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Interview: ‘The Walking Dead’ Producer Gale Anne Hurd On Merle, Daryl, And Andrea The Peace Maker

With the season three finale of “The Walking Dead” set to air this Sunday on AMC (opposite the season premiere of “Game of Thrones,” set your DVR), we spoke to series producer Gale Anne Hurd about the evolution of the zombie series, where Rick will go next, fan reactions to Andrea, and who she’d like to have at her side with the living dead stalk the Earth.

Rick is very well aware that the governor is not one to negotiate fairly and he wants what he wants, what he doesn’t know if [The Governor] is a man of his word. If he did hand over Michonne, would they be able to coexist in peace.

That’s Hurd on the precarious moral ground series hero Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) found himself earlier this season as his band of survivors went into conflict with the well-armed and ready to kill residents of Woodbury. During out chat, I wondered if, in a world like that of “The Walking Dead” two communities could ever exist side-by-side, and Hurd was optimistic, saying that if not for the Governor’s (David Morrissey) vendetta against Michonne for the loss of his eye and his (zombie) daughter, the people of the prison and Woodbury might be able to coexist.

It also doesn’t help anything that the Governor is kind of a paranoid lunatic:

If you’re ambitious in the way the Governor is, you can end up running what is the closest thing to a functioning community that still exists, and be called “The Governor,” and have gladiatorial fighters. And whatever you perceive as a threat, you get rid of it—like National Guard was a threat, and then no more National Guard. Anyone who is a threat to his leadership is not going to survive and I can’t imagine he won’t perceive Rick and the prison community as a threat, even outnumbered and outgunned.

In the middle of all of this, we have Andrea (Laurie Holden), a character who occasionally ruffles some fans’ feathers given not only some of the dramatic change between the comic and TV versions (Hurd says viewers should just accept that they’re each their own thing), but because she often seems to bet on the wrong horse, siding with the increasingly unstable Shane to embracing the Governor’s community and betraying Michonne. Hurd says that it’s a matter of Andrea–whose family, profession, and life are all gone–attempting to find herself in this deadly new world.

I think she has been lost, she’s trying to find someone else to align herself with and for a while it was Michonne, you know, and mostly we didn’t see it, because it was the months between seasons. Then you look at the betrayal, so now she’s in a position where she’s looking around at what responsibilities and opportunities she has, and see herself as a peacekeeper. She thinks she can bring the sides together without further bloodshed. That may be an impossible dream.

When we spoke, it was before last Sunday’s episode, “This Sorrowful Life” which saw Merle (Michael Rooker) make his exit after betraying Rick and the group. Merle’s actions that episode could be considered his attempt to make good, but Hurd says that at his core, the elder Dixon brother is selfish through and through. “He doesn’t look at it other than what’s in it for him,” Hurd says. “He has a good set of skills though that are valued, the Governor saw that, and he could be important to the prison as well. Merle is always going to do what he wants and put himself first.”

For all that, Hurd wouldn’t want Merle being the one who had her back when the apocalypse hit, telling me that the unique set of skills and slowly evolving empathy in Daryl (Norman Reedus) would make him her preferred end-of-world buddy. “He’s the ultimate survivor, but as we’ve found out, he has a heart of gold. He’s damaged, which a lot of us find to be attractive in a man. He’s tough on the outside and he’s complicated and mysterious, but he’s a survivalist and he’s the best equipped to survive in this world.”

Finally, I attempted to get some information on the recently-announced big screen adaptation of “Gaiking” which Hurd would be producing. While it was very early in the process, I asked why we wouldn’t be getting the film under the name most Western viewers who know the franchise might be familiar: “Shogun Warriors.” It all comes down to the complicated tangle of licensing and contracts: “Japanese contacts have very complicated ownership rights to clear and we got the rights and it was very clear.”

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