then you’ll want to see what showrunner Glen Mazzara has to say about the finale, potential new characters and what fans can expect in Season 3, which kicks off next October. (Oh, the pain!)
Check out the highlights from a recent conference call Dread Central was invited to take part in with Mazzara and a handful of other journalist, and make sure to check back here for all your “Walking Dead”-related news needs over the coming months!
Question: So what can we expect from the characters in Season 3 of “The Walking Dead?”
Glen Mazzara: Michonne is one of the lead characters in the graphic novel so we’re excited to finally introduce her. She is a loner, she’s a kick ass character and she’s very dynamic so we really see her as a very, very important addition to the cast. She’s a significant character and she’ll be carrying a lot of story so we’re excited about her.
We’re also excited about (Danai Gurira) who is the young actress who is going to play this role, so we’re lucky to have her and look forward to seeing what she does with it.
Question: Are there plans to get T-Dog having some momentum in the story for Season 3? Lots of people are wondering because they feel like he’s been left out for Season 2.
Glen Mazzara: You know what? The T-Dog question, I’m glad you’re asking that. I’ve been surprised at this because I’ve worked on shows before that have had characters in the background and have been on a slow burn. If you look at Dave Rees Snell’s character Ronnie from the Shield, that was a character that we brought along throughout that series and he had a very significant role at the end.
With T-Dog, I’ll admit, T-Dog has been off to the side and has been forgotten and part of my goal as showrunner was to really address developing Rick’s character and some other stuff. So poor T-Dog was left by the side and that’s something that now that he has survived the finale we’re going to correct. I think (IronE Singleton) has done a fantastic job of establishing a character and making people interested in him with just very, very little to say.
But you know, that’s the strength of the show. I think moving forward hopefully we’ll make it a strength and that’s a character we’re looking to develop in a significant way. So that’s a fair question and you know, we haven’t done our work yet with T-Dog but we’re going to roll up our sleeves and get to it.
Question: Are there any plans to make Lori’s character less irritating? I think it’s a complaint coming from a lot of fans that she always manages to stir all these things up between people.
Glen Mazzara: I think Lori is a compelling and interesting character. I think she is realistic in a lot of ways and she’s certainly a character that people are talking about so I don’t find her irritating.
But I think it’s interesting that people are so focused on her and, you know, I think the work ahead of that is to see where in Season 3 we have to look at the Rick and Lori relationship a little more closely. She’s the one who put Rick and Shane in motion to try to kill each other and so that’s an interesting place for us to start and we’ll certainly examine that character. I just don’t know if we really need to start creating false speeds to make her more likeable. That’s not part of the plan for us.
Question: There has been a lot to chew on over the last couple weeks with the announcement of David Morrissey as the governor and the fact that we will be going to the prison and seeing Michonne and everything. Do you see the prison storyline as something being wrapped up within the entirety of the 16 episodes of Season 3 or could that go on beyond?
Glen Mazzara: That’s a great question. Right now I do see that prison as a significant storyline for Season 3 and into Season 4. I do think that’s a major storyline. But as you know, we were on the farm for longer than perhaps people wanted even though there were reasons for that.
But I think what we want to do is make sure that that prison does not become claustrophobic. I think the farm played a little claustrophobic for people. The farm — now that the entire landscape has fallen to the zombie apocalypse and zombies are literally at the gate of the prison — if you see the graphic novel, that prison is really a very, very small safe corner and there’s a lot of danger around. So it won’t feel like we are bottled up in the same way that we were on the farm in Season 2.
So I do think that prison is a significant storyline but we’re interested also in opening up the world too. There are other factors out there in the world, other groups so I think that Rick’s group is really stumbling into a much larger world.
Question: So now that we know that those characters are coming next season, I was wondering if there are other popular characters or storylines you’d like to tackle at some point on “The Walking Dead?”
Glen Mazzara: Oh certainly. I mean, there’s a lot of great material from the comic book and I think this show would have to go on 20 years to get to all of it. But I do think the Tyrese character is someone that we’re interested in introducing at some point.
And we still have Morgan and Duane are out there from the pilot. We’re interested in them, too, so there are new characters that will be original to the series not coming straight form the comic book. I see Season 3 as resetting the show in terms of what I really hope it can be.
Question: So where are you now exactly in the process of developing Season 3? Have you had any table reads yet- anything like that?
Glen Mazzara: No, not yet. We have submitted outlines for Episodes 1 through 6 to AMC and they’re very excited about the material. We have everything pitched out through Episode 8 so we’re currently working on those outlines. Then all eight scripts will be written simultaneously. This was a process that (Frank) Darabont took from George Lucas on “Young Indiana Jones” where we talk about all the episodes and then all the writers go off and write simultaneously instead of writing sequentially on other shows. Then, we’ll start shooting in May.
Question: So, in Season 3 can fans expect to see the zombies take a back seat to a potential human threat as the episodes progress?
Glen Mazzara: No, that would not be fair. Zombies will never take a back seat, okay. We will always have the human drama and we would like to introduce a significant human threat. We love writing the zombie material and I think those zombies are now fully integrated into the world. We’re not waiting for the zombies anymore to reach us. They are there; they are within our eyesight all the time and part of the landscape. So we expect there to still be a balance of zombie and human threat but the zombies will never take a back seat on this show.
Question: I wanted to know if the introduction of Michonne is going to signal potentially a little bit more of a fantastical graphic novel feel of these stories, especially how she entered into the series dramatically cloaked in darkness.
Glen Mazzara: You know what? That’s a great question. That’s a great question and let’s be honest- the reason that the character is cloaked at the end was because we had not cast the actress yet so that was a cheat there. But it’s interesting because we were thinking about that character during the casting process and we were just wondering how theatrical IS Michonne? That’s quite a theatrical entrance and that was something that we didn’t realize at the time.
But then yesterday we were in the writer’s room talking about her and her back story and a lot of the writers had very heightened pitches and my own sensibility is to keep the show grounded, to keep it gritty. That’s where I’m comfortable as a writer and as a storyteller.
So I do think that that’s an interesting character and that she feels like she stepped off those pages right into the show. I think that’s exciting. That’s a challenge for us but I think we know how to keep it real and keep it grounded because if it doesn’t feel real, I think the audience will not be able to put themselves in the immediate circumstances of the story.
Question: Speaking of big characters, is there any chance we’re going to be seeing Merle (Michael Rooker) again soon?
Glen Mazzara: Merle is still out there and, yes, I’m excited to figure out what to do with him. So I would say he’s on the horizon.
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