Post Mortem: Walking Dead Boss Dissects Killer Finale, Talks [Spoiler]'s Arrival, 'Spoils' Season 3

The Walking Dead Season 2 FinaleWARNING: If you have yet to watch The Walking Dead‘s Season 2 finale tonight, run don’t walk to the nearest exit. We’re serious, folks. The following Q&A with exec producer Robert Kirkman contains massive spoilers. Trust us on this one. Everyone else, you may proceed…

The Walking Dead closed out its second season Sunday night with a pair of deaths (R.I.P. Patricia and Jimmy), a game-changing revelation (Jenner did whisper to Rick that everyone is infected), one major character introduction (Michonne!) and a confirmation of Season 3’s setting (prison!). Oh, and Rick finally started channeling his inner badass! Below, executive producer Robert Kirkman deconstructs the spectacular episode’s most memorable moments and teases a Season 3 he promises will blow Season 2 “out of the water!”

TVLINE | So, Patricia and Jimmy got the hook. Was it just that they were the most expendable at this point?
We never treat a character as expendable, nor do we treat a character’s death as being something that is of varying importance. This was very much about these characters who had lived on this farm pretty much all of their lives. Hershel was very connected to the farm, and losing the farm and losing these people at the same time is going to mean a lot for him — as well as Maggie and Beth — in Season 3. It’s unfortunate to lose Jimmy and Patricia, but every character death is going to have ramifications for all of the other characters that continue on and each one of them is important in their own right.

TVLINE | Which surviving character made it off the farm by the skin of their teeth. In other words, did you come close to killing anyone else only to change your mind at the 11th hour?
This is going to sound coy, and I apologize for that, but almost all of them. One of the things that’s always been important to me with the Walking Dead comic book series is that you always be willing to get rid of every character at any moment if it serves the story. I’ve always tried not to grow any kind of attachment to any character. And also, there have been times where I’ve had big arcs plotted out for [someone] but at the moment it seemed like the right thing to do to completely get rid of the character. And now that we’re getting further and further into the show, and we’re able to tell the stories [with] high stakes, pretty much everything is on the table when we sit there in the writers room. There’s some pretty terrifying, crazy things discussed. And every character, at some point, we’ve talked about, “Now? Later? When are we going to do this?” It’s a dangerous show.

TVLINE | Some fans were grumbling about how there were long stretches this season without any major Walker sequences. Were you just saving your zombie budget for the finale?
It really comes down to storytelling. If you listen to music at maximum volume at all times, it eventually becomes quiet to you; you get used to it. We do stories where there aren’t a lot of zombies so that when there are a lot of zombies it’s that much more jarring and terrifying. If we had five zombies in every episode that did five cool things, it would eventually become white noise. So we have to bring it out, show it to you, get you terrified and then pull it away and watch the characters react to what they’ve just gone through… Lull the audience into a false sense of security. There’s obviously a budget — I mean, it’s TV. But the season is structured in a way that we know what’s coming and we know when to show our cards and when to hold our cards. It’s all part of an overall plan.

The Walking Dead‘s Other Dead Guy Speaks: “I Didn’t Want to Leave”

TVLINE | Let’s talk about Rick. As I was watching his big speech to the group I couldn’t decide if this was a man in the throes of a psychotic break or someone who was finally, for lack of a better turn of phrase, growing a pair. Which one was it for you?
I like to think at [all] times it could be 50/50. This world definitely takes a toll on you. Rick just murdered his best friend, his wife appears to be disgusted with him and, instead of going, “I’m really upset; let me figure out how I deal with it,” he turns around and he’s got nine people going, “We’re scared — what do we do?” He’s forced into this leadership role and, at the end of the episode, we see that he is taking this on and it is affecting him. And he’s growing darker. And he is saying, “Hey, you want me to be the leader? That’s fine. I’m going to be the leader. You don’t like it? Fend for yourself. Let’s see how you do.” He’s growing harsher in this world. And the series is always going to be about whether or not he can retain his humanity, or whether or not he is going to become some kind of hardened monster that really exists only to provide survival for him and his family.

