The war between Woodbury and the prison has been building for 16 weeks and AMC’s The Walking Dead will finally (finally!) deliver Sunday when the zombie drama’s third year comes to a close with an episode that promises to add to the season’s rapidly growing body count.
“It’s a full-blown war,” star Norman Reedus (Daryl) previews of the final hour of season three. “We’ve seen fights going on, but not like the finale. The finale is massive.”
After starting the season as a good-natured leader, the Governor (David Morrissey) has turned into the eye patch-sporting villain depicted in the Robert Kirkman comics on which the series is based. Over the course of the season, he’s turned friends (Andrea, Milton) into enemies, and made enemies out of just about everyone else (Rick, Maggie, Glenn, Hershel, Michonne and Daryl). So should the Governor join Merle, T-Dog, Lori and company among the season’s departed? And who should be the one to off him?
“It’s a very dangerous world and things are just getting more dangerous, as Rick and the Governor are on this huge collision course,” Kirkman tells The Hollywood Reporter. “Something bad is going to happen to one of them; we’ll see where things go.”
During the penultimate episode of the season, Rick (Andrew Lincoln) confessed he was considering handing Michonne (Danai Gurira) over to the Governor in a bid for peace. Instead, as he’ll likely find out, Merle (Michael Rooker) paid the price for trying to take down the Woodbury leader solo and now forcing the prison community to vote: stay and fight or pack up and move out.
“She should have killed him a long time ago!” says Reedus, whose Daryl would have ample reason to whack the Governor after his role in his brother’s death. “Everyone wants the Governor to die because of who he is; that would be justice.”
Morrissey, however, is fairly confident that the Governor has the skills and gravitas to make it through the battle. “If anyone is going to survive, it’s going to be him,” Morrissey tells THR with a laugh. Lincoln, on the other hand, is less confident about Rick’s chances in the imminent conflict. “After Lori died, I think Rick lost about 20 percent,” he jokes of his character’s odds at making it out alive, despite his most recent strides in coping with visions of Lori. “I’d say he’s at 50-50.”
For her part, Gurira says Michonne — who has been public enemy No. 1 with the Governor since putting down his zombie daughter, Penny — won’t go down easy. “She’s never going to go down without a fight. The Governor would be over if Andrea hadn’t walked in and this whole thing would be over,” she says, noting the trio’s first conflict when Andrea (Laurie Holden) saved her then boyfriend from death by katana sword. As for Michonne’s survival odds, Gurira says it’s a coin toss but she “might have a decent shot.”
Holden hopes Milton (Dallas Roberts) will come up big when push comes to shove after turning on the Governor and burning down the pit of walkers he was planning to unleash on Rick’s group. “Milton needs to find his wings,” Holden says. “He really believed in the Governor as a leader, as Andrea did, and the more he sees, he realizes that it’s not something he can be a part of because he’s a good man.”
Since Andrea has seemingly taken the place of Michonne in the Governor’s “rape room” featured in the comic series, Holden rates Andrea’s odds at “50-50.” “Does Andrea have to die? Absolutely not. It’ll be interesting if The Walking Dead goes for a nihilistic ending, that’s a possibility,” she tells THR. If there’s a hopeful ending, then it’s not. It depends on the tone they’re going to choose.”
Previews for the season finale have indicated that Rick and the prison’s inhabitants will pack up their belongings — perhaps indicating an unwillingness to take on the Governor — but other images elude to the gang potentially mulling a surprise (Morgan-inspired?) attack on the Woodbury army after they invade the prison.
Producers have said Carl (Chandler Riggs) has a big story line coming in the back-half of the season, which thus far has yet to materialize after the child soldier questioned Rick repeatedly earlier this season. So could Carl wind up being the one to save the day a full season after “Where’s Carl” became one of the show’s central memes?
“He’s a live wire. Equally, he’s become a vital, instinctive soldier. Look at how competent and independent he was in taking Morgan out when he thought he was a threat. He’s making a lot of calls independent of Rick and that is going to come to blows at some point,” Lincoln says of his on-screen son. “Seeing a boy turning into a soldier is one of the most exciting stories. A child’s reasoning with a gun is terrifying. There’s nothing more scary.”
While it’s unlikely that the series would kill off its central character in Lincoln’s Rick Grimes, Kirkman maintains anything is possible. “I’ll admit that he is definitely the thematic core, the character we met first, and the character whose journey we’ve been following. It’s an unexpected series, so who really knows,” he says.
Then again, there’s always Reedus’ theory: “I bet the Governor wimps out and shoots himself. We all want to kill him, but who deserves that kill? We all deserve it, but I’m rooting for Daryl to do it,” he says with a laugh.
The Walking Dead‘s season finale airs Sunday at 9 p.m. on AMC. Hit the comments with your thoughts on who you think will (and should) survive.