The Walking Dead Season 4 opened the Paley Fest 2013 Friday night with a rousing Q&A from the cast and crew. Though we are five episodes away from the The Walking Dead Season 3 finale, with the next episode ("Clear") to premiere this Sunday, that didn't stop the gang from discussing what the future holds after the upcoming March 31st cliffhanger plays itself out on The Walking Dead.

Executive producer Greg Nicotero explained that the series will be slowing down a bit to focus on more character development and less action.

"I think there may be a wee bit less of the run and gun. And [we'll] get a little more into some of our characters. The challenge with a show like this, when you have a big ensemble, is you don't want any of the characters to get lost; it's important that we know what Carol's story is and that we know what Beth's story is. And when you're trying to service a lot of characters, it becomes challenging. Watching the first season, and seeing how grounded it was, that's really important to all of us. Andrew Lincoln and I spent a lot of time going through the scripts and making sure we feel that they're grounded. Because that's what keeps our audience coming back. The walkers and the gore and the action and stuff, that's fun, that's the popcorn part of it. But if you don't have characters that people are invested in, you lose your audience."

Executive Producer Gale Anne Hurd revealed that the first 8 episodes of the upcoming season are already planned out.

"The writer's room has cooked up the first eight episodes, and they'll probably start writing next week. And we start shooting May 6. We're still finishing the season finale - editing and music."

In terms of ending this current Season 3 run, Andrew Lincoln assures that Rick's decent into madness won't last forever.

"I think you'll see in the next episode a turning point happens and he realizes his responsibilities. And hopefully he'll come back from the brink. But certainly since the death of Lori and the pressure imposed by The Governor, he is in a state of shock, grief, and stress, and he has had a breakdown. It's tough times for Rick, but it's always tough times for him, isn't it? He never gets a day off, this guy. I have been making some terrible calls. So, you know, bless him. Parenting in the apocalypse."

Also, don't expect the same type of cliffhanger ending that we saw in The Walking Dead Season 2. Says actress Laurie Holden,

"I would say [the Season 3 finale] is the opposite of last year. In every way."

The Walking Dead Season 4 is set to start shooting May 6th in Atlanta, Georgie and will return to AMC in October. The Walking Dead Season 3 continues this Sunday with an all-new episode, only on AMC.

B. Alan Orange