'Walking Dead' Season 3: Robert Kirkman, Norman Reedus, Lauren Cohan, Michael Rooker Talk Show’s New Direction (New Pics, New Trailer)
Can you feel it? That tingling on the back of your neck? You aren't imagining things: The season three premiere of AMC's hit post-apocalyptic drama "The Walking Dead" is now less than a month away. (Season three trailer, new character portraits below)
Based off the monthly black-and-white comic book series written by Robert Kirkman, "The Walking Dead" follows a gang of lost souls just trying to survive day-to-day life in a zombie-ridden wasteland. The first two seasons of the AMC series have been hugely-successful. And after the season two premiere breaking cable ratings records in the 18-49 demographic AMC renewed the show for a third season.
Since then, AMC has announced a slew of new information about the third season including the news that this season will contain an extended episode order of 16 episodes.
Creators have also revealed that season three will introduce many new characters, and contain some shocking deaths of beloved characters. Really, just more of what we've come to expect and love from the gore-happy series. Fan-boy "Walking Dead" re-cap show "Talking Dead" announced that the new cast would include David Morrissey as The Governor, Danai Gurira had been cast as Michonne, and that Michael Rooker (the beloved and hated Merle) would also return in the new season.
Creator Kirkman confirmed recently the third season will be split into two halves with the first eight episodes set to premiere on October 14, 2012, and the other eigh episodes to air in early spring 2013.
Despite the new impending dangers the survivors will face this season, they will have to do it without one of their main protectors. As we saw in the last episodes of season two, the mentally unstable Shane Walsh (Jon Bernthal), was killed by group leader Rick ( and then re-killed by Carl) after he attempted a coup on Rick -- until then his best friend -- to become group's new leader.
With Shane gone, it looks like everyone will have to step up their zombie-killing game - including Darryl, who may be skilled with a crossbow, but isn't so much when it comes interacting with other living beings.
For some -- like Norman Reedus' Daryl Dixon -- being out of the confines of Hershel's farm is nothing new. But for other characters like Lauren Cohan's Maggie it will be quite an adjustment.
"What's exciting for Maggie now is she's still trying to find a sense of joy in what they're doing and joy in the victory of finding a safe-hold or in taking out some walkers," Cohan says. "She still stops to smell the roses when she can but it's ruthless and violent. The group before was on the road but now she's joined them on this and they're much more overwhelmed with the amount of walkers. She's still a farm girl at her core but she's seen a lot of death."
Rough 'n tumble Daryl, meanwhile, will face a different set of challenges as the group adjusts to life without one of its most dependable guardians: Shane.
"With the turn of how things are going with the apocalypse, he's opening himself up to people and being respected in other ways and finding reasons to fight for certain people and be apart of a group," Reedus says. "It's a big deal for him. With Shane being gone, there's more responsibilities ... but Daryl doesn't want the responsibility of taking over a group, he's just trying to fit in."
According to oddly-named comicbookmovie.com, "Walking Dead" season one vet Michael Rooker (Merle) is excited, and frankly, surprised as everyone else his character is back for the third season. Rooker clearly relishes working with producer Frank Darabont.
After filming Season one, did you have any clue on Merle's fate?
Honestly? No. I didn't have a clue....and I'm still trying to figure it out. [laughs]
Merle was an original character to the TV Show. How did you go about making this character your own?
The character is my own. I mean, the source material was amazing and I was able to simply tap into my southern upbringing and let the character flow from there. I'm very fortunate to work with such great material and actors and crew...and I think as a result it's been some of the best work I've done in my career.
Merle has a very explicit nature. Has anything you acted out so far made you uncomfortable?
Nah.....I mean being uncomfortable is a good thing for an actor. How I feel as a person can't be allowed to influence all of what I do as a character. And Merle is definitely a character.
The last time we saw Merle, he was a figment of Daryl's imagination. Will Season three's Merle be very different from that "ghost"?
Delusion or not, Merle will definitely let his feelings be known [laughs]
"The Walking Dead" season two Netflix premiere has been announced for Sept. 30. "The Walking Dead" returns to TV Sunday, Oct. 14 at 9 p.m. on AMC.