Are you ready for the battle between the Governor's crew and Rick's ragtag band of survivors? Your wait is almost over, as the AMC smash hit returns this Sunday with the second half of the third season. Eight episodes remain and things promise to be hectic, as the first part of this season ended with a lot of change in the air. THERE WILL BE SPOILERS WITHIN THIS ARTICLE FROM HERE ON.
Show runner Glen Mazzara, who will be leaving the show after this season, recently talked to The Hollywood Reporter about the what lies ahead for the program. Below are some highlights from that interview. To read the whole thing, click here. I don’t know about you guys, but I am totally psyched for the show to come back – are you?
THR: There was so much bloodshed in the first half of the season, how big of a body count among the regular players might we expect in the back half?
Mazzara: The show is a horror show and there are always going to be deaths and near misses and insane situations. That surprising story telling is going to continue in the back half of the season. Those character deaths are definitely part of the fabric of the show.
THR: Will the pace of the back-half of the season be as breakneck as it was during the first eight episodes of the season?
Mazzara: I think so. The pacing of the story telling is something we've worked out on the show and fans have responded to it. That's the way I feel comfortable telling stories, that's how The Walking Dead story needs to be told. That being said, we don't necessarily introduce as many new elements. Most of the characters have been introduced and the stage has been set for Rick (Andrew Lincoln), the Governor (David Morrissey), Michonne (Danai Gurira), Woodbury and the prison and now it's a matter of pushing into the character dynamics in surprising ways and seeing the pressure they're under and the choices they make. There's a lot of character drama to be had but I see the back-half of the season delving into the character motivations.
THR: We've seen in the promos that Hershel demands Rick step up to the "Ricktatorship" and Carl suggest his father not be the leader anymore. How will we see him struggle in the back half?
Mazzara: Rick is under incredible pressure and he's go tot try to keep his group together. That group has become a fantastic fighting force against walkers. Now the question is to survive, do they need to become a fighting force against the Governor and the people of Woodbury? Is that a fight worth taking on? Everyone has different motivations and answers to that question. If you think about it, Rick attacked Woodbury. Woodbury was, to the people there and before that to Andrea (Laurie Holden), a peace-loving town that Rick and his group shot up. They're clearly the bad guys in this fight to the people of Woodbury.
THR: Rick's descending into madness, hearing Lori's calls and seeing Shane. How will his demons plague his decision making?
Mazzara: It's more a question of can Rick keep it together at a point when this formidable foe in the Governor is coming for him? If he can't keep it together, it puts pressure on the rest of the group as far as who is going to step up. Glenn (Steven Yeun) has an agenda of personal vengeance. Hershel (Scott Wilson) wants to protect these people. Carl (Chandler Riggs) has already been through a horrible tragedy and is really fearless. There's a lot of descent within the group as to how to handle this and people respect and defer to Rick but everyone will come to realize he's not the same leader who got them through the winter.
THR: Michonne, Tyreese and company are all willing to join Rick -- will they need to prove themselves?
Mazzara: Rick has not done well by letting people into the group. With the exception of Axel, all those prisoners are now dead and he lost his wife. Rick is tired of these deaths being on his hands. Meanwhile, how can a small band take on the Governor and the army he's training? They need people on his side and Rick doesn't want anyone to join his group. It's going to make newcomers like Michonne and Tyreese (Chad Coleman) work harder to try and gain access.
THR: Merle betrayed the Governor, how will he and Daryl get out of Woodbury and where might they go since Rick's group isn't on Team Merle?
Mazzara: Merle (Michael Rooker) and Daryl (Norman Reedus), if you remember, are survivalists -- they can handle it out on their own. The question is does Daryl want to leave his new family behind? Does he want to fall back into that same pattern he had his whole life of being Merle's little brother and taking orders from him and letting him bully him? Also, if Daryl choses not to put up with that, how does that force Merle to change? If their dynamics aren't the same as they've always been, what kind of personal growth is Merle going to see? We're playing with everyone and pushing all the characters. This isn't just a show about horror and pacing. This is about these people trying to survive under extreme pressure. We are really having fun examining everyone. Every single character changes and develops in these episodes.