TVLINELori’s disgust over Rick killing Shane confused me a little. Didn’t she just a few episodes ago all but order Rick to whack him?
A lot of that anger [she's expressing] could be directed at herself. I think she feels partially responsible for sending these two men on a path. That’s the moment where she found out that Shane was dead. And not only did she find out that Shane was dead, but her husband totally killed the guy! This was a family friend. This was a guy that used to come over on weekends and watch football in the house and things like that. It was a really emotional moment that is going to drive her a little batty. Having to handle those emotions and looking at the guy that kind of caused the situation, she’s not going to be considering, “Oh, yeah. I did this. I should calm down.” She has these emotions and she doesn’t know what to do with them.

TVLINE | What does having Andrea cut off from the group do for your from a storytelling standpoint moving into next season — and we’ll get to her run-in with Michonne in a second.
Andrea had a really interesting arc in the second season. We start off with her somewhat suicidal and upset that Dale wouldn’t allow her to remain in the CDC and die. And over the course of the season, we’ve shown her find a purpose for living, and also find the means to survive at all costs. And at the end of the season, we really put her to the test. She is out on her own. She is for all intents and purposes in the most danger out of anyone in the group by the end of the episode. And we’re going to be exploring that a little bit more in the third season. But really just putting her in the pressure-cooker situation and seeing how she fares and how she’s going to do and how she’s going to survive is going to be interesting thing to follow in the third season. We have some really cool stuff planned for Andrea.

Walking Dead Burning Q: Will “Zombie Otis” Be a Threat in Season 3?

TVLINE | The introduction of Michonne was an incredible moment, but I’m curious: Why did you decide not to show her face? Was that just an issue of the role not having been cast yet?
We thought that it would be a little bit more mysterious. And, also, in the interest of keeping these things secret, the casting would’ve been announced right away. And because it is such a short scene, we didn’t cast an actress; we used a stand-in. And as far as her relationship with Andrea goes, she cut the head off of a zombie. She could easily stab Andrea next in the first minutes of Season 3, so who knows what that relationship will be like?

TVLINE | Have you cast the role?
There will be announcements forthcoming… [THIS JUST IN: Find Out Who's Playing Michonne!]

TVLINEHow will the TV version of Michonne be similar/different from her comic book counterpart?
She will be very similar to her comic-book counterpart. Most of the characters as they’ve been translated into TV are pretty much exactly the same character. Andrea is Andrea, Rick is Rick and Michonne is going to be Michonne. Now, the stories that we’re going to tell with her are going to be somewhat different at times. The show has always followed the comic book to a large extent, it just has different divergences from time-to-time and we’re definitely going to continue that in the third season. But the fans have expectations for Michonne, and I can say with full knowledge that their expectations are going to be met. They need not worry.

TVLINE | Did you always know the season would end with her introduction? Did you ever consider, perhaps, teasing the Governor’s arrival instead?
There was a lot of stuff thrown around. It wasn’t really planned early on to have Michonne show up at the end of the season. I have to give credit to [executive producer] Glen Mazzara. He came into the writers room one day and was like, “We’ve got to add this scene. It’ll have so much punch. We have to build to this. It’ll be great. Let’s go ahead and introduce her now.” The original plan was to hold her for Season 3 and introduce her then.

TVLINE | The episode ended with the confirmation that Season 3 would be set in the prison. Not a big surprise but a cool reveal nonetheless.
What I really like about the transition from Season 2 to Season 3 as opposed to Season 1 to Season 2 transition is that when we were moving into Season 2 there were so many unknowns. All of the questions were, “Are we going to see the farm? Are they going to follow the comic?” And now that we’re moving into Season 3, we’ve seen Michonne. We’ve seen the prison. We know that that the Governor has been cast. So the fans really have a clear indication of what kind of things to expect in the third season and where we’re going and some of the stories that we may be telling if they’re familiar with the comic book series. Our third season is definitely going to be our best season yet. I’m really excited to get into it. It’s actually hard for me to do interviews about Season 2 because I’m like, “Oh my God, Season 3 blows this stuff out of the water. You just wait.” We’ve been working on Season 3 for a few months now. We’re wrapping up the first half and we’ve got everything nailed down. I can’t wait for people to see it.

TVLINE | Any other major characters aside from The Governor and Michonne that will be introduced in Season 3?
There are still some surprises around the corner. We wouldn’t be revealing so much in our final episode of Season 2 if we didn’t have so much more to reveal in the marketing [campaign] for Season 3 and also in the episodes when the season begins. There are a lot of surprises around the corner.

