'The Walking Dead': Robert Kirkman on tonight's midseason premiere and the unexpected return of [SPOILER]

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We’ve seen Merle doing such terrible things on the show. Is he a redeemable character? Is that even a question we should be worrying about?
Definitely. That’s one of the core aspects of the Walking Dead. Are you going to lose your humanity? And, once you lose your humanity, can you be pulled back? I think Daryl is a big part of that. Is he going to be able to make his brother a productive member of society? Or are they going to go off into the woods and is he going to spiral out of control like Merle has? That’s a great question to ask and I can’t wait to see where we go with that. As if I don’t already know.

Merle’s use of, let us say, “enhanced interrogation techniques” on Glenn seems to have been a turning point in his character. He was really in Rick’s face this episode.
I think you’re going to see a very different Glenn in this half of the season and I think that’s a really exciting thing. I can’t wait for the audience to get to those moments and see the phenomenal work that Steven Yeun has done. Every character on the show is transforming, they’re growing, they’re changing, and I think Glenn is a character who’s going to have an awful lot of growth by the end of this season.

Every character seemed to have his or her moment this episode. Were you conscious of the need to remind viewers about the identities of all the characters, coming back from the break?
Yeah, there’s a little bit of craft to that. We’re always writing, well aware of the midseason break. We do treat the midseason finale like an actual finale and we do treat the episode returning as somewhat of a premiere. So we are very mindful of that. Also, I’ve got to give props to Evan Reilly who handled this episode and also handled our first episode back in season 2, after the break. He’s really a go-to guy that always knocks it out of the park and brings us back in style.

Is Beth crushing a little on Rick? Or is that my imagination?
You could be seeing something there. I don’t want to spoil anything. But there’s definitely things going on, maybe involving Beth.

Andrea gave a very rousing speech, which was fun to witness.
I’m really happy that we’ve finally gotten to that material, too. You hear all the fan reaction: “Where’s Andrea? Where’s that bad a—character that we’ve known?” We’ve been building to this and now we’re finally here. I mean, the reason that the Governor is so entranced with her is because he sees her as a strong leader and a partner in his whole Woodbury experiment. That’s more than likely going to go awry moving forward. But she is definitely this capable person that would be an asset to him or anyone who was trying to inspire and lead people.

Speaking of the Governor, does the TV version of Woodbury suffer from an eyepatch shortage?
[Laughs] Maybe we’re building to the eyepatch. Stay tuned!

What can people expect from the rest of the season?
The short answer is “All kinds of awesome.” We haven’t seen Rick and the Governor face to face yet. That’s definitely coming. We’re going to see some pretty large scale confrontations between Woodbury and the prison. I mean, this is going to be a pretty explosive last half of the season and there’s going to be a lot of large-scale cool stuff that you might not expect to see in this show. We’re going to continue pushing the envelope and continue to do the unexpected. There’s a lot of crazy stuff ahead. So buckle up.

Looking even further ahead, where are you at with season 4?
We’re on our second week of writing. We’re knee deep in it and we start filming in May.

Make sure to read our Q&A with Sarah Wayne Callies as well as showrunner Glen Mazzara’s take on Sunday’s episode of ‘The Walking Dead’. Also, Darren Franich breaks it all down in his episode recap.

Read more:
‘Walking Dead’ website to launch this Sunday
‘Walking Dead’ actor joins ‘Mythbusters’ zombie episode — EXCLUSIVE
Hear Jamie N Commons’ ‘Walking Dead’ song ‘Lead Me Home’ — EXCLUSIVE
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‘The Walking Dead: Assault': iOS game lowers price starting Sunday


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