Robert Kirkman, who co-created the Image/Skybound Comics series The Walking Dead and serves as an executive producer on the television adaptation currently being produced by AMC, spoke with the AMC blog earlier today about what’s going on down in Georgia, where they’re working on the set of the show’s third season.
Following a second season that shattered ratings records and at times sharply divided fans, the show’s third season looks to be integrating some of the most beloved and integral parts of the comic book’s mythology with the dual arrivals of Michonne and the prison, as well as the announcement that The Governor will appear as the season’s central antagonist.
“They’ve taken a lot of what you see in the comic book series and brought it to life in ways that I didn’t think possible,” Kirkman said of the massive prison set they’re building in Senoia, Georgia. “This is going to be one of the most impressive looking things that’s ever been put together for a show.”
He also says that, while the prison in the comics was often criticized by fans as being “too safe,” and not presenting enough conflict or stakes for the characters, they’re looking to avoid that feeling in the show. Yes, he says, they’ll have fences and riot gear to protect them from the walkers–but that doesn’t mean everything will come easily.
“It’s important to us to maintain the tone of the show,” he told the blog. “Thus far, [the characters] have been out on the road, desperate and living in the heat, and we don’t want it to be that they’re relaxing in this safe place now.”
That said, the writer echoed statements he made in a 2009 interview with me, that zombies eventually fade into the background of the series and become something that you can deal with. Still, as with the relative security of the prison, that doesn’t make the world of The Walking Dead safe.
“The plan was always to evolve naturally into a place were the zombies essentially become a manageable threat,” Kirkman explained. “You know the rules. You know how to deal with them. To a certain extent they become something to not really be scared of unless you mess up. Humans, however, do not follow any rules and will always do something that surprises you and are capable of doing things far worse than trying to eat you.”
Fans of the comic book series know exactly what Kirkman means, and can remember long stretches of issues where no major character died from a zombie attack. While that’s probably a ways off for the television series, the introduction of Danai Gurira as Michonne certainly seems like a game-changer; it’s hard to imagine a world where Michonne, strutting in with her act together and her pet walkers, doesn’t change the way our characters think about survival.
She’s also, according to Kirkman, using a unique sword, designed for the show, the origins of which will be revealed in-story rather than in an interview. Hmm…!
Concluded Kirkman, “When you think about The Walking Dead comic series, you think about oh, the stuff they with did the Governor, the stuff they did with the prison and Woodbury and Michonne. And that’s really a lot of the stuff that people remember the story for and that’s stuff we haven’t even gotten to in the TV show yet. So as much as people love the show, and as high as the ratings are, and as cool as the show is, I feel like we haven’t even gotten to the good stuff yet. This season is absolutely going to blow people away.”