The Walking Dead just finished its panel at AMC’s press tour event in Pasadena, and here’s what we found out (there’s a spoiler for those who didn’t see last fall’s episodes):
— Showrunner Glen Mazzara confirmed season one showrunner Frank Darabont’s original epic plan for a Black Hawk Down-with-zombies season premiere was discussed, but said Darabont was on board with setting aside the idea. “That story was discussed internally, that was Frank’s pitch,” Mazzara said. “We all responded to it. It was one of many ideas in the writers room. It felt like business too far away from our core characters. It was under Frank’s stewardship, when he was showrunner, that we moved off of that storyline. It was never written, it was never budgeted. It felt like a stall. We have a lot ideas like that. It’s just the nature of TV. That was not something that was rejected by another party.”
— There are rules about how fast a zombie will move, and whether a person who dies will then turn into a zombie. The writers know these rules, but you’re not necessarily supposed to. “It’s something we’re very mindful of,” said the comic book’s creator Robert Kirkman. “The speed in which you turn into a zombie is based on your physical health at the the time of death … while it does seem to be somewhat random, we are paying attention to that.” As for the zombie resurrection rules, those “remains to be seen” in the show. Also: Zombies in season two aren’t faster than zombies in season one, though they might sometimes seem that way. “They get whipped into a frenzy if there’s a meal close by,” producers explained.
— Michonne will likely show up at some point, but not necessarily this season. Responding to an online rumor that she’s being added to the cast, Kirkman said, “That’s not confirmed. I can say that’s definitely a character we want to work into the show at some point in the future. Whether that happens this season, i don”t really know.” For those who haven’t read the comic books, Michonne is described on the Walking Dead Wiki as a “mysterious member of the survivor group, and a major character within the series. Armed with a [Japanese sword] and the deadly skills to complement it, Michonne is an effective and crucial defender of the survivors.”
— Carol will have to find new strength after losing Sophia. “I think she’s going to be a little bit of a limbo,” said actress Melissa McBride. “She might find some strength in herself.” Mazzara added that Carol and Daryl’s relationship will also be impacted. “Carol has always depended on other people,” he said, “… it forces Carol to stand on her own. One of the traps of that character is to just make her the grieving mom.”
— Though there’s no premiere date Season 3, but AMC expects to split the show into two halves again — so likely another late fall return. The network also announced plans to stretch the third season to 16 episodes.
— Rick vs. Shane will be at “the heart of the show” moving forward, Mazzara said. “Rick proved himself to be a leader … he put down Sophia,” he said. “You have these two Alpha Males sparring for position and we get a lot of great story out of that. And it puts everybody else in a difficult position on that farm.”
Bonus: According to one report from press tour, the show’s writers don’t actually know how the zombie outbreak occurred, so don’t expect to learn that anytime soon. Walking Dead returns Feb. 12.