Production remains unchanged for this season, however this will be Dave Erickson's last season as a showrunner, being replaced in the fourth season by Andrew Chambliss and Ian Goldberg, who will also be joined by the new addition of Scott Gimple. Filming for this season has taken place at Baja Film Studios, whilst scenes have also been filmed at the Rosarito Beach Hotel. Further, a major filming location has been Broke Jaw Ranch, which is fictionally set in Southern America, but undertaken in a valley near Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico, with the Otto ranch being built around an existing smaller house. According to production designer Bernardo Trujillo, the existing house "looked very Mexican as opposed to Southern American", so it was used as an "anchor"; production "building around it" to create a "huge house" so "as you walk in, you’ll actually end up inside the tiny house!".
The Otto family are a "group of preppers who prepared for the end of democracy, [but] not necessarily the rise of the dead" according to Erickson, who noted that this series will resonate politically, with the focus on the land border between the United States and Mexico and the real life domestic policies of Donald Trump. He adds, "They're going to find a modicum of sanctuary and security, but it's going to come at a great price. Fundamentally, the question for Madison this season is what happens if you align yourself with somebody you know has reprehensible traits. We'll come to learn with Otto that even though there seems to be a benevolence to him at times, there's a darker and uglier side to him as well, and it's frankly racist". In what Debnam-Carey and Curtis have described as a "notch[ed] up" and "energised" season, this season will also explore Madison's backstory, with Erickson stating that in this season viewers will "start to get a better picture of where she came from, who she is and, you know, why she has become this person". Erickson also revealed that a main character will die in the season three premiere, adding that the death is after a "heroic arc", and that it is intended to be "sudden" and "jarring", with it being a "pivotal moment that drives the rest of the season". He added, "That’s the goal whenever you lose a character, especially one that important. It needs to resonate". This death was confirmed as Travis Manawa, the last surviving member of his family to die.