The Walking Dead‘s much-anticipated third season won’t hit the airwaves until October 14th, but fans of AMC’s zombie series are eager to see how the show will develop from past seasons. The Walking Dead has a notorious track record for starting off strongly and then devolving as much as a walker in sight of its prey. At the end of season two, the series took a sharp shift with its narrative and characters, so the audience just wants to know what comes next.
Showrunner Glen Mazzara put to rest the direction of season three and emphasized the quick pace the series will take to get our characters from Hershel’s farm to the Woodbury prison. Mazzara and executive producer Gale Anne Hurd wanted the prison to be realistic and gritty, and hoped to convey what a prison might look like if no one had maintained it for a long period of time. Mazzara says:
We wanted to build something that was a gritty and realistic as possible. This is not a sleek, polished, cool prison. It’s scary, and it feels real… it very much fits the gritty aesthetic that fans have come to expect from our show.
That prison is sort of like a haunted house. There are challenges within that prison where it’s not as necessarily safe as everyone thinks — let’s just say that — and there’s sacrifice involved in that.
For now, Mazzara also speaks about the show’s surprise factor. The idea that no character is safe is one of the most important ideas to convey in the TV series and the comic book. The TV series has already killed off key members of the cast, but they did it in a way that didn’t feel forced or for shock value, but instead felt integral to the show’s themes and storylines. Still, as a cynical TV viewer, you might think certain characters are safe — like Rick — but Mazzara would say differently.
It’s something we take very seriously … People become very close to these characters, we care about the characters, and it becomes difficult when you call and actor and say, ‘I’m sorry but we’ve got to blow up your character.’ But we’ve got to do what’s right for the show, and people do expect the fact that no one’s safe.
There’s a version of this show that you watch and say, ‘Oh, they’re not going to kill that character — they wouldn’t do that.’ That happens a lot on TV. I don’t think that’s this show. I think we make bold choices and we take it very seriously.
But how are these elements going to translate for season three of The Walking Dead? Mazzara says that this season is going to be very different from past seasons, namely because at this point it is very established. We know these characters and we know their situation, so in season three we just need to see how it will all play out. Mazzara says that he believes the show has finally hit its stride and will hit the ground running with its season-three premiere:
…it’s about taking action in this world, and the characters have come to know each other, and so there’s not a lot of debating about what does this apocalypse mean anymore. It’s more ‘what are we going to do about it?’ That makes our characters very, very active, and they make choices and not all of those choices work out.
Season three of The Walking Dead begins on October 14th on AMC. Check out the trailer!