With the group thrown out into the wilderness to find a new home after Hershel's farm went up in flames, everyone will be tasked with stepping up to find new ways to support the group on the third season of AMC's The Walking Dead.
Among them, T-Dog and Carol, who didn't have much to do during season two after Carol's zombie daughter was revealed to have been in Hershel's barn the whole time. This season, without the farm and the group's outspoken wanna-be leader Shane (Jon Bernthal), both will take on new roles within Rick's not-so-merry band of survivors as they head toward an impending battle with the Governor and contend with the ticking time bomb that is Lori's pregnancy.
The Hollywood Reporter sat down with IronE Singleton (T-Dog) and Melissa McBride (Carol) to discuss their new roles within the group and what could happen once they learn of the paradise that is the Governor's territory in Woodbury as part of our seven days of Walking Dead coverage leading up to Sunday's return.
Could Carol take on some new roles with the group now that they're away from the farm?
McBride: Yes. She's lost everything. There's nothing left to lose and the opportunity is forcing her to become more of everything that [her late, abusive husband] Ed would never let her become. She's a self-starter and is finding her value in a different world. She's re-creating herself and creating ways in this world to be useful, like she wanted to be before the outbreak happened. There were things in the world she wanted to do but Ed just said, "You're never going to do that. You can't do that. You're going to screw up."
Is that how she'll be honoring Sophia?
McBride: Yes. There's a little honoring Sophia in that, but Sophia would want her mom to rise to the occasion and become everything she wanted for Sophia.
Considering Carol lost Sophia last season, how will she handle Lori's pregnancy?
McBride: Carol's got to be useful and caring for Lori is a task that Carol has assigned herself to make sure that that baby is delivered safely and alive. Because it represents hope in this world, too. It brings the challenge of surviving with a baby and having to feed it, having to be quiet when you need to and all the things that go with it. The baby is a new liability.
Singleton: We lost some of that hope with Sophia and Dale, so maybe that's a sign of restoration of hope. That a baby can survive.
Without Shane, will T-Dog step up more in the group?
Singleton: It's possible. Several months that have passed and T-Dog has become a part of this elite unit; it's like a strike force. Everybody has fine-tuned their killing skills, so it's inevitable that T-Dog steps up. It's part of the natural progression: one soldier falls down, you have to have somebody to step up and take his place and may have several to step up. Could be T-Dog, Glenn, Carol, you never know.
How will Carol and everyone respond to learning about Woodbury? Will there be some community envy?
McBride: Yes. But it's run by a madman. Is a hot shower worth that?
Singleton: Welcome to the real world though. What happens in real life, when you see people have better things than you. They have resources that you want and sometimes if they don't want to negotiate, we may have to try to fight and take it. There's going to be a major clash coming or it's going to be a major union.
McBride: I have to disagree. We fought hard for that prison and even though we're more confined than we were on the farm, that's OK. I like that we have walls, a roof and barbed wire fence, but at the same time we could just be locking ourselves in to starve to death. However, there's emotional confinement no matter where you go.
What are you looking forward to seeing in season three? Hit the comments with your thoughts. The Walking Dead returns Sunday at 9 p.m. on AMC. Check back to THR's The Live Feed every day this week for the Seven Days of The Walking Dead preview and after the finale for more from the EPs.