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After Sunday night's Season 2 Finale, The Walking Dead show runner Glen Mazzara sat down to answer some of your questions about the show. In Part I of this two-part interview, Glen shares his favorite gag of Season 2 and explains why Michonne will be a walker's worst nightmare. (Click here to read Part II of Glen Mazzara's fan interview.)
How difficult is it to adapt your vision for the world of The Walking Dead while maintaining the spirit of the original. Have you and Robert Kirkman had many major disagreements on the direction of the story? --david_woodmansee72
A: That's very interesting. Robert and I are very much in sync with what the TV show should be. There may be some creative differences the same as with any other writer on the show, but we feel we know the story that we're telling and we're excited to tell it and if anything, we're always trying to one-up each other, just trying to come up with the coolest stuff for the show. So Robert and I are really working well together and we have become friends. I will say this: Out of all of the writers' rooms that I've been involved in, The Walking Dead writers' room is the most harmonious. Everybody gets the show, everybody is excited about the show and everybody is pushing toward the same goal.
How do you decide which story elements from the comics will work on screen? --Robert Becka
A: It's not easy, because there are elements in the comic that may not translate to TV, and then you have to look at the spirit of the story there and try to capture that. I'll say that the way we approach a story is like we're stringing beans together, so we work on an episode and try to make that episode as good as possible, and then you decide what comes next. So you let the characters and the story kind of dictate where the story is going. I think that's true of any quality cable drama -- it was certainly true of The Shield, and we have to allow ourselves as artists to be surprised by where the story takes us.
What challenges has working on The Walking Dead posed that you haven't encountered before in, say for example, The Shield? --Disembodiedhead
A: The challenges of this particular show involve horror. That's new to me on TV, and it's really been something that we're working hard on, to continue to make sure that each episode is scary and thrilling. That was not necessarily true on The Shield, so I've really had to work to define how horror plays during a weekly episodic drama. The other challenge on the show has been just the huge attention that the show has received with message boards and podcasts and all of the social media involved. How do you interact with the fans and listen to the fans and still protect the inner creative vision of the writers and producers? It's really become a bit of a phenomenon. We're all very excited about the fans' enthusiasm and we enjoy engaging them, and then when we sit down to write the scripts we really focus on telling the best story possible.
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How much time does the effects team get to design and build some of the major effects (like the well walker), and how do you decide how much of it will be practical vs. CGI? --Martian
A: Well we try to make as much of it as practical as possible and we only use CGI when we are filling out say, particular crowds. But all the makeup is Greg [Nicotero's] practical makeup. The well walker, Greg started working on that months in advance. That was definitely something no one had ever done before. It added a memorable zombie gag to zombie lore, and that made me proud. That put us firmly in the zombie genre in a unique way. And I have something incredibly exciting planned for the Season Premiere and I'm actually really excited to write it later this week. It's pretty f------ sick.
Can a zombie actually starve to... death? --DarylFTW
A: No, a walker would not starve to death, but the corpse would continue to rot so over months it would probably rot and fall apart. But let's keep in mind that from the time of the Pilot to the end of Season 2, we think it's only been about four months. So, as we continue from season to season and those months turn into years, we do think that the older walkers would continue to deteriorate. But now we learn that anybody who dies becomes a walker so there would always be new walkers -- fresh walkers.
When we are introduced to Michonne, she appears to have two walkers in her company who are shackled. Has Michonne found a way to torture the walkers into submission? --Holden Caufield
A: She hasn't tortured those walkers into submission, but let's say this: Michonne is the one person in The Walking Dead universe who has figured out how live on her own. She is a walker's worst nightmare.
Click here to see Part II of Glen Mazzara's fan interview, in which the show runner explains Lori's reaction to Rick's confession and admits what element of Season 3 scares even him.