The cast and producers of AMC’s The Walking Dead took part in a panel at the TV Academy this past Friday, where they looked back on the season that was, and dropped some teasing clues on where the story is heading in the expanded third season.
The following contains Season 2 plot chatter and mild spoilers for Season 3 — continue at own discretion!
While last season’s finale threatened to spell the end for Hershel’s Walking Dead arc, the able-farmer survived to live another day. The producers reiterated that they decided not to kill off Hershel as they had originally planned as it didn’t contribute to the progression of the story. “We were just stepping over a body; it felt too violent, too gratuitous,” EP Glen Mazzara explained.
Dale’s death, on the other hand, was much more necessary for the ongoing story, noted Mazzara:
“[We] really needed a zombie death. Dale was the only worthy sacrifice; people would see Shane’s death coming but no one would see Dale’s death coming.”
Indeed, it was a shocker — and his demise promises to be keenly felt in the third season of the zombie serial, mostly by Glenn and Andrea.
Commenting on the future of fan-favorite Lori *cough* and her relationship with partner Rick, Sarah Wayne Callies says the struggle to raise their son in the post-apocalyptic world remains embedded in the overarching story:
“There are days when Lori thinks the best thing I can do for this kid is find someone else to raise him and then there are days when she thinks I have to keep this guy [Rick] away from him, then there are days where I think I have to keep this guy [Shane] away from him. Every day it’s a sense of being unearthed and uprooted from yourself.”
With Rick winning his power struggle with best bud Shane, Andrew Lincoln questioned whether the evolving leader has a breaking point, but noted “his strength and resilience is extraordinary.”
As for T-Dog, the producers reaffirmed that the under-utilisation of the character is ‘all part of the plan’. Whether that’s the case or not, it seems Season 3 will represent a good opportunity for increased T-Dog-based action, fingers crossed.
Season 3 specifics were at a minimum, despite Mazzara having just finished the script for the premiere. He did, however, offer a sense of what to expect in the opener:
“It’s pretty dynamic and action-packed with tons of zombies but also a lot of quieter moments and a lot of heart. This is a group of survivors, a family that has come together and they have no good options, no place to go and they’re really trying to keep themselves alive, and keep each other alive. You can see how desperate they are; they’re clinging to each other. It’s those moment of human interaction and heart that are important.”
Meanwhile, Robert Kirkman claimed “The good stuff is coming”:
“For comic fans, they know the good stuff is coming, the really intense stuff with Michonne, the Governor and Woodbury [prison] really defined the comic book series and we haven’t even gotten to that stuff yet. So now that we’re getting to that stuff in Season 3, it’s really going to change the show quite a bit.”
Kirkman also noted that Dale’s death in the comic series could still make its way onto the AMC serial, albeit for another character. [Comic Spoiler] In the long-running Image series, Dale is bitten by a walker, abducted by cannibals and having his infected leg removed and consumed before being set free and dying at Andrea’s side. [/Comic Spoiler] Kirkman explains:
“There will be cases where something memorable like that will be displaced and given to somebody else. I’ll hint that that actually happens in our first episode back in Season 3 — there’s something memorable that happened to a character in the comic is happening in the show in our first episode back and it’s not the same character.”
The 16-episode season third season of The Walking Dead is slated for around October 2012.