Although there was plenty of hoopla leading up to the introduction of fan-favorite characters the Governor (David Morrissey) and Michonne (Danai Gurira), AMC's The Walking Dead garnered significant attention during the first half of season 3, following the surprising deaths of two key characters.
Following the upheaval caused by showrunner Glen Mazzara's pending departure from the series, it looks as though a few more cast members may be leaving the show as well in the second half of the season.
Co-executive producer Greg Nicotero spoke recently at the Golden Globes about the ramifications to the group led by Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), after their violent encounter with the survivors holed up in the community of Woodbury.
*WARNING: Spoilers ahead for the first half of season 3*
At the end of its midseason finale, The Walking Dead teased a serious act of vengeance by the Governor and his well-armed associates upon Grimes' crew, who had recovered Glenn (Steven Yeun) and Maggie (Lauren Cohan), but lost its resident tough guy, Daryl (Norman Reedus), in the aforementioned skirmish. AMC recently released a midseason poster featuring Rick, a bandaged Governor and the ominous tagline "An Eye For an Eye," which plainly suggests there will be punishment for what transpired.
Click on the image below for a larger look at the poster:
Almost certainly referencing the deaths of T-Dog (IronE Singleton) and Lori Grimes (Sarah Wayne Callies), Nicotero discussed how the series' stakes have been raised, and what that means for the characters, now that the core group of survivors finds themselves battling adversaries who are both living and dead.
"We've established a certain scenario on our show where nobody is safe – and certainly in the back-half of our season, it doesn't get easy for anybody. We have the whole Woodbury community with the Governor and our principal cast. We'll probably end our season minus a cast member or two."
He goes on to suggest that the fight between the Governor and Rick's group won't be a one-and-done kind of deal, either. In fact, the conflict may once again find its way into the streets of Woodbury, which will no doubt have something to do with the fact that Andrea (Laurie Holden), Daryl and his brother Merle (Michael Rooker) are among the survivors there.
"[The fight] moves around a lot; it's very possible there might be another attack on Woodbury. The beauty is you're not confined to one location, even though we spend a lot of our season at Woodbury or the prison. The bottom line is that we've established the conflict between the Governor and Rick, and we'll explore that a lot more in the second half."
While some may not be too keen to see familiar characters exit the show, such willingness to remove prominent cast members and bring in fresh faces has been a boon to the series in season 3. In addition to opening up space for new characters like Tyreese (Chad Coleman), it has helped alleviate some of the criticism the series faced, concerning the public's perception of Lori, whose actions and characterizations had become a favorite target of ridicule across many media outlets and Internet comment sections.
Of course, Nicotero is very coy in his comments, thankfully giving little in the way of hints as to which character might be on the proverbial chopping block. So, until the end is actually met by one or more characters, all fans can do is let the speculation begin.
The Walking Dead returns Sunday, February 10 @9pm with 'The Suicide King' on AMC.