'Walking Dead': The Governor's Here -- Now What?

The Walking Dead Governor Zombie Skulls - H 2012
Gene Page/AMC

The Walking Dead Governor Zombie Skulls - H 2012

[Warning: This story contains major spoilers from The Walking Dead comics.]

"We play very fast and loose with this material from Robert Kirkman's work, and it's important to stay true to the spirit of the original work. We're going to make it our own, and I guarantee that this is a different story. People will be very surprised at how we're choosing to tell the story."

That's how The Walking Dead showrunner Glen Mazzara responds to questions about whether or not Lori's (Sarah Wayne Callies) story line will mirror the deadly events in the comic book series during the zombie drama's third season. 

For readers of Kirkman's Image/Skybound comics series on which the AMC drama is based, the arrival of the Governor signals a particularly gruesome period in the series that's marked by rape, torture and the death of Rick's beleaguered wife and newborn daughter.

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Now that the zombie drama has reached that moment with the arrival of David Morrissey as the Governor, will the series feature some of the incredibly dark portions of Kirkman's comics in which the iconic villain plays a direct role?

As the series continues to drastically differentiate itself from its source material -- Shane outlived his comic counterpart; Dale died early and Hershel's leg was amputated instead -- The Hollywood Reporter turned to showrunner Glen Mazzara to get the scoop on whether the Andrew Lincoln starrer would feature five pivotal events from the comics and how the writers are approaching them.

Cutting off Rick's hand: The Governor amputates Rick's right hand while drilling him for information about his community of people after Rick, Michonne and Glenn stumble upon Woodbury after witnessing a helicopter crash.
Mazzara: "We're going to take our time telling that story line and the events of the comic you can see are already diverging with the series with the idea that Andrea and Michonne are the ones who find the helicopter crash and go in and are welcomed in Woodbury. Everything is game; there are a lot of powerful scenes from Robert's book and anything we use organically fits into the story were telling."

Michonne's rape: As payback for amputating Rick's hand, Michonne attacks the Governor and bites off his ear. She's then taken captive by the Governor and brutally raped and tortured.
Mazzara: "Right now, the Governor and Michonne are just getting to know each other. They obviously already hate each other and she doesn't trust him. That's a long-running animosity that we intend to get a lot of story out of. Those things are plausible within our universe but we have to earn them."

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The Governor's arena battles: Designed as a form of amusement for the denizens of Woodbury, the Governor stages intense arena battles where residents battle amid a sea of walkers -- for fun. Michonne eventually winds up becoming a gladiator as a "break" from his abuse.
Mazzara: "That's something that I think people can look forward to this season. I'd hope people would think it's an exciting scene. I won't give away who could be in there but it could be anybody."

Michonne's vengeance: Freed from the Governor's torture, Michonne -- instead of returning back to the prison -- visits her tormentor's apartment, where she mutilates his genitals, severs his arm with a drill (healing it with a blowtorch) and scoops out his left eye with a spoon. The kicker: He survives and returns to the prison seeing his own vengeance.
Mazzara: "Right now she has no reason to do any of these things since she just met the guy. Let's go down the path and watch this relationship develop and give her a reason to have such a hatred and vendetta. We're just getting started. The Governor-Michonne arc is a long story and we want to take our time and do it right and not burn through it and get it over with too quickly. We love these characters and hope they're around for a long time."

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Lori's death: In the comics, Lori and her newborn daughter, Judith, both perish in the Governor's assault on the prison. During the attack, Lori -- carrying the baby in her arms -- is shot in the abdomen when trying to flee the fierce battle with Rick and Carl leading the way.
Mazzara: "As of now, the Governor doesn't even know the prison exists. The story of the season is him and Rick learning about each other and marching toward war. That Lori event happens during his attack and we still have a lot of story to tell. We have had conversations about whether every character should survive the season. I think Lori is looking for redemption and now that Rick has finally gotten to what he considers a safe place for her to have the baby, they need to enter into the next chapter of their life. I think Lori is looking for redemption; I don't think anybody is looking to punish her."

What are you looking forward to seeing play out on screen? Hit the comments with your thoughts. The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on AMC. Check out a teaser from Sunday's episode, below. 

Email: Lesley.Goldberg@thr.com; Twitter: @Snoodit