TVLINE | Will Season 3’s 16 episodes be broke up into two parts?
I don’t know if this is 100 percent confirmed, but the idea is we will do eight-and-eight. Getting eight-and-eight will almost be like doing two seasons a year, which is cool.


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354 Comments
  1. ev says:

    Also.. poor Rick.. he didn’t ask to be boss..he is so at the end of his rope, when peeps should be thankin him all they do is whine about him not tellin them they will all be walkers eventually..heavy is the head that wears the sheriff’s hat..dang..and he’s had cojones all along, he just was trying to be a nice leader and now he knows he’s gotta be hardcore..like Shane was but not as crazy…lol I like his meltdown at the end.. yeah u go ahead if u think u can do better.. not me man.. Team Rick all the way!!

  2. Steven fowler says:

    I think Angelina Jolie should play michonne … That would be amazing

  3. SniZnix says:

    What does the season 1 episode with them leaving the convienience store have to do with michonne?

  4. Jimmy says:

    What the deal with Lori? What did she think would happened if she kept playing with Shane and Rick. Is she trying pissed at Rick or is she made at herself for pushing them?

  5. SuperPope says:

    Its official Merle will be back in Season 3 in the flesh…confirmed

  6. We the reveal that everyone is infected, it makes sense in the first season when the shoulders where shooting people who hadnt turned. Maybe the government knew it was airborn and they where trying to stop the infection or at the least keep zombies from attacking there rear…

  7. Man D says:

    Dawn of the dead, 28 days later, resident evil…if u like zomies these are staples. What makes the walking dead different is the survival and build up of the characters. All the movies dont show the day to day struggle, they are all action no life. While I get bored at points too, ide rather see the rawness and struggle and for nonstop gore and butt kicking I pop on the dvd. What really gives me chills is the realism in the walking dead. So with ever character lost and gainedi found the core group, no matter who comes and goes, is the heart of the show. Rather than disect the show, like reading the lord of the rings or harry potter books before seeing the movie and being dissapointed, im going to take it for what it is at that moment and pick up the comics later. Just enjoy :)

  8. Taylor says:

    Some ppl are simply dumb. First off, there are NO holes left where Morgan and Duane are concerned. They were gonna meet Rick in Atl if they made it. Atl plans fell through. End of Morgan and Duane (as hinted at with Ruck’s final walkie call to them when the group left the city). There IS however a gaping hole left where Merle is concerned, so you ppl acting like “why are ppl asking about him? it’s expected to come across random ppl and never see them again during the apocalypse.” Well, that gaping hole in the plot is why. The writers made a point to show Merle cut his own arm off and escape the walkers for a reason. And it wasn’t to not show him again. There will be a reunion of brothers Merle and Daryl in season 3, whether good or bad will come of it. You ppl SHOULD be wondering how that reuniting goes, not IF Merle shows up again.

  9. Alyx says:

    the finale was   nothing spectacular and just over all let down. so much time wasted on idiotic  bs. this show is good, but i think its safe to say at this point we can stop comparing it to the  comic. as previously stated: shane should have died  earlier, carol is a lot younger character: sophia, dale, ottis, and others are alive. they didnt remain at the farm that long, cdc never happened, and everything was fast paced.
    my question is considering all the truly “dark” stuff that occurs during their residence at the prison how much will they portray on tv? if they cut to much out its going to ruin the experience and as far as im concerned they can kill them all off because they wont be the characters i have invested into.

  10. maggie says:

    i agree, carl is getting out of control too, turning into lil animal.

  11. Markus O Negative (R.I.P. Peter 4/14/10) says:

    I really liked the final, except for two things- Lori’s reaction to finding out that Rick killed Shane. Of course, her reaction could be played off that she was more upset that it was Carl that ‘put down’ the ‘Shane’ walker. She was upset that Carl was in danger, that Carl had to see his father kill someone, particularly a close family friend that was Shane, and that Carl was put in a place where he had to shoot and kill someone regardless of whether that person was already dead or not. Carl became a man, and Lori wasn’t ready for that to happen yet.

    The other thing- revealing the cause of the zombie outbreak. The thing that you see in any zombie story is that the leading cause is very much like a virus- ether bitten or killed while being eaten, the victim dies and comes back. But when it was revealed that there were people returning from the dead that didn’t get bitten and/or scratched, THAT should have stayed as a mystery. As seen in DAY OF THE DEAD, the survivors (scientist) tried to understand what was causing the dead to come back, only to find their research was not going anywhere, and by the end of the movie, you were left wondering that the three remaining survivors- last survivors in the world- would die on that little island eventually, as the human race became extinct. I think that the truth about everyone already being infected should have been withheld for at least another season. They would know about people returning that didn’t get bitten, which would set up a interesting mystery as the group tries to make it to a well secured place (the prison).

