CCI: Kirkman and Lincoln Discuss "The Walking Dead's" Third Season

Consider it another milestone for AMC's "The Walking Dead" -- the hit TV show was upgraded to Hall H status at Comic-Con International in San Diego.

Immediately following Hall H's hour of rollicking zombie goodness, the same group of actors and creators including "Walking Dead" creator Robert Kirkman and star Andrew Lincoln, who plays Rick Grimes, assembled across the street at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront for a smaller sit-down with select Comic-Con media including CBR News.

Lincoln boasted to the assembled press corps that he does indeed have the coolest job in the world: shooting zombies.

"It's changed my life in as much that I don't want to ever do any other job, because I love this one. I love playing this character and I love my day job. My job is the coolest job on the planet. I go to work and shoot zombies for a living," Lincoln said. "I call America and Georgia my home now. We have a very extraordinary life where we live more in America than in England. This is kind of extraordinary. We do this amazing thing, this incredible job, the best job I've had, with amazing practitioners and a wonderful crew."

In the show's third season, a new setting will take center stage: the town of Woodbury, which includes a former prison turned zombie safe haven. Don't expect prison walls to make life normal, Kirkman warned.

"There is no normal in this show. It's going to be very different from what we've seen before, just like season two was very different from season one," he said. "This is a natural progression in these characters' journey, and in finding some way to survive in this world. I'll say it's not all birthday cake and surprises once they get to the prison. It's still very dangerous."

Kirkman was asked how the addition of Glen Mazzara as executive producer, originally brought on by former showrunner Frank Darabont, has shaped season three.

"Look, I will say that the second half of the second season is a good indication of Glen's style, and how that really ramped up in a really cool way and was much more fast-paced, a little more gritty. I think that definitely continues into season three," Kirkman said of Mazzara's style. "Bringing in his sensibilities from 'The Shield' over to this show has been a tremendous benefit. Just working under his leadership, which all of us have been doing [and] watching him craft this show into what it has become. I think he's a remarkable human being and is doing a fantastic job and I couldn't be more proud the work we've done on season three. I think once you get to see it all you'll be blown away."

Kirkman stopped and said what he was saying sounded like nonsense that anyone would say to a group of reporters, but promised that wasn't the case.

"I'm constantly shocked by the things we're able to pull of, and it's due in large part to things [Mazzara's] doing," he concluded.

Kirkman was asked if he's ever "held back" on a character for personal reasons. He admitted that he had, especially in the comic book.

"Glen has spoken publicly about how Hershel was originally going to die at the end of the second season. That was something that we came up with in the writing room, we really liked what it did, how it laid out the story, how it factored into the Shane/Randall scenes -- it was very much involved in how Randall escaped and when Shane went after him," Kirkman said. "But as we came up with it, we got into the scripting process, it just wasn't working. We said we can't lose this guy. He represents a lot of things. The scene wasn't coming together the way we wanted it to, so he gained a reprieve," Kirkman said. "It's happened in the comic a lot. There have been multiple times where I've been building toward something. A lot of times when you're plan a story you don't get into the nitty gritty of making it all make sense. You say, 'It'll be cool when this event happens.' As I'm working toward that event, you start noticing the characters being bent towards that event. I'm always trying to be mindful of that. If I'm stretching the characters out of their comfort zone, or making them not behave the way they should behave in order to get to something, I cut it."

One character that has had his comfort zone challenged over and over again is Lincoln's Rick Grimes. Calling him "the greatest character I've had the privilege of playing," Lincoln said by season three, he doesn't know if he's a good guy or a jerk, but he knows he's no superhero.

"He's certainly more uncompromising. It's not a democracy anymore. He's sick and tired of people dragging their heels. It's at this point, he's gone through his worst 48 hours since the killing of Shane. He had to kill his best friend for this group of people. He's furious, and he's conflicted," Lincoln said of the character. "The great thing about this character is, I don't see him as a superhero at all. I think the great thing about the graphic novel, the thing that really intrigued me, was that the central character is a man who begins in one place as a sheriff, he couldn't be more the embodiment of law and order -- and he gets thrown into this leadership role, and he has to make these hard decisions.

"Some of them are wrong, some of them are bad and some of them are great," the actor continued. "And that's the fascinating thing, you're still rooting for this guy who hasn't [made] some of the greatest decisions, but you feel some allegiance because he's still driven by a moral center."

Lincoln raved about the teaser trailer the creators did for season three, a teaser that contains no dialogue.

"I think it's one of the best, it's brilliant. You learn absolutely where this group are within four, five minutes: they've survived. And they've survived because of Rick," Lincoln said. "They know he's the leader, and they've trusted him. They become this tight-knit family that knows each other and reads each other's signals. That's why there's no dialogue. You also find out the pressure they're under. It's a big factor, certainly in the first six episodes. The pressure they're under is enormous."

Stay tuned to CBR News for more on "The Walking Dead" Season 3.

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