"The Walking Dead" will have new life in Season 3. Viewers have showrunner Glen Mazzara and new characters Michonne (Danai Gurira) and the Governor (David Morrissey) to thank for that.
"I wanted to broaden the scope," Mazzara said of Season 3 of "The Walking Dead." "I wanted to get these people out there. I wanted them to feel their back was against the wall, but I wanted them to be stumbling through a desolate world where a prison seems like a reasonable place to hide. We're going to introduce the Governor, we've introduced Michonne. I just wanted a bigger scope. I just wanted to feel that the whole world had gone to hell and our characters were trapped in it."
Mazzara told The Huffington Post he wanted to focus more on the family dynamics of the group of zombie apocalypse survivors. "I wanted to continue to pose interesting moral dilemmas to the audience -- to the characters and our audience -- and I really wanted to make it more intense. I wanted to the show to be unpredictable, I wanted the show to be thrilling, I wanted the show to be surprising and to stay very far ahead of the audience so that they have no idea what's coming next."
Season 3 of "The Walking Dead" will find Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and co. setting up life in a prison. In the "Walking Dead" comics by Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard, the prison storyline is filled with intense brutality: rape, torture, amputations, sexual predators and of course zombies. Will Season 3 travel down that dark path? Read on to find out.
"She's a very interesting character to write. Danai Gurira has really done a great job. She's brought this character to life and she's just so much fun to write. I don't want to just say she's a badass, that's so common. But let me just say she's a warrior, she's a solider, she doesn't take crap from anybody and she sees right into the heart of people. It's hard to pull one over on her. She plays a very, very important role this season. I just think people will be excited to follow her journey because she really, in some ways, becomes one of the hearts of the show. She becomes a very, very essential figure."
On the dark material associated with "The Walking Dead" and the comic book's prison story arc:
"First of all, let me say this: We're not going to shy away from any dark material, but I will say that fans will be surprised at the dark material that we do show. What we actually take from the comic book and what original dark material we have coming up, will really surprise the audience. We're also in no rush to burn through that prison fight in a couple of episodes. This is something that we've been working toward and I'm not eager to just kind of burn things through. By the time the entire prison arc is done, I think people will be really satisfied in the way that we told that story."
On writing the women of "The Walking Dead":
"Here was a goal of mine this year: to really portray the women in a more realistic light that is very affective, as more well-rounded. I think that we really spent a lot of time in really developing Andrea's character, Michonne's character, I think Lori has grown a lot after life on the road. One of the things that we did do by design in the first two seasons, when there's a trauma of this sort where civilization collapses, people would try and go to what was familiar. They would cling to these old roles. Those old roles don't make sense anymore. Now that people are out on the road a little bit longer -- this is months after the outbreak -- it's survival of the fittest. Everybody has to contribute to the group, not just in a stereotypical way regarding gender roles, but everybody has to be able to do everything for everyone else. We really put a lot of effort into making sure our female characters did not play as victims or any weaker stereotypes. That was very, very important to us."
On his favorite zombie:
"I really love well zombie. He's just so gross and unique and that was something I had never seen in a zombie film before. We're really excited whenever we can kind of push the zombie lore a little bit. The well zombie from last year was one of my favorites and I thought that Greg Nicotero and his team did an outstanding job."
In the comic books, Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies on AMC's version) and her baby die at the end of the prison storyline. Will it be the same in the TV series?
"We talk about everyone's demise to the chagrin of all of the actors. All I can promise is there will be major character deaths throughout Season 3, but I can't possibly say who or where, but I guarantee all of them will be surprising."
"The Walking Dead" premieres Sunday, October 14 at 9 p.m. ET on AMC.