    This show seems to throw religion into the mix here and there, of which, I don’t know if it’s to be serious or to mock, because NO WHERE in the bible does it say “the dead will return to feed on the living.” In DAWN OF THE DEAD, there was a Haitian saying that a Voodoo priest says that goes “when there is no more room in hell, the dead will walk the earth”, which is NOT a Christian belief. The ‘resurrection’ and ‘rapture’ are suppose to happen ‘in a blink of an eye’, where both the living (believers) and those who went on before the living (deceased) would meet Jesus in the clouds quickly, so fast in fact, that it would seem as if people disappeared.The only two other ‘possible’ points in the bible is when the ‘four horsemen’ comes (death), but that will only mean that people will die. The other is on the day of judgment- when the seas and earth give up the dead to be judged and to be seen if they are in the lamb’s book of life…no zombie eating going on there.

    Season three should be dark, scary, hopeless, an edge of your seat fright that makes you jump every time you hear a noise in the dark, and wonder if there is something waiting for them just out there in the woods…one….ten….a thousand walkers. You don’t need actual people to come in and have walkers moving around to create the effect that something is possibly going on just out of sight (BLAIR WITCH). The season should also have someone die that would be unexpected, someone that NO ONE thought would die, and as season three comes to a cold, dark close and it seems that it is the end and there is no hope….POW!!! Randell’s group comes to the rescue…..

    ,,,or do they?

  12. Opencan says:

    Hey anyone who wants to read the comics free go to comixology.com or download the app and sign in to the account opencan
    Username opencan
    Password opencan
    It’s recommended to use the free app the walking dead for this account contribute and enjoy

  13. lee warren says:

    Never read comics, but find each episode unmissable. Agree, carol a liability, daryl wud neva gravitate towards her in reality. Prison seems gud choice for season 3 but hope it not for whole season lyk farm was. Is michionne a ninja type character, gud hearted or bad? She seems a bit less realistic than other survivors, bit too fantastical.

  14. joolz says:

    i love this show, cant wait for season 3, i think loris baby will b shanes not ricks i also think tht her babys blood will b the cure 2 the infection, i hope they dont kill off daryl i like him i think hes cool, i also think tht merle daryls brother will still b alive n hell b bk so will the guy n the lil boy u helped rick in first season will b bk 2 the cana just bring thm in thn no show thm without letin ppl know wots happend 2 thm, but i dunno thts just wot i think.

  15. Marcus says:

    when will the walking dead season 3 trailer be released?

  16. # 1 zombie lover says:

    Second time hearing the rumor that the walking dead turn into a movie which I think would be the utterly most awesome zombie movie of all time. I would hope that would be in 3D, continuing in letting us care getting to know the characters is a great. Some really slow transformations would be great, and maybe a story that could give us a little more background on how fast the outbreak started, which states and counties were the least impacted with the outbreak, and find how other survivors made it as well, and somehow with a answer that made sense that could bring in a complete circle and possibly giving us some hope that we would survive in the end with could also tie with our orginal characters would be nice!!!.

  17. Clementine says:

    Its killing me to know who that girl was who freed the zombies from the RV then ran out of the prison. Honestly, I think she is from the walking dead video game as Lilly. Because she took the RV in the game and in the comics, she kills the governor, so I think it’s Lilly.

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    I’m not very techincal but I can figure things out pretty fast.
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  19. wewewe says:

    According to the comic,the helicopter is not the governor,it is in fact a TV station crew or some sort of reporters who try to escape from Atalanta, but then was shot by the governor’s team…As for Merle,Morgan and Dwayne to show up,again,according to the comic,Morgan will be the one,but who knows…The interesting part is either they will bring in Tyrese or not,if yes, they will be a stronger team then it is in the comic considering they have T-dog and Daryl around too..Can’t believe we’ll need to wait 7 months for season 3 :yawn:

  20. Ari says:

    I would have liked to see Gina Torres in the role since you brought her name up. She can be a real badass, and also a big damn hero.

