'The Walking Dead' Post-Finale: Casting News and Teasers for Season 3
'The Walking Dead' Post-Finale: Casting News and Teasers for Season 3
Jenn Lee
Jenn Lee
Staff Writer, BuddyTV
Warning: Major Season 2 Finale Spoilers Ahead!!

With last night's chaotic finale came many thrilling hints at what is to come next season. The group finally left the barn (and subtly arrived at a new home), Rick revealed the secret that everyone is infected with a virus while also finally stepping up as the ballsy leader the group needs, and a new hooded character was introduced when saving Andrea from a zombie death. Read more to see what the showrunners have to say on these exciting clues and what they mean for season 3.

On the Hooded Savior in the Forest:
After the finale played, Executive Producer Robert Kirkman (and author of the original comic book series) revealed the casting news on the post-episode talk series "Talking Dead": Danai Gurira (known from her work on HBO's Treme) will play Michonne, the fan favorite zombie slayer whose weapon of choice is a samurai sword. Michonne made a stealth appearance in the finale when she saved Andrea from being killed, although her face was hidden (the character was played by a stand-in, not Gurira). This surprise reveal was certainly welcome news to fans of the comics and Kirkman (according to TVLine) promises she will be "very similar to her comic-book counterpart... the fans have expectations for Michonne, and I can say with full knowledge that their expectations are going to be met." Fans can also look for a one-off comic about Michonne's highly speculated origins in the April issue of Playboy to add more background to this mysterious character.

gurira.jpgDanai Gurira
On Andrea's Journey:
The aforementioned encounter with Michonne and Andrea was not only a chance to reveal a new character, but also a big moment for Andrea's character, who started out the season purposeless and weak. But as Kirkman says, she was "really put to the test" in that final scene, where she fended off several zombies before nearly succumbing out of exhaustion, thereby proving her growth this season. This sort of testing of will and character will continue in the third season, as Kirkman shares they've got "some really cool stuff planned for Andrea" in continuing this development.

Other Reasons to Look Forward to Season 3:
In addition to Michonne's character, we know David Morrissey will be playing the Governor, the popular and sinister villain, who is described as both "a violent madman" and "a silver tongued devil who lulls you into a false sense of security and then cuts your head off." With all this new blood, the group is sure to face new challenges and juicy conflicts.

Perhaps just as important as the other surprises in the finale, the shot of the prison in the distance indicated the group has finally arrived at the setting where much of the comic book's greatest scenes take place. When Rick says, "There's gotta be a place... where we fortify, hunker down, pull ourselves together and build a life for each other," the prison is clearly it. And with that new home comes a new exciting chapter that Executive Producer Glen Mazzara cannot say enough about:

"When I think of 'The Walking Dead' book, I think about the prison. I think about the Governor. I think about Rick. I think about Michonne. That, to me, is the heart of that story. That's what I'm excited about writing and seeing come to life. I think that this has been a great chapter one. But now we're moving into our best material." He also added that the increased pacing of the second-half of this season will persist ("the pacing for season three really feels like a freight train").

Kirkman agrees: "Our third season is definitely going to be our best season yet." He also said, "I can say that we are at the very beginning of this show. We haven't quite gotten to a lot of the big things we've been building to just yet. If you're a big fan of 'The Walking Dead' and you enjoyed season one and season two, then you haven't seen anything yet."

With this kind of hype, we don't know exactly what to expect, but we know it's going to be good. And while there were many surprises revealed in the finale, Kirkman assures there are still "a lot of surprises around the corner."

What did you think of the finale? Are you as excited for season 3 as we are?

(Images courtesy of AMC; WENN.com)