The upcoming season of iZombie features some of the biggest changes to the series since it launched, with a dystopian Seattle walled off from the rest of the world.
As fans will remember, iZombie ended things on a pretty dramatic note during last year's season finale, when Seattle was officially established as the country's zombie haven. And according to the show's cast and crew, things will be in a sort of "new normal" when season four picks back up.
"It's so on-point politically right now." series star Rose McIver said during an interview with ComicBook.com last year. "It's something I'm really proud to be a part of that in a comedy, zombie, fun show, still kind of is making comment about how we treat other and how we respond to having to coexist and tolerate and understand each other's opinions."
iZombie returns on Monday, February 26. The series airs on Monday nights at 9 p.m. ET/PT following episodes of DC's Legends of Tomorrow.
Cops and Zombies
Each Seattle Police Department homicide detective has been teamed with a zombie, who can eat the brains of victims in hopes of approximating the success that Liv and Clive have had together since season 1.
That said, the relationship between the Seattle PD and Fillmore-Graves is a complicated one.
"I guess what has changed is the politics," series star Rahul Kohli, who plays Ravi, told reporters during a recent set visit. "The job has changed in its own way, so now there is zombie crimes, and there are human crimes. That changes how we operate in the morgue too, in terms of what cases we get. If it's a human one, then it's a Seattle Police Department problem. If it's a zombie crime, it's a Fillmore-Graves problem. There's a lot of things, in terms of how we do the procedural aspect. Even the landscape itself, none of us are allowed to leave Seattle. That has its own impact, in terms of that, but he's still the same guy, it's just the rules have changed."prevnext
Seattle Behind Walls
The city of Seattle is now a quarantine zone, designed to keep zombies in and everyone else out.
"It's so crazy now that Seattle's now this walled city," said Malcolm Goodwin, who plays Clive Babineaux on the series. "It's knocked down the walls of all the other characters. Reading every script, I'm blown away by how much the world of iZombie has expanded. There's no way you watch season one and think that it becomes this. There's no way. But, yeah, there's a lot going on. There's a lot going on and I think Rob Thomas and Diane and the writers they approach it in a honest way in terms of if there's a zombie virus, everyone knows about it, there's good and there's also bad. So you have people with terminal illnesses trying to break into Seattle in order to extend their life for themselves, for their loved ones. So you have that whole entire thing too."
"You also have people who are trying to get out of Seattle, humans and zombies as well, trying to get out," Goodwin added. "The city is now walled. So that's a whole nother storyline. Now, there's a whole thing of, I know Clive thinks the city is gonna be nuked. We don't know what's gonna happen. We may get nuked. But he stays. Liv's stays. Everyone at this term is trying to figure this thing out and some would rather die for the cause. In the meantime, still trying to maintain a sense of normalcy. And that's the challenging and that's the interesting part. And there's no more secrets. Everyone knows the big secret in Seattle is that there are zombies, so there's no more secrets after that. So it's how everyone has to deal with everything just being out there in the open. And I think it also exposes other things that each character's dealing with and that it has been happening in Seattle. It just does it in an honest way so it's really, really interesting."prevnext
Major is a company man
As one might expect based on last season, Major gets right on board with Fillmore-Graves's corporate philosophy, and that includes some pretty controversial decisions and rules, which means he occasionally runs afoul of the other members of the cast.
"It creates some conflict," said Robert Buckley, who plays Major. "I mean, I think what we started to see last season, the trend of Liv not being particularly enthusiastic about him siding so heavily with Fillmore-Graves, that continues to happen. You know you get those jobs in high school where you're working Hot Dog on a Stick so you can hook your buddies up and all your friends are like, "Hot Dog on a Stick is the best ever!" Fillmore-Graves is no Hot Dog on a Stick."prevnext
Fillmore-Graves is still in charge...
Chase Graves is in charge of most of the day-to-day operation of Seattle, with the city's zombie mayor and his chief of staff Peyton Charles largely as figureheads.
That said, he tries to put people in jobs that best serve their skills, and not everything is going to be paramilitary rule and battle lines.
"One of the things that we see early on is at Fillmore-Graves, Chase Graves asks Major, 'Hey, we have some sort of at risk youth in the city, would you be willing to talk to them?'" Buckley said. "Which is very smart because that's what Major used to do and Major's very enthusiastic and thinking, "Holy crap, this was my calling and now I can kind of combine my old love with my new love" and he begins working with some of these youths and some of them get actually brought in to the Filmore Graves fold and so we sort of see some relationships grow from there."prevnext
...but hanging by a thread.
