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iZombie Boss on Creating a Season Without a Big Bad

How Season 3 will be different

Sadie Gennis

iZombieis finally back! After nearly a year off the air, the beloved zom-com-rom-dram returns for a brand new season that raises the stakes to terrifying new heights.

After the Max Rager massacre, the threat of zombies becoming public knowledge is more pressing than ever -- an eventuality that Vivian Stoll (Andrea Savage) and her zombie army at Fillmore Graves are already preparing for. With a zombies vs. human war looking more likely than ever, Liv (Rose McIver), Major (Robert Buckley) and the rest of Team Z will have to pick sides and determine whether Fillmore Graves is their enemy, ally or something else altogether.

Rob Thomas, who executive-produces the CW drama alongside Diane Ruggiero-Wright, spoke to TVGuide.com about where Liv and her friends stand on the humans vs. zombie conflict, Major's health crisis and the new love interests who will be introduced.

When the season starts, the core group no longer has any secrets between them, making them more united than ever before. But once they learn that there's a potential humans vs. zombie war on the horizon, how will that affect their dynamic?
Rob Thomas: Well, that's something that we're going to play throughout the season. It's going to be a continual push-pull on different people. I think coming out of [Episode 2] you get the sense that, after you get the tour of Fillmore Graves, Clive (Malcolm Goodwin) is very anti this whole idea of a zombie army preparing for the day that zombies and humans come to blows. Major seems pretty onboard and Liv seems stuck somewhere in the middle. And that kind of continues through the season. Unlike other seasons of iZombie where there was a pretty clearly defined big bad -- we kind of let our bad guys let it rip. Like full-on, mustache-twirly, go for broke. Steven Webber and David Anders got to be full-throttle bad guys -- this year is different. Those seasons ended in big shootouts. That's not our plan this year. This year it's Liv trying to figure out where she exists in a zombie vs. human world.

Since Vivian Stoll isn't going to be this season's big bad, how would you describe the role she plays and where she falls on the morale spectrum?
Thomas: I kind of don't want to answer that because it's really the big mystery of the season. That's what Liv is trying to figure out. Is Vivian a good person? Is she a bad person? If Liv were responsible for 300 zombies' lives, would she be arming them as well? What would she do in that position? These are the quesitons that we're asking Liv. Can Vivian be trusted is one of the big questions of the season.

​  Andrea Savage, 13 Reasons Why
Katie Yu/The CW

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Major is facing the potential choice of either dying or losing all of his memories, which is a different kind of death. How will we see him wrestling with that decision?
Thomas: He does wrestle with it. It is a huge choice for him. Some of my proudest moments of the season -- I love how those moments are played. I think they are played beautifully by the actors. Those are big moments in the show, really emotional moments played between Major and Ravi and Liv. Sometimes I think that our show or my writing or [Diane Ruggiero-Wright's] writing, we're always comfortable being quippy and jokey, and sometimes [I wonder], "Do we go for the jugular emotionally enough?" But I was really pleased with how touching those scenes were when Major had to make those big choices.

I'm a big Liv and Major shipper! What will their relationship look like this season?
Thomas: It's not a year of them being together. It's more of a year of friendship for them. They will have other love interests throughout the season. But they remain on really good terms. I sort of feel like this is the year where we see them be pretty mature about going their separate ways. Yes, there are some romantic travails between the two of them. They're not always excited about who the other one chooses to be with. But for the most part, they're pretty good to each other as ex-boyfriend and girlfriend.

​Robert Buckley, Rose McIver and Malcolm Goodwin, iZombie
Katie Yu/The CW

We already know a little about Liv's new boyfriend. What will Major's new relationship look like?
There are a couple. It's not just one. He has a couple love interests. One that I would describe as healthy. One that I would describe as unhealthy. One will be a blast from the past. One will be introduced this season.

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I'm so excited that Jason Dohring is joining this season. What can you say about how his character factors in and when he'll first appear?
Thomas: I couldn't tell you what episode he appears in because I lose track of that stuff. I know it's somewhere midseason. He plays the brother-in-law of Vivian Stoll and there's some internal politics there. They may have different ways that they would run the company. He's coming back from overseas and he throws a wrench in the dynamics of Fillmore Graves.

Ravi (Rahul Kohli) has always been a moral compass in this show, but he shows some darker, more complicated sides of himself this season. Why did you decide to roughen up Ravi's edges?
Thomas: As the season begins, he's at this emotional low point. I think there's a feeling that he failed at the end of Season 2 -- that Blaine became the man of action and Ravi sat out in the car -- and I think he's still reeling from that. I think it makes him feel smaller. And I think his pride is wounded and he doesn't' respond well to that. But I think going deeper into the season, we give Ravi his own adventure. I was happy to get him out of the lab this season. He has his own [storyline] getting out into the world and being a part of an investigation and going undercover. So he has his own big adventure where he kind of gets to prove his mettle as the season moves on. I know that Rahul, the actor, was thrilled with what Ravi got to do this season. I think in seeing the first few [episodes], you're seeing Ravi kind of reeling, but we don't let him wallow in that misery for too long. He returns to being both the moral compass and being one of the most fun characters in the show.

iZombie airs Tuesday at 9/8c on The CW.

(Full disclosure: TVGuide.com is owned by CBS, one of The CW's parent companies.)