AMC’s “The Walking Dead” only has five episodes remaining in Season 3, which means that tensions between our core group at the prison and The Governor (David Morrissey) are about to reach their boiling point.
HuffPost TV caught up with producer Greg Nicotero and several cast members from the hit series — including Andrew Lincoln (Rick), Norman Reedus (Daryl), Steven Yeun (Glenn), Laurie Holden (Andrea), Danai Gurira (Michonne) and Emily Kinney (Beth) — at the red carpet for “The Walking Dead’s” PaleyFest panel in Los Angeles. While they wouldn’t give away too much, the stars revealed a few juicy morsels about what fans can expect in the show’s remaining episodes. Light spoilers ahead.
On Rick’s impending showdown with The Governor:
Greg Nicotero: I would say that we’re going to turn the heat up quite a bit in the next couple episodes. The episode that airs Sunday night is fantastic because it’s a little bit of a departure for our show, but as we’ve shown in other seasons, it’s always great to step out of our bubble for a minute and get an opportunity to experience what the world looks like away from [our core cast] … we spend all our time in prison, all our time in Woodbury, so this episode is great because we step out of that bubble and it’s really well-written. Scott Gimple wrote this episode, and he wrote Episode 15 which I directed, which is the second-to-last episode.
On whether Rick has hit rock bottom yet, and how his brand of craziness is different from The Governor’s:
Andrew Lincoln: I think he’s been down there for quite some time. I think [this week] is his lowest ebb and [what he experiences] is like a mirror held up to him of where he could potentially go, and he realizes at that point, “uh uh. I’m coming back.” I think [The Governor’s] crazy is borderline psychotic and I think that mine is a justified crazy in grief. I think it’s more about grief and shock … He’s under enormous pressure and I think he’s just had a breakdown. Every death and every fatality has an impact on Rick — I’m not sure it has the same effect on The Governor.
On whether a peace treaty between the group and The Governor can ever be reached:
Norman Reedus: There will be no fucking peace treaty!
Andrew Lincoln: We hate that guy! Not gonna happen.
Norman Reedus: I don’t think anybody wants to have a peace treaty with anybody. It’s us versus them. There’s a lot going on; look at all the things that happened to Rick this season, and with Steven’s character, there’s a lot going on with all of us. I don’t think there’s any “let’s wave a white flag” at this point.
Andrew Lincoln: We’re in the middle of a conflict. It’s all about getting ready, gearing up for war.
Danai Gurira: What’s very interesting for Michonne is … yes, she wanted to go after The Governor; she went after him, she took his kid, she took his eye. Yes, she wanted to have that moment with Andrea; she let Andrea know that she really messed up, and she’s seen that Andrea’s heard her. Her warpath isn’t as vengeful, right now, it’s more about protecting these people. She’s exact in her revenge, but she does believe in taking care of this group.
On whether Glenn is capable of leadership:
Steven Yeun: As much as he’s posturing that Rick’s not capable, I don’t know that Glenn’s that capable either. As much as Rick might be crazy, Glenn might be crazy — we’re all crazy! So it’s him learning and figuring out how to be a leader. He doesn’t see how yet, but he might figure that out soon enough.
On Michonne’s position within the group:
Danai Gurira: I think she’s been … touching back into the self she was before the apocalypse, touching back into that woman who was very much a part of communities and actually knew how to speak to people very empathetically, and could really intuit people’s positions in their lives and what they needed to hear and who they were. She used that very well, intuiting The Governor versus intuiting Rick. But now she’s actually able to connect her heart to it, and that’s definitely going to be a part of who she allows herself to continue to be, to a certain extent. I think that’s a part of being a group, that you know that you can talk to people’s hearts and connect to what they’re going through and be a support. I think it’s a real powerful moment for her, actually, because she’s not letting go of her very formidable abilities as a warrior, but she’s also connecting to that part of herself that can actually be vulnerable with people. I think it’s her at her strongest.
On Andrea’s true feelings for The Governor:
Laurie Holden: When she went to the prison, she really realized that he was a bad man — she knew enough. I think she had every intention of executing Carol’s (Melissa McBride) plan, but it’s not easy to kill someone in cold blood; she’s never killed a human being before. I think it sickened her to go to bed with him, I think it was one of the most revolting experiences of her life, but at the end of the day you have to remember the animal she is — she was a human rights lawyer prior to the apocalypse and you can perceive it as weakness or perceive it as a strength, but she is going to try and fight for both of these men’s humanity, and to broker peace. Let’s see if she pulls it off.
On the potential for a Carol/Daryl romance:
Norman Reedus: If it happens it happens, and that’s great. She’s a great actress and a very lovely lady. I like that it’s not … when a boy meets a girl it’s really awkward; all those little things are more interesting to play than a moonlight, up against a tree kind of situation. If it happens, great.
On whether the people of Woodbury will start to see The Governor for who he really is:
Laurie Holden: The tricky thing is, you don’t want mob rule. Yes, it’s good for them not to be blindly following a leader that’s making bad decisions and has deserted them in many ways. But by the same token, you don’t want chaos, because if these people do leave, how are they going to survive? There’s a lot of things to consider — it’s not just Team Prison versus Team Woodbury, it’s all of it — [life and death] for a lot of people, and a lot of good people.
On the relationship between Glenn and Maggie (Lauren Cohan):
Steven Yeun: Glenn and Maggie right now are in a rocky place, and that’s due to one person thinking they have control of the situation when they probably don’t, and another person being violated. So it’s a lot of ego, a lot of miscommunication. But what’s great is, you can’t fight love like that, so we’ll see what happens.
On Beth’s role:
Emily Kinney: I think you’re going to see how close and how she depends on her family and on her sister and her father. You’re gonna see her reacting to them going through difficult situations and figuring out how she can help and how she can support. Beth isn’t the one up in front killing the zombies and she isn’t physically as big and as strong as everyone else, but she’s figuring out where she fits in.
On Michonne’s feelings about Merle (Michael Rooker):
Danai Gurira: I actually think that for Michonne, Merle is not a massive threat, because he’s not the mastermind. Michonne likes dealing with masterminds, that’s why she went and sat in The Governor’s apartment. She didn’t go looking for Merle. Yeah, when she saw him she kind of lost her stuff, but she didn’t go looking for him, she sat in The Governor’s apartment, and that is who she is. She likes to deal with The Governors, the Ricks. Because Merle is moldable, he’s molded by The Governor to do what he wanted to do — that actually makes him less threatening to her, because she can outthink him.
On the show’s continued ratings success:
Greg Nicotero: I think the fans really do embrace that we’re equally as dedicated as they are to the show, we’re equally as dedicated to giving them a great show, and the number one thing that we’ve talked about — all the actors, all the producers — is keep the characters grounded and real … If you look at the shows that have changed the landscape of genre television, if you look at “Twilight Zone” and “Star Trek” and “The X Files,” shows that I love, those were really supported by smart storytelling and fantastic fan base. I feel like on “The Walking Dead” we’ve been fortunate enough to tap into that same idiom.
Steven Yeun: The pace is good, and also, we’re really exploring the human condition. People might complain like, “I wouldn’t behave like that!” but they’re still thinking, “Would I behave like that? What would it be like to be in that situation?” and I think that’s what keeps people coming back.
“The Walking Dead” airs Sundays at 9 p.m. EST on AMC.
What do you think of “The Walking Dead” Season 3? Who do you think will kill The Governor in the end? Or will he survive? Weigh in below!
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