  21. wewewe says:

    I found out few episode on season 2 to be a little bit boring something with too much drama and talking, but then realize that zombie apocalypse doesn’t mean that you lost your feelings..If people really find a “safe” place to stay,they will definitely choose to,and during this moment,the best thing to do is to live as normal as possible..it kind of make sense..But I understand that sometimes people especially us guy like to have more action,killing zombies and stuff,just like watching left 4 dead TV show,but that’s just too unnatural.

  22. TDOG is Tyrese says:

    TDOG is Tyrese is Tyrese kjsdbfdabttTT-T-D

  23. stev says:

    the answer is left ambiguous because sometimes that makes for better stoytelling

  24. Chance says:

    He says the characters are similar to their comics counterparts, not that their stories are exactly the same.

    As for Dale being dead, the actor,Jeffrey DeMunn wanted to leave the show after Frank Darabont was forced out because they were close friends and had worked together many times before and he was unhappy about what happened. There was blind items about that for months.

  25. Carol Ann says:

    Awesome finale! I literally cheered when Michonne showed up. She was perfect! It looked like she walked right out of the comic. Best.Scene.Ever! I was so excited to see the jail too. My prediction (sorry if this has been posted before, I have never read it elsewhere) is that next season we will run into the Governor and he will be someone we have forgotten from season one (someone who might be looking to exchange a hand for a hand). Excellent second season, I only wish it were longer! Oh and the Facebook fan page is cracked out. It will not let me post, it is asking me for a credit card. Ummmmmm, NO!

  26. Murphy M. says:

    Who will die in season 3…….
    1). Beth(Killed by one of the inmates).
    2). All of the inmates in the prison
    3). T-Dog(Executed by Merle who is the Governers right hand).
    4). Carol(Executed by Merle).
    5). Merle(Killed by Daryl bc of Carol).
    6). Herschal(Killed by Governer).
    7). Grimmes baby(Killed by Merle or the Gov.).
    7). Governer and all of his soldiers
    Who will live in Season 3…….
    1). Rick
    2). Carl
    3). Lori?(This is 50/50).
    4). Michonne
    5). Andrea
    6). Glenn
    7). Maggie?(50/50 also).
    8). Daryl(i am scared to say they might kill him off in a heroic way and if that happens im done with this show).

    These are my predictions for how season 3 will turn out, and most likely they will be wrong, but all i can say is i am stoked to watch Season 3. (I am also meeting Norman Reedus/Daryl Dixon at Chicago comic on this summer, can not wait).

    1). Rick
    2). Carl
    3). Lori ?
    4). Michonne
    5). Glen
    6). Maggie ?
    7). Andrea
    8). Daryl ( i am scared to death that they will kill him off in this season and if they do im done with this show).

    W

  27. Sally Kay says:

    Couldn’t agree more. What do you expect from a fledgling network?

  28. Brodie says:

    Merle is not the Governor. I’m sure he’ll figure into the whole Governor arc, but he’s definitely not the Governor.

  29. Dylan says:

    Yes still going, and no they do not. There is a character who claims to know how it happens but they end up finding out he was lying the whole time

  30. Ian says:

    Would that have made any sense if the showrunners DIDN’T say why Lori reacted the way she did? No. We all would’ve tore our hair out because Lori is shown being extremely angry at Rick not herself.

  31. tripoli says:

    Umm, no.

  32. tripoli says:

    It’s Shane. Pay attention.

  33. Pam says:

    I’m thrilled to see a 50+ woman like myself who is so obsessed with this show! My grandson had the TV autotuned to the season 1 marathon & I started watching as Rick walked out of the hospital and I’m totally hooked! I even have my 73 year old brother & sister in law watching it. Fantastic show with just enough different from the comics to keep the spoilers to a minimum.

  34. pattid says:

    I was thinking the same thing…when Rick said they all had the virus Lori sort of looked down at her abdomen. Made me think she was anticipating her baby to be born a zombie.

  35. ev says:

    yes it was self preservation Rick knew Shane was gonna off him, hell he even let the thought of let him do me enter his head..that was so hard, i can’t imagine it, but Shane left him no options and I also think Shane was too miserable with himself to wanna live..but damn if i did not SCREAM making my hubs jump out of his seat when Rick stabbed him…lmao!! it was sooooo dramatic.. i so love this show!!!

  36. Me says:

    Yes. Every rumor you’ve ever heard is true.

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