Still one of the most talked about shows on television, even in the off-season, The Walking Dead is gearing up for an epic (and likely very disturbing) season three. Where as season two of AMC’s acclaimed series was plagued with behind-the-scenes controversy, and at times underwhelming core story arcs (we’re looking at you hallucinating Darrell), season three is expected to tackle a number of challenging pieces of comic book source material as well as keep the larger story beats moving a little quicker this round – to appease casual viewers who complained that season two was, by comparison, pretty uneventful.

One of two key season three elements teased in the latest finale episode, The Prison (the other being a fan-favorite character as portrayed by Danai Gurira), is a major highlight of AMC’s summer marketing for the show – which debuts, once again, in the fall. Keeping with that line of zombie attack, the network has released a new pair of images teasing The Walking Dead prison as well as offering fans a first look at some of their favorite characters back in bloody action.

Season three details are somewhat scarce still, as it’s not entirely clear where the showrunners intend to draw the line between writer/creator Robert Kirkman’s comic book source material and upcoming events in the AMC series. We’ve already seen a number of key changes in the formula, as well as the addition of entirely new characters (looking at you again Darrell); however, plenty of story beats and character deaths remain the same. While a debate continues to rage between fans who want to see fresh takes on the core Walking Dead storyline (so that they can actually enjoy some suspense), there are plenty of faithful readers/watchers who are more interested in the series “canon” – and would rather just see familiar events play out on the screen.

In the past Kirkman has hinted that he thinks it’s important to stay tethered to the original storyline (because there is plenty of crazy content to film) – while also leaving room for the show to develop independently and tell different stories or altered versions of established events. As a result, it’ll be interesting to see how the prison sequences (as well as those of the notorious Governor) actually play out.

Check out the images of The Prison as well as The Walking Dead survivors, courtesy of EW, below (click to enlarge):

Steven Yeun and Lauren Cohan recently discussed the upcoming season and, judging by the picture of Cohan’s Maggie mid-machete swing, it certainly looks like all the characters are going to have to step up their zombie killing skills – a sentiment that is backed up by a recent statement from showrunner Glen Mazzara:

“I’m incredibly proud of the prison. I think our crew has done a great job. It’s a huge sense of scale and magnitude I haven’t seen on any other show as far as construction. What’s important to us is the prison itself is now a character in the show. It’s a haunted house, it’s scary, it’s frightening, and there are parts of the prison that are always terrifying, that are always inaccessible to our group. It’s not necessarily the blessing that the prison in the comic book turned out to be.”

We’ll have to wait for The Walking Dead season three to find out exactly what horrors await in the prison but, in the meantime, stay tuned to Screen Rant for upcoming live coverage from The Walking Dead panel at Comic-Con 2012.

Follow me on Twitter @benkendrick for more on The Walking Dead as well as future movie, TV, and gaming news.

The Walking Dead returns this fall on AMC.

Source: EW