Break out your zombie combat gear. “The Walking Dead” is returning for its third season in less than two weeks, and showrunner Glenn Mazzara is guaranteeing it will be “intense.”
Fans of the series have been hungrily scooping up spoilers all summer as they patiently waited to find out what Rick’s group of survivors will face next in the zombie ridden world. Now, Mazzara is teasing a couple more spoilers for the highly anticipated third season.
“We’re expanding the scope,” Mazzara revealed to the Hollywood Reporter. “We’ve added a lot of characters, new sets, new storylines, and it feels like a much bigger show.” The showrunner isn’t exaggerating. Initially a six episode series its first season, the show grew to 13 episodes with season two, and season three is slated to have a whopping 16 episodes.
While the first half of season two was criticized for being too slow as the group hunted for missing Sofia and sought after medial supplies for a wounded Carl, the second half picked up, eventually leading to an intense season finale. Losing main characters Shane and Dale, the rest of the survivors also lost their safe haven, Hershel’s farm, to a herd of walkers.
As Mazzara explained to the Hollywood Reporter, it’s hard to turn back after last season.
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In season three, “The Walking Dead” will be replacing lost characters with new ones, one who made an appearance in the season two finale, and another who hasn’t been seen since season one. The two familiar faces joining season three are Michonne, a machete-wielding woman who rescued Andrea in the season two finale, and Merle, the red-neck brother of Daryl who was left handcuffed to a roof in season one.
Other newcomers include comic-villain the Governor and his “details guy,” Milton. Fans of the “Walking Dead” graphic novels will remember the Governor as the leader of Woodbury, a town that has remained walker-free. Milton, however, is a brand new original character. According to Entertainment Weekly, Milton works with the Governor as a sort of scientist. As executive producer Robert Kirkman explains, Milton’s “not exactly a scientist,” but he is a smart guy that will be conducting “experiments.”
Last season the group of survivors mainly stayed at Hershel’s farm. This season they will be traveling to the prison and Woodbury, but as the season three tagline suggests, the settings will force the group to “Fight the Dead, Fear the Living.”
Within the prison Rick and the gang will fight off walkers to gain a new safe haven, while Woodbury will cause some “living” challenges...one of them being Merle. According to Mazzara, Merle is not going to “forgive or forget” the fact that he was forced to cut off his hand in season one. “He has a grudge to bear,” explained the showrunner. But while he holds a grudge against the group, he has different feelings towards his little brother Daryl. Daryl has become a valued member of Rick’s group, and as Mazzara explains, he’s going to have a sense of loyalty to his new family, not to threatening Merle.
Season three will find the group of survivors dealing with a couple of new issues. For one, Andrea is completely separated from the group. Rescued by Michonne and eventually kidnapped and taken to Woodbury, Andrea is going to have some hard feelings for the group when they eventually meet up again. While the believe she is dead, Andrea will feel “a sense of betrayal” because Rick’s group didn’t go looking for her. Another issue for Andrea? She doesn’t know that Shane is dead yet.
Lori will also be struggling with Shane’s death, believing that she is to blame for his demise. It’s something that Mazzara said her character is going to explore this season. “She’s really wrestling with her own demons,” said Mazzara. As for her pregnancy, the showrunner explained that its a weight being carried by the whole group.
Meanwhile one of the main storylines will be the Ricktatorship and his upcoming clash with the Governor. Although trying to be a good leader to the group, Rick and the others will come off as a threat to the Governor. And according to Mazzara, it makes sense! “Our core group is really like the plague,” explained Mazzara, referring to the destruction they caused on Hershel’s farm.
Season three of “The Walking Dead” premieres on AMC on Sunday, Oct. 14 at 9 p.m.