Season three of AMC's wildly popular zombie-apocalypse drama, "The Walking Dead," wrapped its midseason finale on Sunday night. Fans will have to wait until February for new episodes, but the last eight weeks have been fruitful ones, with introductions to new characters such as Michonne (Danai Gurira) and The Governor (David Morrissey) as well as goodbyes for a few mainstays such as Lori Grimes (Sarah Wayne Callies) and T-Dog (IronE Singleton).
Along with a healthy dose of weekly zombie slayings, this season has also raised new questions about where the show's heading, mainly with The Governor introducing a cryptic desire to research the reasons behind the zombie apocalypse.
CNN spoke with "The Walking Dead" showrunner Glen Mazzara about the themes and motivations prevalent in season three, what to expect in the second half and the joys of writing while listening to Prince.
CNN: We're at the halfway point in season three. What's the difference in storytelling and the visuals compared with season two?
Glen Mazzara: We're swinging for the fences every week. We have a very accelerated pace of storytelling, where we're trying to pack as much story into every episode, and yet, spending a lot of time developing our characters. We're not afraid to have quiet scenes that have a lot of heart in them. We've really found a nice balance having those quiet, heartfelt scenes, mixed with moments of pure terror and action.
It's important for us to realize that these are desperate characters, living in a frantic world. No place is safe; that's something that's really important. For example, in the episode in which Lori died, we wanted to make sure that prison never feels safe. If you look at it in the first four episodes, they have three major battles with zombies at the prison. That's something that our audience responds to: that our characters are always on the knife's edge.
CNN: Speaking of the knife's edge, Michonne and The Governor were two highly anticipated characters at the start of this season. How do these actors bring these characters to life?
Mazzara: Danai was raised at some point in Africa. She comes from a cultural experience where there was a lot of war and very, very strong female survivors. That's something she's used as a model for Michonne -- the strength of the women who suffered great abuses yet carried on. She has a strength and an aggressiveness but also a grace. That is unique. We haven't seen that character to that extent on TV. I'm really proud of the work that she's doing.
David Morrissey is an incredibly talented actor who is just interested in finding new layers and nuance to this character. He and I talked about what was driving The Governor, what his agenda was, and how that begins to unravel. He gives it a tremendous amount of thought to every scene. I've learned a lot about acting from just watching his work.
CNN: The Governor's interest in trying to control this new world and adapt is very different from Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and his crew.