Walking Dead Showrunner Glen Mazzara on the Past & Future of the Show

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As part of end of season press, The Walking Dead‘s show runner Glen Mazzara sat down with journalists today to answer questions about the show. After the jump, we have a horde of details about the past, present and future of Rick and his group. Warning: there are spoilers for both Season Two of the television series and Robert Kirkman‘s comic, so proceed with caution.

The conference call got off to quick start after Mazzara thanked the group for joining him. Throughout the call, Mazzara stressed his desire to keep the show “grounded and real” along with looking to dive into the heart of Kirkman’s story. Here are some more of the interesting tidbits that the call revealed:

On Season 3 and the Prison: Mazzara stated the infamous prison storyline will be a “significant part” of both Season 3 and Season 4 of the show. He considers it to be a “major storyline,” but does not want to fall into the “claustrophobic” nature of the farm and plans to open things up a little bit more, including showing the Governor and his town of Woodbury. Mazzara also views the first two seasons as prologue and that Season 3 will be a “reset of sorts.” Production on the third season is well underway, as scripts for the first six episodes have been outlined and turned into AMC already, with outlines for episodes 7 and 8 currently being worked on. After the outlines are approved, all eight episodes will be written at once, instead of the normal way of breaking down episodes one by one. Shooting for Season 3 will begin in May.

On Michonne, her casting, and how she’ll play into the future of the show: Mazzara calls her a dynamic, important and kick-ass, lead character, who they are excited to introduce into the world. Actress Danai Gurira went through a normal casting process (unlike the Governor, who I’ll touch on in a minute), but Mazzara is looking forward to taking her and “fucking her up,” while having her carry lots of story. He also stressed that Michonne’s ‘theatricality’ will be real and grounded in order to fit in with the overall tone of the series.

On the casting for The Governor:  Actor David Morrissey owes a lot to Andrew Lincoln for his casting, as Mazzara said that Lincoln talked up Morrissey and the entire team was impressed with what he brought to the table. Morrissey was a name of a list of names that were considered for the role, but ultimately, he won out over everyone else.

On the departure of Frank Darabont: “We wouldn’t be here without Frank,” Mazzara said flat out. He also stated that the pacing issues that plagued the first half of Season 2 were a concern of Frank’s when the season started. Also, he debunked any rumor that audience reaction played a role in how the second half of the season, saying that when the show premiered last October, production was drawing to a close.

On Lori: Mazzara was asked about the character’s “annoyingness” and he responded saying they do not want to provide any “false beats” for the character. “We want her to be realistic and compelling.” Mazzara also stated that Lori’s reaction scene at the end of Season 2 was all shot in one take and that character is a “control freak. She tried to control Rick and it backfired.” She is now horrified by her role in the events and that she now has “a lot going on” and is “fucked up” because of the events.

On T-Dog: Mazzara admits that the character has “been off to the side” but had to be in order for Rick to develop. However, he has plans to “develop the character in a significant way” in Season 3.

On Carl and places he shouldn’t be: “He’s a kid. He’s going to be mischievous. He’s bored and he wants to give his parents the slip. That’s real to me.”

On characters old and new: There are plans to bring in Tyreese along with returning to Morgan and Dwyane. Mazzara also wants to continue to bring in new and original characters.

With Season 3, the human threat will increase, but the zombies are still here. However, there will be more of a balance between the two.

Some other facts of note included the admission that set leaks have become a problem. This was something that Mazzara has never had to deal with, but referenced a high-popularity show like Lost as an example of how they were looking to contain spoilers better in the future. “No one cared about it [spoilers] on Crash.” Mazzara also stated that part of the shootout in the episode ‘Triggerfinger’ was influenced by a similar situation in The Wire.

Merle’s return is “on the horizon. We’re figuring out what to do with him,” said Mazzara.

Any possibility of Stephen King and Joe Hill writing an episode is dead. “That was Frank’s connection. I haven’t approached them.”

All in all, Mazzara made it clear that the show will be getting closer to the heart of Kirkman’s work, while staying true to the tone set forth by the show thus far. It sounds like Mazzara and the rest of the writing and production team have learned from this season and are really looking to apply those lessons moving forward.

Look for our reaction about Season 2 later this week, but until then, what did you think of Season 2 of the show and what excites you about the future of the show? Sound off in our comments below.

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