Time moves slowly in The Walking Dead universe. So although the characters of Fear the Walking Dead have survived the initial virus outbreak, escaped to Mexico, then escaped from Mexico — all in just 21 episodes — it’s actually only been six weeks since the dawn of the apocalypse.
Season 3 of the prequel to AMC’s hit zombie series, however, will speed things up a bit.
“I think this season, this third season, will cover about two months. We’re pretty zombie savvy now,” star Kim Dickens told Rotten Tomatoes on a recent visit to the series’ Mexico set.
As the season begins, former high school counselor Madison (Dickens) and her teenage daughter Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey) have fled their safe house in Mexico with Madison’s husband, Travis (Cliff Curtis), after Travis killed a fellow survivor. They’re on the hunt for Madison’s son, Nick (Frank Dillane), a former drug addict who was just kidnapped near Tijuana with his girlfriend, and have left their season 1 savior, rich yacht owner Victor Strand (Colman Domingo), behind. Meanwhile, fellow L.A. survivor Ofelia (Mercedes Masohn) was just taken hostage by a mystery man.
Before the two-hour premiere, which airs Sunday, June 4, here are a few things you need to know about the adventures ahead for the FTWD survivors.
No one survives solo in the apocalypse, FTWD executive producer Gale Ann Hurd said.
“You need to be prepared; you need to create some sort of unit to survive with. You’re not really going to make it on your own,” she told Rotten Tomatoes. “And you need resources — you need food, you need water, you need weapons, and you need a way of keeping the bad things out, whether it’s the infected or people with evil intent. So we’re going to meet a number of different groups who have very different approaches of how to survive.”
While the group will find themselves on the road as the season begins, they’ll eventually settle down — for the time being, at least — with a group of people who were very prepared for the new world.
“I don’t think they anticipated the rise of the dead, but they did anticipate apocalypse, they did anticipate a time when they would have to create their own nation state again and try to do it over — and, in their minds, do it right,” showrunner Dave Erickson said.
While season 2 took the characters south of the border into Mexico, season 3 will center the action closer to where Mexico and Southern California meet.
“The Mexico-U.S. border, that’s a theme that’s going on in real life and it’s also a theme that we address constantly in the show,” Debnam-Carey said.
“It’s the busiest border crossing in the world,” Hurd explained, “so there’s a lot going back and forth and there’s a lot of distrust, I think. That’s something that, as it turns out, was already in the script and now is playing out on the broader national canvas.”
On Fear the Walking Dead, Dickens said, “It’s brutal at the border. It’s really vicious.”
There’s no quicker way to judge a person’s character than to put them in the most dire situation imaginable, so it’ll be interesting to see the types of people with whom the family chooses to align themselves.
“What’s interesting to me partly is to see who you’ll willing to shack up with, who you’re willing to count as an ally in a world where there’s a line,” Erickson said, adding, “There’s something interesting to me about not just what you’re willing to do, but what you’re willing to abide in others. We’re going to push that question. I think the moral calculus of the show is going to get much darker.”
The future may be bleak for the FTWD survivors — the future we see in The Walking Dead is proof of that fact (not to mention the ramifications that will come for Alicia and Travis after killing the living) — but that doesn’t mean there won’t be anything for them to hold on to.
“What I’d like to do is get back to a place where there’s a modicum of hope,” Erickson said. “I think that will come through family to a certain degree, and I think as we’ve seen it’s very rare you land in one place and it succeeds and you suddenly thrive and build a new community. Everything tends to go south.”
Are stronger relationships a bright spot in the Dead world?
“Your family, your grouping, your tribe, it means so much more,” Debnam-Carey said. “So when you find a group that’s going to stick by you 100 percent, then that’s worth keeping.”
Fear the Walking Dead returns for season 3 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Sunday, June 4