‘iZombie’ EPs Rob Thomas & Diane Ruggiero-Wright on Season 3 and Liv Bonding with Major

     April 4, 2017

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The CW series iZombie is back for Season 3, and Liv (Rose McIver) has discovered that not only are there more zombies living in Seattle than she previously believed, but there’s also a private military contractor employing a small zombie army to prepare for the day that humans learn of their existence. And while Liv and Clive (Malcolm Goodwin) try to keep an all-out zombie-human war from happening, Ravi (Rahul Kohli), Major (Robert Buckley), Peyton (Aly Michalka) and Blaine (David Anders) have many complications to sort out in their own lives, whether human or zombie.

To preview the new season, executive producers Rob Thomas and Diane Ruggiero-Wright sat down with Collider to chat about what fans can expect from Season 3, what they’re most excited about getting to explore, the magic of Liv and Ravi, the fun of Liv and Major bonding over brains, the new zombie concepts they’re introducing, Liv’s journey this season, and how torn she’ll be between her former human life and her new zombie one. Be aware that there are some spoilers discussed.

Collider: In the first season of a series, you have to set up your world. In the second season, you can explore everything a bit deeper. Now that you’re in Season 3, are all bets off?

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Image via CW

ROB THOMAS: From year one, we talked about how we thought the seasons would lay out, in a general way. We asked ourselves the question of, if there’s a tiny outbreak of zombie-ism in Seattle that happens at a boat party and a handful of people make it off that boat and survive, as zombies, what happens, over time? What happens immediately? What happens after a year? What happens after two years? So, we’re continuing to go down that path. For Season 3, we’ve gone from a world where Liv probably imagined that there were 30 zombies milling around Seattle, to now there are hundreds. It widens the world out a bit. The zombies are left thinking that, at some point, humans are going to discover them. What will happen, at that point? Will they be welcomed, as their brothers and sisters who happen to have this infectious disease, or will they be unwelcome? How will they be treated, or will they be exterminated?

DIANE RUGGIERO-WRIGHT: Different is always so universally accepted that there’s really nothing to fear, especially when it involves a life or death situation.

What are you most excited about, with the upcoming season?

RUGGIERO-WRIGHT: I’m excited about there being more Clive story, where you learn a little bit more about him.

THOMAS: We also get to widen out Ravi’s world a bit. He gets to do stuff that is not simply being in the lab and saying how somebody died.

RUGGIERO-WRIGHT: We also have stories for Peyton, so we get to utilize Aly [Michalka] more, which is always a great thing for the show.

THOMAS: It does get more and more fun. You start to collect actors who you love to go back to. You get to start building a world, in that great way that The Simpsons have done, where you feel like you could walk that town and know what’s in every storefront. Bit by bit, you feel like you know who the district attorney is, who the mayor is, who’s doing the television news, and who’s the hot shot lawyer in town.

Was there a moment when you realized how magical it was to watch Liv and Ravi together?

THOMAS: Very early.

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Image via CW

RUGGIERO-WRIGHT: They’re so good. When Rob was directing the pilot, Rahul walked onto the set, for the first time, as this guy who didn’t really have much on-camera experience, and that first day, he was the whole day. He had chunk after chunk of this huge expositional dialogue. It was just crazy! And he knocked it out of the park.

THOMAS: It took us longer to find the actor for Ravi than just about anyone else, and then we barely got to meet him before we started shooting. We cast him out of England, so we hadn’t met him, face to face. He was working on the last two days of the pilot ‘cause all of his scenes were in the morgue, and it was a nerve-wracking moment. We were like, “Oh my god, we hope this guy we cast off of a video in England is good.”

RUGGIERO-WRIGHT: If he had shown up and been an asshole or not been good, we would have been so screwed. He was amazing and just a very generous experience.

THOMAS: Rahul is such a lucky find. He’s been great for us.

How much fun is it to get to see Liv and Major bonding over brains?

RUGGIERO-WRIGHT: So much fun!

THOMAS: It is great that we don’t have any series regulars that we want to write away from.

RUGGIERO-WRIGHT: We want to write to all of them. 

THOMAS: We don’t have to worry that they’re not going to be able to deliver the jokes or that it’s going to be flat. It’s a tremendous luxury. It’s really great. And they’re all easy and lovely to work with, which is also phenomenal.

RUGGIERO-WRIGHT: That never happens. Everyone is consistently lovely and professional. I just wish they were more attractive. I’m obviously kidding.

THOMAS: I’m having such a good time. The cast is so good and it’s easy, and we’re treated well by the studio and network, who really dig this show and make us feel great. I’ve had so many terrible television experiences that I don’t know why I’m developing a new thing. We’re both developing other shows, but it’s like, “This is so good. Why are we doing this? Let’s just enjoy iZombie. Life is good.”

RUGGIERO-WRIGHT: It’s insane! You hear stories from other people who are in nightmare situations, and we’ve been there, so why are we looking the gift horse in the mouth and giving it the finger? 

You’re introducing some new concepts this season, with brains in a tube, a zombie island and an all-zombie club. How did that evolve? Were those things you’d been thinking about for awhile?

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Image via CW

RUGGIERO-WRIGHT: If you’re going to have zombies, you need a zombie club and a zombie island, at some point. It seems like a natural progression.

THOMAS: You find yourself in a writers’ room and you can’t believe you’re having these conversations, but they are conversations. You think, if there are 200 zombies, what would be a good way for you to survive? And then, everyone in the room is pitching things like, “If I were a zombie, what I would do is . . .” You have to think about a TV show with X amount of budget, and then figure out what you can do and what you can see that makes sense. You find yourself in a room with 12 adults, talking about what zombies would do.

RUGGIERO-WRIGHT: I don’t see anything wrong with that. That’s all I want to do, is talk about zombies. I get paid to have a conversation I would normally want to have.

What is Liv’s journey, this season?

RUGGIERO-WRIGHT: She has human sympathies and she has zombie sympathies, so she is right in the middle of understanding both sides of the situation. She is feeling like she needs to protect both sides, and she understands both sides. She is at the top of her conflict, wrestling with her own feelings about this. It’s all coming down on her. 

THOMAS: I think she has a more optimistic take on how humans would behave, if they find out that there are zombies among them. She wants to believe the best of humans. As evidence keeps pointing to the fact that you really shouldn’t over estimate what humans will do, if they find out about zombies, it forces her into a decision about how militant she will get and what she would do to protect zombies.

iZombie airs on Tuesday nights on The CW.

Television