With Season 2 of The Walking Dead behind us, it's time to look toward the next season, and comic book creator/TV show writer and executive producer Robert Kirkman is already talking about it. I should insert an obligatory "don't read this until you've finished the season" warning here, so consider yourself warned.
For those that have watched the season finale, TV Line spoke to Kirkman and asked him first about the cast members lost during the zombie herd's visit to Hershel's farm. In what is an excellent interview, Kirkman starts off by essentially saying that any character could die at any moment.
We never treat a character as expendable, nor do we treat a character’s death as being something that is of varying importance. This was very much about these characters who had lived on this farm pretty much all of their lives. Hershel was very connected to the farm, and losing the farm and losing these people at the same time is going to mean a lot for him — as well as Maggie and Beth — in Season 3. It’s unfortunate to lose Jimmy and Patricia, but every character death is going to have ramifications for all of the other characters that continue on and each one of them is important in their own right.
One of the things that’s always been important to me with the Walking Dead comic book series is that you always be willing to get rid of every character at any moment if it serves the story. I’ve always tried not to grow any kind of attachment to any character. And also, there have been times where I’ve had big arcs plotted out for [someone] but at the moment it seemed like the right thing to do to completely get rid of the character. And now that we’re getting further and further into the show, and we’re able to tell the stories [with] high stakes, pretty much everything is on the table when we sit there in the writers room. There’s some pretty terrifying, crazy things discussed. And every character, at some point, we’ve talked about, “Now? Later? When are we going to do this?” It’s a dangerous show.
On Rick's ending speech to the survivors in the finale:
This world definitely takes a toll on you. Rick just murdered his best friend, his wife appears to be disgusted with him and, instead of going, “I’m really upset; let me figure out how I deal with it,” he turns around and he’s got nine people going, “We’re scared — what do we do?” He’s forced into this leadership role and, at the end of the episode, we see that he is taking this on and it is affecting him. And he’s growing darker. And he is saying, “Hey, you want me to be the leader? That’s fine. I’m going to be the leader. You don’t like it? Fend for yourself. Let’s see how you do.” He’s growing harsher in this world. And the series is always going to be about whether or not he can retain his humanity, or whether or not he is going to become some kind of hardened monster that really exists only to provide survival for him and his family.
On Michonne's mysterious introduction:
It wasn’t really planned early on to have Michonne show up at the end of the season. I have to give credit to [executive producer] Glen Mazzara. He came into the writers room one day and was like, “We’ve got to add this scene. It’ll have so much punch. We have to build to this. It’ll be great. Let’s go ahead and introduce her now.” The original plan was to hold her for Season 3 and introduce her then. And because it is such a short scene, we didn’t cast an actress; we used a stand-in.
She will be very similar to her comic-book counterpart. Most of the characters as they’ve been translated into TV are pretty much exactly the same character. Andrea is Andrea, Rick is Rick and Michonne is going to be Michonne. Now, the stories that we’re going to tell with her are going to be somewhat different at times. The show has always followed the comic book to a large extent, it just has different divergences from time-to-time and we’re definitely going to continue that in the third season. But the fans have expectations for Michonne, and I can say with full knowledge that their expectations are going to be met. They need not worry.
On ending the finale by seeing the prison in the distance:
What I really like about the transition from Season 2 to Season 3 as opposed to Season 1 to Season 2 transition is that when we were moving into Season 2 there were so many unknowns. All of the questions were, “Are we going to see the farm? Are they going to follow the comic?” And now that we’re moving into Season 3, we’ve seen Michonne. We’ve seen the prison. We know that that the Governor has been cast. So the fans really have a clear indication of what kind of things to expect in the third season and where we’re going and some of the stories that we may be telling if they’re familiar with the comic book series. Our third season is definitely going to be our best season yet. I’m really excited to get into it. It’s actually hard for me to do interviews about Season 2 because I’m like, “Oh my God, Season 3 blows this stuff out of the water. You just wait.” We’ve been working on Season 3 for a few months now. We’re wrapping up the first half and we’ve got everything nailed down. I can’t wait for people to see it.
Season 3 will have 16 episodes to Season 2's 13. Kirkman says Season 3 will again be split in half much like the second. "There are a lot of surprises around the corner," Kirkman added. We hope so.
Again, great interview. To read the entire thing, head here.