Just four episodes remain of "The Walking Dead's" thrilling third season, and as executive producer Gale Anne Hurd told The Clicker, "Fasten your seatbelts -- it's going to be a bumpy ride."
(Unless you happen to be a hitchhiker. Then you're not riding anywhere.)
"Be prepared for a few gasps along the way," Hurd warned when we caught up with the cast and crew at this weekend's PaleyFest. "There are not a lot of happy endings."
"Our show's not a happy, 'Yay, we got rescued off the island' kind of show," added Greg Nicotero, "Dead's" executive producer, director and special-effects wizard. "You have to give your audience somewhere to land where they feel they want to come back and watch the show again next season, but we're pretty amped up in regards to this confrontation between Rick and The Governor. It's not gonna really end that well."
So no chance for peace between Woodbury and the prison gang?
"I don't think anybody wants to have a peace treaty with anybody," insisted Norman Reedus, who has transformed Daryl Dixon from a hate-mongering squirrel assassin to one of the most richly complex and beloved characters on the show.
"I think it's us versus them," he added. "I don't think there's any 'Let's wave a white flag' at this point."
"We're in the middle of a conflict," agreed star Andrew Lincoln, who plays Rick. "That's why we went to Morgan's -- to get guns. It just so happened we bumped into a friend. It was all about getting ready and gearing up for war."
His surprise reunion with Morgan -- whom we haven't seen since the series premiere -- found Rick "definitely at his lowest ebb," pointed out Lincoln. "Seeing (Morgan's psychosis) is like a mirror held up to Rick of where he can potentially go -- and he realizes at that point, 'I'm coming back.' "
(Morgan might be back, too: Lennie James has an IMDb credit in the season finale, and creator Robert Kirkman told us, "He's a tremendous actor, and every time he appears on this show they end up being our best episodes. If he were to show up in the finale that would be pretty awesome in my book!" High praise from the dude who literally did write the book.)
So what if Andrea ends up falling on the wrong side of the impending conflict?
"We're just gonna shoot her," joked Lincoln.
Really, Laurie Holden told The Clicker, "Andrea just wants peace and no bloodshed and for all these beautiful people in Woodbury and at the prison to be OK ... I think she sees the best in people and like Dale, she believes in humanity in a world that's fallen apart. Call it idealism, but it's how she's built."
And for those who suspect the fierce blonde won't survive the season, producer David Alpert warns, "What happens to Andrea is not what anybody expects."
"Yeah, the finale's a wedding," cackled Kirkman. "The finale's going to be a picnic. It's a giant peace treaty and everybody sits around having hot dogs."
In all seriousness, Kirkman revealed, the end of the season is "going to be really unexpected, there's more or less going to be a war, and this war's going to have casualties. So be on the lookout for that."
"We're going to some dark places before this season ends," added Alpert, "but there's a very unlikely ray of hope and a note of optimism that comes there that doesn't make it too dark or too bleak."
One of the bright spots this season has been watching what actress Danai Giuria calls "the becoming" of Michonne, who was finally "welcomed" into the group by Carl and Rick in this week's "Clear."
"I think it's a really powerful moment for her actually," Giuria told us, "because she's not letting go of her abilities -- her very formidable abilities as a warrior -- but she's also connecting to that part of herself that can actually be vulnerable to people. It's her at her strongest in my opinion where she gets to at the end of this episode."
As for the end of the season, Scott Wilson, who plays Hershel, told The Clicker, "I think the fans are going to be totally satiated and happy and pleased with all the things that are going to take place."
How do you think season three will end? Will Andrea survive? Share your predictions on our Facebook page!
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