Shortly after the season finale of The Walking Dead came to a close (and set another new ratings record with nine million viewers), EW.com conducted a phone interview with showrunner Glen Mazzara about the aftermath of season 2 and where the show is headed for season 3. Here's a few of the more interesting bits:
On Rick being in a darker place now, and the responsibility of leading getting to him -
"I think he feels that he has sacrificed for this group, and that sacrifice hasn’t really been appreciated. His confession to Lori did not get the reaction that he had hoped. He thought she would be supportive. Instead, she reacts in a particular way that he feels is hatred and disgust. I think that’s really affecting him. Let’s not forget: This is taking place hours after he murdered his best friend. So he is still reeling. He’s trying to keep that a secret. He opens his heart to his wife, and it doesn’t go well. So I think that he’s just done with these people. I think he doesn’t want to be the leader. As he says: If they don’t like it, they’re free to leave. I will also say, it’s interesting that he’s in that place going into season 3. Because there will be antagonists for him to face in season 3."
On the casting of David Morrisey as The Governor and what his role in the story will be -
"In the comic, the Governor is a villain. Our Governor is also, clearly, a villain. He may not be as readily apparent as what’s in the comic book. We will certainly put our spin on that. But we have a dynamic, compelling character that we’re excited to bring into season 3. We expect to tell a story about two different groups of people: Rick’s band of survivors, and the Governor’s world of Woodbury."
On how he views Rick as the protagonist and leader -
"Let’s not forget: Rick almost lost his life, and was in a coma. He wakes up to this world in which everything he knows has been pretty much stripped away. Even the fidelity in his marriage. I think that he’s been trying to piece it together, and trying to figure it out. I think now he feels like he has an answer. But as we’ve seen, every time Rick has an answer, it turns out to be the wrong one. So we look forward to continuing to torture our lead throughout season 3."
On whether Michael Rooker will finally return in the flesh as Merle -
"I’ll say this: I believe that Merle is alive and kicking, and he’d be a great addition to the show. I don’t want to confirm it, but I would answer that question with a wink."
On if we will actually get to know T-Dogg more as character next year -
"There is a plan for T-Dog. Given all of the things that I had to focus on to develop the show in a way that I felt was best, I will say that T-Dog got short shrift. We took care of business, and now we can delve into Michonne and the Governor and T-Dog and all these other characters. T-Dog fans will be happy. We’re no longer interested in having a character in the background only saying one line per episode. We’re done with that. But again, we only had so much real estate, and it was very important for me to tell Rick’s story."
On the plans for season 3 in general -
"I think the key for season 3 is to open it up. To continue to find new ways to terrorize the audience, to frighten our fans. I think by the end of this season, people were saying, “How much more can I take?” We want to continue that. We want to make sure that you’re really immersed in the world of The Walking Dead, and you never know what’s going to hit you."
P.S. I for one can't wait until the fall. I suppose I'll have to subsist on delicious brains until then. The wait is going to be agony.