'Walking Dead' writer Robert Kirkman talks about tonight's game-changing season finale, 'Beside the Dying Fire'

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Image Credit: Gene Page/AMC

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Speaking of Shane’s death, in the comic book he is shot and buried but then Rick subsequently digs him up and kills him again, when he learns you don’t have to be bitten to turn into a zombie. I’ve always thought was one of the creepiest and oddly moving sequences in the saga. You’ve said before it’s fun to change things up on the TV show but is it also tough to lose things like that?
That’s an interesting thing to analyze. It’s a good point. I agree that story in the comic book is definitely the kind of thing I would want to see in the television show. The problem is that in the comic book we did not have “the Jenner whisper,” okay? So the Jenner whisper is tied into the fact that Shane came back while he was above ground  and that’s when Carl shot him. Now the trade-off is, Rick killed Shane and, in the comic book, Carl killed Shane. By having him come back as a zombie, you still get the moment of Carl shooting Shane, which is cool. It was a juggling act. There are cool things we’d like to do from the comic book but there are things set in the show that make that a little complicated. If we hadn’t had the Jenner we might have done the burying and digging up stuff.

I have to note that, even during a zombie apocalypse, people are still making jokes about Asian drivers.
[Laughs] Leave it to Daryl Dixon.

I imagine Merle’s got a few of those, too.
Uh, if we ever see him again. You never know! It seems likely he could pop up in season 3. But I’m not going to comment.

Despite the mayhem at the farm, I suspect a lot of fans of the comic book will be most excited by the arrival of Michonne. I assume that’s her and not some other cowled person leading around a couple of chained zombies?
That’s definitely Michonne, yes.

A lot of people unfamiliar with the comic book will be wondering why on earth she is keeping company with a pair of undead ghouls.
Well, that’s a fun mystery and that’s the kind of stuff that drives you to check out season 3. It is really jarring for someone who isn’t familiar with the comic book to see a woman with two armless, jawless zombies carrying a katana sword. That’s not something you would expect to see in this show, thus far. But I think it’s a really important message to send to the audience. I like to think of it as sticking your flag into the ground and saying, “Ah, you haven’t seen anything yet!” It gives you a sense that season 3 is really going to go into some cool places.

Have you cast the part of Michonne yet? We didn’t see her face, so I wasn’t sure if that was the actress who will be playing the role, or a key grip, or whatever.
It’s very hard to keep these kind of things secret and the casting announcements are sometimes the things that spill things. We’ve been very careful with Michonne and we should be announcing the casting very soon. (UPDATE: Very soon, as in right after the finale aired.)

In all the excitement I almost forgot that we saw a helicopter at the start of the show.
That’s true. And that’s also a nod to the helicopter Rick spotted in the premiere episode. So maybe that wasn’t a hallucination on his part and maybe there will be another nod to that at some point in the future.

In the comic book, the survivors spend a long time at a prison which looks very similar to the structure we saw at the end of the show.
That definitely appears to be what it is. You know, between seasons 1 and 2 we got a lot of questions: Where are we going? What are we doing? Are we going to see the farm? What can I expect in season 2? I like the fact that this season has ended in a way that says: You’re going to see Michonne! You know that the Governor’s been cast! We’ve seen the prison! You kind of know what’s on the horizon. There’s some really cool things ahead and people should be very excited for season 3. I know a lot of the things that are ahead and I’m kind of blown away.

Read more:
‘Walking Dead’ writer Robert Kirkman to reveal origins of zombie-slayer Michonne in new comic
‘Walking Dead’ showrunner talks finale, controversies: ‘There’s more bloodshed coming’
‘The Walking Dead Social Game’ will devour Facebook in April
‘The Walking Dead’ Recaps and Episode Guide

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