That said? Things are ugly.
There are pro-zombie extremists, anti-zombie extremists, and power struggles within the local government.
"We're going to pick up next season three months later, and the United States has walled off Seattle like it's West Berlin," showrunner Rob Thomas told ComicBook.com. "Chase is hanging on by a very thin thread; it's like every day is the Cuban missile crisis. Brains are coming in, but they aren't getting as many as they expected, and zombies are hungry. In fact, the opening sequence in season four is going to follow a brain from the moment a man dies somewhere in Texas to the moment it reaches the brain tube and is ingested by a Seattle zombie."prevnext
Liv is less of an outsider
Liv still essentially operates outside of the mainstream, but that does not mean she is as alone as she used to be.
Now that the secret is out and the world knows about zombies, Liv is more able to be open with the people she lives and works around.
"She doesn't believe that zombies and humans have to be antagonists, and she also has a lot of dear friends who are human still," said series star Rose McIver. "And it's kind of what we look at in this season is there's all sorts of people sitting on all sides of the fence, like we have coyotes that believe in smuggling humans in to turn them into zombies, we have the Fillmore-Graves, we run the show kind of approach, we have a zombie church, [where] there's these very devout followers who take things very dogmatically, and I don't think Liv agrees with any of those black and white ideas. I think she sort of thinks there's a way of juggling being a good person and contributing to her society with occasionally bending rules when she feels like she needs to help people who need it. She's definitely not as by the book, as major, or as she may have been in the past, but it's always with really good intentions."prevnext
It's a crime to make zombies
One of the things that is not allowed? Making zombies.
At the end of season 3, part of Chase Graves's plan to make good with humans was to send zombies out to those infected with the Aleutian flu, scratching them to protect them from the flu's deadly effects.
Now, though? With hostility between zombies and humans and a shortage on supplies, creating zombies is not only illegal but Fillmore-Graves has some deadly consequences in place for zombies who violate some of their rules.prevnext
There is a brain shortage in Seattle.
Despite the peaceful intentions of Fillmore-Graves, most Americans simply do not want their brains being fed to monsters -- so relatively few people are filling out their brain donor cards, creating a business opportunity for Blaine.
"He gets his mitts involved with that," admitted David Anders, who plays Blaine DeBeers. "Every racket there is, he gets his mitts in. Yeah he's got dealings with Fillmore-Graves, he's got dealings with coyotes, he's got dealings with everybody. It's a lot of moving parts. It's like a game of Risk so, yeah. God I'd love to tell you so much."prevnext
Clive's relationship struggles
Now that Clive, one of the only characters who is fully human among Liv's inner circle, is dating someone who has been infected with the zombie virus, it changes a lot for him.
"Clive, he lives for a bigger purpose. It's never only about himself," Goodwin said. "And he's been consistent about that from season one. He's about finding the killers of these murder victims. That took precedent over whether or not this girl's really a psychic. I didn't care as long as it helped me solve the case and figure that out I don't care. He doesn't care about the personality, mood swings, whatever. Moody? That's what it is. Let's just get this work done. And do even in this case, this is a bigger thing. There's a zombie virus going around and his girlfriend has it. He's like, 'This is bigger than me. I'm gonna stay here and figure this out.' Clive can leave. Sure, Clive can be like, 'Deuces. I'm outta here.' But I think he's like, 'No. I'm part of this. I've seen the effects of it.' He's been a part of the Max Raider's zombie mini apocalypse thing and he knows how bad it can be. And if he can do something about it, it's bigger than him, so he's gonna stick around for it and try to help out the best way he can."prevnext
The human shield
Last year's zombie truthers have become this year's anti-zombie extremists...and they are organized.0comments
It should be no surprise that as the show deals with a wall and coyotes and other such concepts, there will be some self-appointed "border guards." Their role in the story, though, is yet to be fully revealed.
"Seattle is going to be like living in West Berlin, and inside here, there are going to be these humans who are willing to try to live peacefully side-by-side with zombies, there are going to be humans who are incredibly resentful of zombies," Thomas said. "We had a lot of fun trying to name a human terrorist organization; rejected names include Up With People and The Human Shield. There are going to be zombies who consider eating humans when they get hungry. It is a city barely under control, and meanwhile, they're still trying to have buses run on time and mail get delivered and murders get solved, and Chase Graves is trying to keep it running. Liv is still going to be solving murders, but the city itself is going to feel very, very different."prev