December 02, 2012 10:00pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
'The Walking Dead': Meet Tyreese's Group
[Warning: This story contains spoilers from Sunday's Walking Dead midseason finale and the comic series the drama is based on.]
Sunday's midseason finale of AMC's The Walking Dead marked the debut of comic book fan favorite Tyreese, who fled to safety at the prison, where Carl rescued them from a walker attack and led them to safety -- and subsequently locked them up in a cell of their own.
In Robert Kirkman's comic series, Tyreese -- who is portrayed by The Wire's Chad Coleman -- is a former pro football linebacker who, with his family, connects with Rick's group on the highway and finds food and shelter with the survivors before growing to become Rick's No. 2 following Shane's death. He eventually becomes a love interest for both Michonne and Carol.
"We're very lucky to have Chad Coleman," showrunner Glen Mazzara tells The Hollywood Reporter. "We’re all fans of The Wire and [Walking Dead and Wire director] Ernest Dickerson has obviously worked with Chad. He's a great addition to the family."
On the AMC zombie drama, Tyresse is traveling with folks named Sasha, Allen, Ben and Donna. Here's the scoop on everyone in Tyreese's pack, though, like the new prisoners introduced in the season three premiere, it's unclear how long any of them will stick around.
Sonequa Martin-Green (The Good Wife, NYC 22, Army Wives) portrays a new character to the Walking Dead universe and is Tyreese's clearly outspoken sister. Sasha and Tyreese "will be major players" in the back-half of season three, Mazzara says.
Daniel Thomas May (The Vampire Diaries, Drop Dead Diva) plays Allen, who first appeared in the second issue of the comics with his wife, Donna, and twin sons Billy and Ben. At the prison, Allen helps Rick and Tyreese clear Cell Block A and ultimately winds up getting bitten on the ankle. In a bid to save him, Rick amputates his leg, but he doesn't quite make it. If the story line sounds familiar, it should -- Hershel's leg amputation from the season three premiere was mostly based on Allen's story.
Tyler Chase (The Between, Simple Things) is Allen's son, who in the comics was considerably younger and was charged with caring for Allen after his amputation. Having lost both his parents, the damaged boy kills his twin brother thinking he'd reanimate and be OK. Carl (naturally!) takes him out.
Cherie Dvorak (The Shield) is Allen's outspoken and opinionated wife who, after the group settles in to Wiltshire Estates, fails to last long when the property is overrun by its previous (and now dead) inhabitants. She also doesn't last long on the AMC series, either, having already been bitten in the season three midseason finale.
Whether the AMC version of the characters will follow their comic book counterparts, of course, remains to be seen.
"They're definitely in the mix," Kirkman tells THR. "We're expecting great things from them, but no one is safe on The Walking Dead. They're definitely there in the prison and they're going to be there for a while so we'll see how long they last."
Adds Mazzara: "We'll find out that they are the remnants of a much larger group of survivors that has been whittled down, and so they're desperate to find a place to stay.
"We'll find out that those people have their own agenda as well," he adds. "Introducing Tyreese complicates Rick's life, but we'll find out that Tyreese has a complicated story as well. This Tyreese story and these new characters, it's a significant part of the entire part of the back half of the season."
What did you think of Tyreese and company? Hit the comments with your thoughts. The Walking Dead returns Feb. 10 on AMC.