Naked zombies and other secrets from 'Walking Dead' season three at Comic-Con
SAN DIEGO - Friday the 13th was 'Walking Dead' day at Comic-Con. AMC's zombie apocalypse hit filled the massive Hall H to preview season three for fans (check out Dan Fienberg's live blog for details), while the cast and key producers also made promotional rounds talking to the press.
Though they're in the midst of shooting the new season right now, the Comic-Con break provided a welcome opportunity to interact with at least a fraction of the show's hardcore fanbase. "What's gratifying about putting the trailer up today in Hall H is that people go nuts," said showrunner Glen Mazzara. "We just look at each other and say 'OK, that worked.'"
The show's popularity ensured that the press room was nearly as chaotic as Hall H, packed with roundtables of journalists as hungry for scoop as walkers are for human flesh. And of course no one involved wanted to spill any serious details.
But we did find out a little bit more about where the characters will be at the start of season three, what made new cast member Danai Gurira so excited to join the show, how long comic book creator and executive producer Robert Kirkman hopes the series can run, and why Greg Nicotero wants to sneak a naked zombie onto your TV screen. The highlights follow...
Andrew Lincoln reveals what's ahead for Rick and Lori after Rick's revelations in the season finale...
“I think [Rick and Lori] are in a worse place than they've ever been. [Rick’s confession] has caused a seismic rift between them and also by having a couple that no longer exists for the other members of the group. They're in a very cold place, and yet they're still alive. He's making good on his promise of keeping them alive. [For Rick and Lori] there's a healing process that needs to happen and certainly the first few episodes we've shot there are signs that it's salvageable.”
Lauren Cohan [Maggie] promises the zombie threat is more serious than ever...
“The amount of zombies is completely overwhelming now. You take a breath for a second and then you're up again fighting. I think the group really does know that they're never gonna kill them all, or beat them all. That's a thing I never really felt was present before.”
Glen Mazzara says the game has changed now that everyone knows they're infected with the walker virus…
“It effects everyone in different ways. Some people may be more reckless, some people are more despondent. One of the things about our core group is that everybody feels so invested in keeping it together for the good of the group, it's like a tight band of soldiers. There's a greater responsibility to the group to carry on.”
Laurie Holden explains how Andrea feels about being separated from the group...
“Obviously I'm separated from my friends, who did not look for me. They didn't even leave a note on the car! They could've scratched out Sophia's name, don't you think? I think the pragmatic side of [Andrea] knows, 'We are separated, they have to do what they have to do' but I also think Andrea probably went to the highway and waited for a week. Michonne probably said 'Come on, we gotta go' and I was like 'No, they'll come back, they'll come back.' And I think there's probably quite a bit of confusion as to why they didn't. There's a little bit of hurt there, but [Andrea’s] sad sack days of feeling sorry for herself are over and she puts up a very brave front.”
We know Michael Rooker’s Merle will finally return and Norman Reedus says Daryl will have mixed emotions about their reunion…
Reedus: “Of course he wants his brother to come back, it's his brother. But his brother is not well liked.”
Glen Mazzara: “Daryl is actually doing better without his brother.”
Reedus: “He is, he's growing up in all these emotional ways and finding worth in himself through these people. I'm sure he doesn't want that taken from him.”
Danai Gurira [Michonne] had an uncontrollable urge to join the cast…
“I was in my last round of auditions and I was preparing by watching the season, something came up and I just [screamed] 'I want to be a part of this!' It just came out of me because it's so thrilling to watch. Seeing a story being told so viscerally and palpably, and seeing actors give 110% in every episode.”
Glen Mazzara discusses how much influence comic book fans have over the writers…
“We'll be shooting our last few episodes by the time the [new season] airs, so we really are committed to telling the best story that we can. All of the writers are fans of the comic book. We know what's there, we know what we're excited about. It's a matter of figuring out how do you do that in the medium of TV and what works with our goals, our characters. The way we develop our stories is we really take a lot of time with 'OK, that episode just ended. Now, what would happen next? Where is everybody emotionally, where do we pick up?' We listen to those characters and we find our way through. I trust our team to get the story told and hopefully our fans will respond to it.”
Executive producer Gale Anne Hurd believes there's more creative freedom when your show is a hit...
“There's much greater pressure if you don't have the ratings because then you've got the sword of Damocles hanging over your head, 'Are we gonna get cancelled? Let's just do stunts!' And that's a real big problem if you look at something like 'Let's just do a stunt that people will talk about.' That's why we didn't kill off Hershel last season even though that was something that was initially discussed. It felt like 'Oh, we're just killing another character just to be provocative, just to shock people.' It's freeing not to have to think about the show that way.”
Co-executive producer and makeup guru Greg Nicotero really wants you to see a naked walker…
“Frank [Darabont] and I always talked about 'It would be really cool to do a nude walker.' The only note we ever got from AMC was 'You really can't show that.' I'm like, 'Yeah, but if it's rotted and decomposed!?'
“So there was an instance [in the upcoming season] where we had a sequence we shot with a particular walker that had a sundress on. The extra was fantastic and we had sculpted rotted chest prosthetics and back prosthetics and I said 'Let's just do it! Shoot it and if we can't use it, we can't.'
“Truthfully I don't know if it'll end up in the show or not because we're still editing those episodes. Being a fan of the genre and having been in the genre a long time, I put stuff on the screen that I would want to see. In the episode I just directed I threw a couple in-joke zombie cameos in there for the fans. The people who know the genre will go 'Holy s---! I know who that's supposed to be!'”
David Morrissey [The Governor] has been a 'Walking Dead' fan since the pilot…
“I was a big fan of the show. I've known Andy [Lincoln] for a long time, so I watched the show with interest and loved it. Also in the pilot was another great friend of mine, Lennie James. I think it's a real grown-up show. At its heart it's about a sense of human survival and what we would do. Joining it has been a blast, I've loved every minute of it.”
Robert Kirkman claims if he has his way, we ain’t seen nothin’ yet…
“I'm hoping to get to 25 seasons! I know that sounds unrealistic and like a joke, but seeing these people running around in their 60s would be really interesting. With TV you never know, we're really successful now but who really knows what the future holds. We're just trying to keep telling the best stories we can, and hopefully that goes for a decade or two.”
According to Greg Nicotero, coming to Comic-Con actually makes the show better...
“We're in the middle of [filming], we're living in this world. Then we get on an airplane and we fly here and we have 6,000 people saying 'Great job!' It literally makes us want to go back and make the show even better because we were just in a room with 6,000 people, you can't disappoint them. Leaving our bubble and seeing the show through the fans' eyes really invigorates us.”
'The Walking Dead' season three premieres on AMC Sunday, Oct. 14 at 9 p.m. ET
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