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2 newcomers flesh out ‘The Walking Dead’

The Governor (David Morrissey) - The Walking Dead - Seas3 Episode 1 - PhoCredit: Gene Page/AMC

The Governor (David Morrissey) - The Walking Dead - Season 3, Episode 1 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

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Updated: November 15, 2012 6:19AM

‘You can’t be in ‘The Walking Dead’ and not kill zombies. My first kill — I felt like I really arrived,” says David Morrissey, the British actor who takes the role of the villainous Governor, one of several anticipated new characters joining the AMC hit.

The Governor, like the Katana-sword-wielding Michonne (Danai Gurira), is part of the “Walking Dead” comic book canon whose story lines continue to be woven into the series. Last season ended with the survivors on the run, forced to abandon Hershel’s bucolic farm after it was overrun by walkers.

Episodes in the third season (8 p.m. Sundays starting this weekend) take place on two fronts: the West Georgia Correctional Facility, where the band of survivors led by Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) sets up its new home base, and the seemingly idyllic zombie-free town of Woodbury, run by the Governor.

“Obviously, Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) is pregnant. [The survivors] want to settle in,” says executive producer Gale Anne Hurd. “When they come across the prison, even though it would not be your or my ideal choice, it is fenced in and theoretically should be equipped with supplies.”

Morrissey says that when viewers meet the Governor (whom Hurd calls the comics’ most-loved villain), he simply appears to be a man trying to keep his people safe; it’s not clear whether the TV Governor will turn out to be as evil and sadistic as his counterpart in the comics. But he says that at some point the Governor’s people and Grimes’ band will go head to head. “They are two groups led by two strong-willed people.”

Viewers meet Michonne halfway through the first episode when, in six seconds, she separates three zombies from their heads with her Katana. In the final seconds of the last episode of Season 2, a mysterious, hooded stranger (fans would have recognized her as the fierce warrior, though Gurira had not yet been hired for the role) rescued Andrea (Laurie Holden) from a group of walkers after she became separated from her group following the attack on Hershel’s farm.

Viewers also caught a glimpse of Michonne’s armless, jawless zombie “pets” attached by leashes to her wrists. For Gurira, meeting them during the filming of Season 3 was unforgettable.

“To stand in the presence of your zombie pets for the first time was very thrilling,” she says. “It can get very, very real. They are so beautifully grotesque, and you tend to forget what you’re dealing with. You can step out of make-believe very easily.”

And viewers will have to wait to learn more about Michonne’s past. What we do know is that she and Andrea have survived the winter together. “She and Andrea connect,” Gurira says. “Michonne admires and appreciates her strength, especially in a world where you’re looking for people who bring assets to the table and not liabilities.”

Gannett News Service

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