For the next part in my series of interview features with the cast and crew of The Walking Dead Season 3, I have my talk with showrunner Glen Mazzara, executive producer Gale Anne Hurd, and Norman Reedus. If you're a fan of the comic book series, and have seen the Season 3 trailer, you know that a lot of ground is covered. I was surprised to learn that all of the footage is only from the first three episodes.
Continue reading to learn more about the pace of season 3, the premiere episode, Merle's return, and building the prison like a haunted house:
I had a chance to check out the Season 3 trailer before running over here and it's fantastic. I can't believe how much of the series you were able to cover only 6 episodes in.
Gale Anne Hurd: ...and that footage was only from the first three episodes.
I know that Glen mentioned that the new season would feel like a freight train, but the pace really feels really quick... in a good way. We see the helicopter, prison, and The Governor meets Rick at the prison only three episodes in. Will the rest of the season keep up that kind of pace in terms of advancing the story from the comic book series?
Glen Mazzara: I think so. We've hit our stride, and we're running and gunning this season. I think that's what works for us and it's about taking action in this world. The characters have come to know each other, so it's not about debating what this apocalypse means at this point. It's about what they are going to do about it. That makes our characters very, very active. They make choices and not all of their choices work out.
You've been given extra episodes to work with this season. Will most of it be focused on Rick and the group, or will there be an even split to flesh out the town of Woodbury?
Glen Mazzara: There is absolutely no pattern to it. I think people are going to be very surprised by when we are in Woodbury, or in the prison. I really hope to keep the audience guessing. I want them to sit down and have no idea what is coming that episode. It could be anything, so it will be as surprising as possible.
Norman Reedus: They're doing a great job of blending things into the next episodes. It's really great stuff.
Is it different planning out this season, when there is a specific human antagonist you are writing into the story?
Glen Mazzara: It's fun. David has been doing a great job of bringing The Governor to life. It gives us a great antagonist for Rick and his group. The group has been at each other's throats for so long and it is great to see them come together against a common enemy. It's very messy and people have different opinions. It really brings our core group together. They are very, very tight.
Norman Reedus: Absolutely. We've been doing some of that all along, but to have this one person that is such a force to be reckoned with even brings us tighter together.
Gale Anne Hurd: He's a lot more complex than just the villain. That's what David and the writers bring to the character. You don't meet him and say that he's clearly the villain. He is a fantastic leader and great leaders tend to have dark sides. His is a bit darker than most, but that is what makes it fascinating.
How does the return of Merle affect Daryl and his actions?
Norman Reedus: He wants to see his big brother, but he's going to come back pissed. He's going to cause some trouble in this nice little world that I'm in. I'm sure he's going to want revenge, but he's still my kin. He's the last one left that I know of. He's definitely going to make an impact on me because he's a larger than life character.
Greg Nicotero and Andrew Lincoln were teasing the Season 3 premiere episode. What can you tell us about it?
Glen Mazzara: One, we hit the ground running, and two, it's going to be surprising. People are going to have to catch up and figure out what it actually all means. Hopefully, that's mysterious and enough of a tease, but the audience will realize that we are back in a big way.
You've mentioned that you wanted the prison to be scarier than it was in the comics and obviously it is a main part of the new season. What can you tell us about the prison and how it adds to the feel of this being a horror show?
Glen Mazzara: That prison is like a haunted house. There are challenges in that prison that doesn't make it as safe as everyone thinks. The prison is something that our group has to take and there is sacrifice involved in that.
We wanted to build something that is as gritty and realistic as possible. This is not a polished prison. It is scary and feels freakishly real. There is one part of the prison that I can't mention, but it's my favorite set that I've ever been on and I can't wait for you all to see it.
We're not done yet with our exclusive coverage of The Walking Dead Season 3 from Comic-Con, so keep an eye out for more interviews and exclusive features. Next up are interviews with Robert Kirkman and Lauren Cohan. If you missed out on any of our earlier coverage of The Walking Dead, here are links to our recent stories: