In a conference call with reporters, The Walking Dead showrunner Glen Mazzara took questions about Sunday’s second-season finale, recent character deaths, the show’s pacing, and what to expect for season 3:
— On the upcoming finale: We’re proud of this finale, we’ve been building to it all season, and we cant wait for you to see it … There’s more bloodshed coming. They thought they were safe on this farm, they were wrong … We’re on a killing spree here … There are answers about the nature of the virus in the finale … I will guarantee people will watch this finale and want to know what comes next. People will have a lot of questions, but in a good way.
— On Shane becoming zombie, much faster than Amy, and not getting bit: We worked hard to make sure that revelation landed. We knew what we were doing there. We knew it would land a punch. We’ve never had a main character become a zombie to this extent. Those [rapid flashes of zombie mayhem] represent the storm in Shane’s brain to some extent … Amy was a weaker character. Shane is in a murderous rage … he’s going to reanimate quicker. There’s just more life in that zombie, believe it or not. We do have internal rules for that.
— On this season’s focus: I’m interested in focusing on Rick. He’s the leader of the group. If you look at all of these deaths, we look at how we’re developing his character. All this stuff led to a very decisive act where Rick kills Shane. People talk about Shane being killed off, well Rick killed Shane, he’s evolving in a very real way.
— Given the deaths of two characters (Shane and Dale) expired at very different points in the comic book, the obligatory “how important stay close to comic” question: There are characters in [the comic book’s creator] Robert Kirkman’s book that we’re excited about writing for season 3 and beyond. We take [the comic book] for inspiration, but we have to put our own twist on it. Robert is obviously an exec producer and writer on the show so he’s obviously involved in all these decisions. I wanted to get closer to the spirit of the comic book, it’s very visceral, so it’s a more faithful spirit-wise, if not necessarily story-wise.
— How far will they push the comic book’s upcoming graphic depictions of violence among the humans? We have to be careful not to show any human-on-human violence in a gratuitous way. If you look at the last few episodes, we feel we earned those moments of violence. We’re not here for shock value. We have very shocking graphic moments looking ahead but they’re all earned, they all mean something, they play real, they have consequences for the characters.
— On some fans wanting Lori to die. Would the writers consider killing a pregnant character? If it’s earned and character-based and propels the story forward, nothing is over the line for us. No one is safe on this show.
— On not showing the initial virus outbreak: Maybe we could do it in a stand-alone movie, maybe a webisode. But I’m not particularly interested in using flashbacks. I want to propel the story forward. That’s my natural inclination … The outbreak — who gives a shit? The outbreak started, now everybody’s screwed and we’re on the run from the zombies.
— On whether the pacing of season 3 will be more like the start of this season, which some fans criticized as too sluggish, or like the more intense second half: I am very interested in keeping the pace up. I’m proud of the [early] episodes in season 2. I’m surprised at some of the feedback. That being said, it was always my intention to ramp up the pace. I do think the [recent] episodes have been better crafted at having a beginning, middle, and a punch at the end. I think we’ve cracked it. We still will have slower episodes … this is a story about characters we care about. But I do think the pacing in season 3 will feel like a freight train … [Also] there will be more webisodes coming before season 3.
— On the show’s eventual series finale: I’ve talked about it with Robert. I do have a feeling where this show ends.We know pretty much the entire arc of season 3. We have ideas for season 4. Then skipping ahead to the end of the series, I have very storng ideas.