It only seems fitting when discussing how the constant high stakes have changed the characters to turn to David Morrissey’s Governor, someone who has clearly come a long way since the dead started walking their world. Scott Gimple explains that, “The Governor was not, I mean, I trip over spoilers, but that picture of him with his wife and his daughter, he wasn’t that guy before this all started. The people dying around him changed him into that." And that cagey explanation of the man he used to be combined with the recent news that there will be two standalone episodes devoted to the Governor in Season 4 makes me wonder if those installments might include some flashbacks?
Whether his past explicitly makes it into the show or not, Morrissey is always thinking about "the life that the Governor had in the novels that Robert (Kirkman) wrote as well, The Rise Of The Governor and The Road To Woodbury." The actor says that fans know “the comic book Governor but who was he before? And it’s in those great books and we wanted to bring those in as well." As for when we’ll be seeing the antagonist again, Morrissey joked that he was “playing the horse" in the preview and then remained tight lipped about his return. The previously referenced TVLine post that discusses the standalone episodes, however, mentions that they will occur near the end of the first half of the season. So, maybe Episodes 7 and 8?
When asked about his state of mind (a common question for this cast) the actor has much more to say about what to expect from the Governor. “He’s in a deeply traumatic place, that’s where he is. He has issues. He’s psychopathic and stuff but I don’t think he does those things without consequence to his soul." Gimple picks up on this thread, adding that "he slaughters his own people but when he gets in that truck, he’s not smiling or grinning. He’s got no moustache to twirl." The Governor doesn’t do anything lightly, Morrissey says of his actions, “they take a toll on him. He has to carry that burden, so the great thing for me in the season coming up is the writers have written some great complex things for me to do."
Of course, he doesn’t really get into what these complex things are only that “it’s very surprising. I think people will be very surprised by what they’ve come up with, and it’s a joy to play." The actor also has to be able to empathize with his character and Morrissey does a great job rationalizing his behavior. “You look at any war-zone, talk to any soldier, they have to blank-out certain things in order to walk forward. In order for them to survive, they have to blank out something that’s innate in themselves in order to do it." He adds that “with the Governor, you’re seeing someone who’s blanked out a lot of himself. He’s battling inside himself, the person, who is that person?"
Gimple answers without giving too much (well, anything) away, explaining how the character "had the public face and the very surprising private face and when he killed those people, that’s a very public act so those two sides get integrated. So who is he now? And who will he be moving forward?" When it comes to the rest of the cast, Lauren Cohan and Steven Yeun were also asked if the Governor is still on their character’s minds with the former immediately answering, "always. Always." Yeun followed up with, “some characters are more focused on him than others." I can imagine. The Governor wasn’t the only main character added to the cast last season but the other didn’t have nearly as much time to shine. That won’t be the case come Season 4.