AMC announced over the weekend that Season 3 of The Walking Dead will consist of 16 episodes, an increase from this season's 13. The first season of the hit drama, based on the long-running Image Comic series by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore and Charlie Adlard, contained just six episodes.
Like the current season, which returns Feb. 12, Season 3 will be split, Zap2it reports. The show will also add two new writers: Nichole Beattie (Rubicon, John from Cincinnati) and Sang Kim (Crash, Hawthorne).
The announcement came out of the Television Critics Association's winter press tour, where showrunner Glen Mazarra was asked about his predecessor Frank Darabont's rejected idea for the Season 2 premiere -- a one-off episode delving into the backstory of the undead soldier Rick Grimes encountered in the tank at the end of the pilot.
“The story was one we discussed internally; that was Frank’s pitch and it was one of many ideas examined in the writers’ room,” Deadline reports Mazarra told journalists. “It just felt like a stall and we wanted to get to our characters. We have a lot of ideas like that. … That was not something that was rejected by another party. That’s not accurate.” TVLine has the executive producer adding: “It was under Frank’s stewardship that we moved off of that storyline. Frank moved off of that storyline.”
The Walking Dead returns Sunday, Feb. 12 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on AMC.