There have been quite a few spoilery news tidbits concerning AMC’s The Walking Dead lately, but the one safe thing we can talk about right up front is the inclusion of the villainous Governor, played in the upcoming season by David Morrisey (The Reaping). As he plays the main antagonist (of the non-shambling variety) to Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and the gang, it’s probably a good thing to know where the third season of The Walking Dead is going to take us as far as the Governor is concerned. Showrunner Glen Mazzara recently addressed that question while shooting on location. I’ve done my best to keep this spoiler-free, but all bets are off after you hit the jump.
In an interview with The Wrap, Mazzara dished on the third season’s ending, how it wouldn’t end and what kind of story arc we can expect to see for the Governor. As you may have seen at the end of season two, the farmstead is no longer a viable option for a safe haven. The new location for season three is that of a prison…which sounds super safe, right?
“No,”says Mazzara. “There is no safe haven in this world. I want to make that clear. At the end of our season 2 finale that farm is overtaken and that farm was that last safe haven, and there’s no safe haven in that world. I want to be very clear about that. No one is safe. There is no safe haven.”
He went on to say that the show’s internal rules prevent the group from just booking a cruise line or a plane ticket out of the country. So our favorite heroes and heroines are all stuck under the Governor’s thumb for the duration. When asked about the storyline for the third season and how closely it follows the comics, Mazzara replied:
We’re taking the major tentpole characters and storylines from the comics and adapting them to our alternate universe of the TV shows. So it will be just as surprising to comic-book fans as to non-comic-book fans as to how all of it lays out.
He went on to compare the adjustments to Shane’s (Jon Bernthal) arc as a good template for the way forward. Before we get into said characters, here’s how Mazzara views the prison setting for season three:
The prison itself will be a threatening, malevolent character. It is a challenge to live in the prison. And I think we’ve really been able to get a lot of story out of it. So it will not feel like a safe corner keeping our characters away from central action. It will really play that they are in a shark cage. Life in a prison is life in a shark cage.
He makes a surprising appearance. I don’t want to give anything away as to the exact episode, but the audience will certainly be ready for his appearance — and they won’t have to wait too long.
And for fans of the Governor who may have read “The Rise of the Governor” by Robert Kirkman and Jay Bonansinga, here’s how Mazzara responded to a question as to how the revelations in that novel would relate to the show’s version:
I haven’t read the novel because I didn’t want it to influence my concept of the TV show’s version. But we’re interested in having a very complex, nuanced, multi-layered character. This will not be simply an arch villain who is committing an evil act in every scene. That’s too cartoonish for what we do here. We want that character to feel as real and human and fully developed as possible.
Transitioning from the Governor to Michonne (Danai Gurira), Mazzara also fielded a question about whether or not to shy away from the violence of the graphic novels, saying:
Certainly there’s challenging material in the comic book, and I would say there’s equally challenging material on our TV show. I think at the end of season 2 we showed that we don’t pull punches … We’re not going to get soft now. However, we’ll do things on our own time, or when it makes sense for the show. And we’re definitely looking at this Governor-Michonne-Woodbury-prison storyline as a longterm arc.
Zombie movies have been done to death (so to speak) even if zombie TV shows have not. Mazzara fields a question about making The Walking Dead unique from a story perspective, especially when it’s all said and done:
Robert is not interested in proposing a theory of what caused this apocalypse in his work, and that’s something that I think is important for us. It’s about surviving in this world. We’re lucky in the sense that we’re able to draw on a lot of great zombie films. And one of the things we really pride ourselves on is adding to that literature. Adding original bits with zombies that no one has ever seen.
When you look at possible endings, I really am interested in finding new territory and a new type of ending, a surprising ending for this series that no one’s ever done before, that no one’s ever thought of.
Look for season three of The Walking Dead to return to AMC starting this October.