Season 3 of The Walking Dead is only days away from premiering on AMC Sunday the 14th. I recently sat down with Executive Producer/Showrunner Glen Mazzara to discuss what fans can expect from one of the best shows on television.
VB: First of all, congratulations on your Emmy win and nominations this year!
GM: Yeah! Greg [Nicotero]'s incredibly talented, and he's actually won that Emmy three years in a row- he's won it twice for us and I think once for The Pacific, so they're really well deserved, he's an incredibly talented guy.
I know you hate to give away spoilers, so without divulging too much, what can fans expect from Season 3?
Season 3 is going to be incredibly intense -- I think the audience is really going to have to keep up. We're just kind of hitting the ground running and we really open up the scope. We're introducing new characters, new worlds, and it's going to be very, very different than what The Walking Dead experience has been. I really think it feels really charged and alive and dynamic and surprising and fans of the show and fans of the comic are all going to be, hopefully, on the edge of their seats week after week.
One story aspect that contributed in large part to the intensity of Season 2 was the idea of no one being safe in this world. Are we going to have to deal with losing more of our core group this season?
Oh... let me think about how to answer this one... As I've said before, we take those deaths very, very seriously and I think that -- I promise -- that there will be very emotionally hard-hitting deaths for the audience throughout the life of the show. So I can't say -- I don't want to tip anything -- but, I have to stick by it, no one is safe. No one is safe.
When we left Rick and Lori, she was struggling with her feelings of culpability for Shane's death -- she asked Rick to handle the situation, not thinking that handling it would mean someone had to die. Will Lori look at her family dynamic differently this season?
Well I think that Lori certainly feels like she's the "odd man out" -- she feels responsible for this tragedy and I think that she feels like she's a burden on the group as she's still pregnant and she is someone who they will have to care for and she's slowing down the group - you know, she can only move so fast, run from zombies so quickly. I think that she feels like she's, in a sense, put them in these tragic circumstances and is now continuing to complicate things. So Rick is very, very focused on his group, on his role as leader, so there has not been a lot of healing within that marriage and their marital problems are in a sense tearing the group apart.
Delving a little more into Lori's pregnancy -- is there a conflict there? Her pregnancy is an inconvenience, but at the same time is it necessary just to keep the human race going? Eventually they are going to have to start having children if they want to survive.
Yeah, but I think if this group wants to repopulate, they'd want to do it from a safe location. And that's part of the motive for finding and taking the prison. That baby cannot be out on the roads or in the woods crying and summoning Walkers. So that's why they need to find a safe place. But I think at the time when we meet our group they're not safe and the baby plays as a burden.
Another plot point last season was the developing romance between Glenn and Maggie. During Season 2 Glenn vacillated between protecting himself and Maggie, and his own loyalties to his group. Do you think that he's going to start stepping up more as a fighter now that he's got a real relationship to fight for?
Oh, without a doubt. Let's not forget, these people have to come together to survive and nobody wants to be the weak link. So it really is a well orchestrated fighting group and Glenn is a valuable part of that. So there isn't any time for the philosophizing that we had in the last season. There isn't time for the hand wringing - people are constantly at death's door. And they're constantly fighting for themselves and fighting for each other. So the stakes are that much greater than they've ever been. People cannot be wishy-washy.
Looking at the pictures of Chandler Riggs as Carl in Season 3, we've obviously got a much harder Carl -- looking at the promos it's like he's changed completely, even down to the weariness behind his eyes -- how has he transformed?
Well, first of all I want to say that Chandler Riggs does a fantastic job playing Carl. He is just as talented and committed and really going toe to toe with our adult actors. I mean, some of the stuff that this young man does throughout the season is really, really impressive - I mean, really great stuff. And he's committed -- you know? He realizes that he's not going to be the weak link. He's a survivor, and what may have been precocious behavior in the past is really the fact that he's very much cut from the same heroic mold his father is.
Okay, last thing I'm going to ask you: what is Halloween like at the Mazzara house?
[He laughs] What is Halloween like at my house?? Well my kids are actually very excited, you know the Walking Dead premiere party is this week, and we're going over to Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios, so that is a big thing for Halloween. Of course we do end up going trick-or-treating in Santa Monica and walking along, and they get loaded up with candy and I steal all the Reese's peanut butter cups. That's my thing.
Photos: Gene Page / AMC