After spending the bulk of the six-episode first season trekking through the undead en route to the Center for Disease Control where the group had hoped to find answers, the survivors are grappling with the dead end and hopelessness they encountered after Jenner blew up what could have been a long-term home for the group.
With Season 2 bowing Sunday at 9 p.m. with a special 90-minute premiere, The Hollywood Reporter goes behind the scenes on the Atlanta set – and gets the scoop from executive producers Gale Anne Hurd and comic book creator Robert Kirkman to find out what’s ahead for the not-so-merry group.
RICK, LORI, SHANE (Andrew Lincoln, Sarah Wayne Callies, Jon Bernthal)
Season 2 will see Lincoln’s Rick question his leadership skills, with the decisions he makes along the way serving as a constant source of friction among the rest of the group.
“Rick is going to question his abilities as both a leader and a father,” Hurd tells THR. “Anyone who isn’t just power mad, but wants to do right by his family and by the group that he’s leading is going to wonder about his place in it.”
With flashbacks popping up in early Season 2 episodes, Kirkman tells THR that the series will explore more of the characters’ pre-apocalypse relationships.
“We’re going to learn a lot about Rick and Lori’s relationship from the past and given things that went on with Shane – we’ll be defining their relationships a lot more clearly moving forward,” he says.
How Lori handles her feelings for Rick as well as her indiscretions will be something she struggles with that ultimately could impact the group.
“One of the big dramatic sources of dramatic tension in the piece is obviously the love triangle at this point,” Hurd says. “Rick isn’t aware of what happened, he was ‘out of the picture,’ presumed dead between Lori and Shane.”
DARYL (Norman Reedus)
Daryl will become a bit of a secondary leader among the group this season, while others will ponder branching off and going their separate ways. “Each person essentially faces their own kind of looking inward and what is that abyss they’re staring into,” Hurd says.
Adds Kirkman: “We’re going to see [the new way of life] changing Daryl in some very big ways this season.”
GLENN (Steven Yeun)
While Kirkman says the comic books are merely a guide for the series, one thing will remain the same: Glenn and Maggie’s attraction. “It’s not going to be simple, it’s going to be complicated by some things that clearly are not in the comic book,” he says. “What I love is the fact that as a viewer you get to see that as long as love remains, as long as there is a possibility of that, hope remains, hope is still present, there is a reason to continue.”
DALE, ANDREA (Jeffrey DeMunn, Laurie Holden)
While Dale may have had noble intentions in forcing Andrea to save herself in order to save him from the CDC explosion, Kirkman says Andrea won’t be forgetting her failed suicide attempt and forgiving Dale anytime soon.
“She’s going to come out of that wanting to be able to protect herself,” Kirkman teases. “We’ll definitely see the beginning of the evolution to the character that she is in the comic book — the fearless sharpshooter that she became — and that evolution is going to be something to watch this season.”
Kirkman notes that the zombies “might be featured a bit differently” in Season 2. “If anything, they look better,” he joked. “Everybody involved has learned a lot from the first season.”
While the zombies may seem faster and possibly smarter in early Season 2 episodes, Hurd says they remain driven by the same thing.
“Regardless of how complex of a creature you are, survival is going to be the No. 1 motivator,” Hurd notes. “Thank God we don’t have to deal with sex among the zombies, that’s something I wouldn’t want to see. We don’t have to see that, but it’s a powerful urge. They rely on the senses that they’ve got to try to find food.”
Says Kirkman: “The second season is going to far exceed expectations, and it’s going be a pretty awesome season of TV. I think there’s some pretty crazy twists and turns along the way that people won’t be expecting. I think it’s going to blow people away.”
The Walking Dead Season 2 premieres Sunday at 9 p.m. on AMC.
Click here for more spoilers and to see David Strick’s behind-the-scenes photo gallery.