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[NYCC 2012] The Walking Dead Panel: Cast hails Season 3 as 'best season yet'

The Walking Dead (TV Show) Screenshot - 1123456

The third season of AMC's The Walking Dead is set to premiere tonight and there is plenty of hype surrounding it - at least judging from the extremely large crowd of fans gathered at New York Comic Con. With the remaining group of survivors headed to the prison; the introduction of The Governor, whom fans of the graphic novel may recognize as the evil leader of a town called "Woodbury"; and the addition of Michonne,  a sword-wielding badass; fans of The Walking Dead have plenty to look forward to in tonight's episode.

Judging from yesterday's panel, they have every right to be excited because Season 3, according to the cast, is "the best season yet" of The Walking Dead. And tonight's episode is going to "hit the ground running".

“I think everyone would agree after the way we ended the second season, backing off in any way and slowing the pace down would have been a mistake,” The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman offered to a crowd full of cheering fans. “I think that this is something that showrunner, Glen Mazzara feels really strongly about. We kind of hit the ground running and it just kind of goes from there. It’s just absolutely nonstop. We really come back in a big way and I’m really excited for all of you guys to see it.”

A brief clip of tonight's episode was shown, revealing just how much all of the characters have evolved since we first met them. Not to spoil too much, but the clip began with the group busting into a house to scour for supplies. Rick, Daryl, T-Dog, and a surprising Carl cleared out a house of walkers. Beth, Glenn, Carol, Hershel, Maggie, and a pregnant and showing Lori then entered. There was a different feel to them this time around, almost like they were moving and thinking as one, rather than individuals. They all finally seemed on the same page with one another. 

the walking dead season 3

“It’s been pretty intense this season,” said Andrew Lincoln, who plays the group leader Rick. “I made the fatal error this year of going into the writers’ room and saying ‘what do you think Rick’s breaking point is?’ Well, that’s the worst thing I could have said. We find out this season. It’s been brutal, it’s been intense."

All of the characters seem different, but perhaps none of the characters have evolved more than Carl (played by Chandler Riggs), who Andrew Lincoln (Rick) described as "killing it" this season.

"The character development this season... you meet this group of people and they have evolved beyond recognition," said Lincoln, adding, "especially Carl. Channing is killing it in every sense of the word this season."

Be prepared to see a much more darker Carl than past seasons, according to actor Chandler Riggs, who seemed to be the most popular during the panel.

“It’s really cool for me to play more of a dark character,” Riggs said. “It’s like playing two different characters. From season one to season three, you can definitely see the changes from that. And it’s really, really so much fun.”

Aside from Riggs getting the majority of questions asked by young fans who Kirkman suggested were perhaps too young to be watching the show or reading the comic, some of the other cast spoke a little about their roles in The Walking Dead, particularly with how they've changed in Season 3.

“I think Daryl feels value in these people relying on him,” said actor Norman Reedus. “I think this is his new family and he’d do anything to keep them alive. He’s more sensitive and more aggressive at the same time.”

One particular character who has caught the attention of fans has been Michonne, played by newcomer Danai Gurira.

The walking dead michonne

“I think the moment that people go through when they become survivors... I think Michonne is a bit of a thriver,” she explained. “Getting from pre-apocalyptic world to post-apocalyptic world, whatever happens there is something where you do or you die."

"Her choice to ‘do’ was a very intense and powerful choice that allowed her to recreate herself into a formidable force in this realm. One that is not going to go down without a fight and figure out how to actually make the realm work in her favor. Or at least make sure she’s ahead of the game.”

Another newcomer this season is David Morrissey, who plays a character known as The Governor. Although many think of him as an evil villain, Morrissey feels it "depends upon what you want it to be."

"I don’t think whether anyone says that about themselves.... He runs a community called Woodbury and it’s a great place... if you abide by the rules.”

Also on stage was Michael Rooker, who many of you may recognize as Merle Dixon, the older brother of Daryle who went missing following his being handcuffed to a pipe in the third episode of the series. Rooker didn't spoil anything about his return this season, but did explain Merle's appeal as his character being "a touch a**hole."

The Walking Dead season 3 Merle

Overall, there seems to be a lot of hype surrounding this season of The Walking Dead. Whether or not it lives up to that hype remains to be seen. But one thing is for sure, tonight's episode has "more zombie kills in this episode, than in all of season one."

Tune in tonight, October 14, for the premiere of The Walking Dead season 3 on AMC.

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Matt Liebl You can follow Senior News Editor Matt Liebl on Twitter @Matt_GZ. He likes games, sports, musicals, and his adorable dog, Wrigley. And his wife.
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