2:48pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
'Walking Dead': What's Ahead for Everyone in Season 6?
AMC's The Walking Dead introduced a major new threat to the survivors and their home within the Alexandria community during last week's season six premiere. While the tense 90-minute offering succeeded in setting up the massive walker horde's potential arrival at the gated community, the bottle episode only slightly touched upon the journeys ahead for its sprawling cast this season.
The zombie drama, from showrunner Scott M. Gimple and based on the comics created by Robert Kirkman, boasts a series-high 18 series regulars — up one from season five, which also parted ways with a number of characters. With a growing cast and a number of storylines to service — as well as multiple threats — THR turned to Gimple to preview what to expect from everyone this season.
Is Glenn really safe? Might this year see the demise of the beloved character — one of the few original season one regulars? Could Maggie want to stay in Alexandria because, as in the comics, she's pregnant? "That certainly happened in the comics but she also stayed behind because Deanna isn't doing so well. Alexandria needs to run. Maggie being in Alexandria is an important thing for the stories we're telling in the beginning of the season," Gimple previewed.
Could Carl lose an eye when the walkers catch up to Alexandria? "We're telling these stories from comics, it is remixed and I've enjoyed doing it and as someone who loves the comics. That's the kind of stuff we touch upon. But who knows! Maybe it'll be Glenn who loses the eye!"
Read on for more from Gimple about what to expect from the survivors in season six.
Andrew Lincoln (Rick)
Rick Grimes, at the end of last season, went from flirting with having to take over Alexandria and potentially kill people to wanting to teach them how to live. And wanting to see if they can become peers, essentially. That's where he wanted to go at the end of the season. Will the world let him? This is the question.
Norman Reedus (Daryl)
Daryl had gotten past his suspicion of the Alexandrians through his friendship with Aaron and his new position within the community. So he's starting at, in some ways, the same place as Rick — hoping that this place and these people can become peers as well. He sees the efficacy in continuing to try to bring people into the community. Once again, the question is: Will the world let him be that way? Is that the happy ending for Daryl, emotionally? (Obviously it isn't.)
Steven Yeun (Glenn)
Glenn has completely grown up. He has become an incredible synthesis of who he was, who Dale and Hershel taught him to be and who Rick influenced him to be. He's this incredible compilation of the people around him as well as governed by the heart that he's had all along. In a lot of ways, he's this more senior presence. He's a young dude, but he's seen it all and gone through a lot of changes. A lot of the stories we're telling have to do with the contrast between Rick's group and the Alexandrians — how much they've seen, done and suffered through it all — and how it makes them so much further along than the Alexandrians are. Glenn is further along in a lot of ways; not just as a survivor, but in wisdom and wanting to still try to save people — even people who tried to kill him [Nicholas].
Lauren Cohan (Maggie)
We're still seeing Maggie's leadership role with Deanna. That's a big part of her arc for the season — and it's a big part of her character. Maggie was always a strong person from the moment we saw her when she swooped in on a horse and brained a walker. But there's something there that's more on the leadership side of things, more helping people get where they need to be and helping this community — and looking at things in a much more long-term sort of way.
Chandler Riggs (Carl)
We saw how different Carl was from the other kids in Alexandria. It's the exact same equation, just more intensified because he's young. Carl is like an adult at this point to all these other kids. And that trips him up in his relationships, though there is someone there his age [Enid] in Alexandria who has been through some stuff, too. That might start a very interesting relationship that kind of has already started.
Danai Gurira (Michonne)
We saw the more playful side of Michonne in the premiere with Morgan when she straight-up lies to him about taking his protein bars. Michonne, more so than the other people who arrived in Alexandria, has real stakes, a real desire and a real need to make it work — for all of them, not just for herself that led to knocking Rick out and potentially saving him from himself. She's there, it is working, she's in a place of safety. What's next? She's challenged on that by one of the characters. She's got a bit of soul searching to do. She's looking at, the question: 'What's the point here?' Not in a negative way but she's asking herself that in the two milliseconds that the universe gives her to do that.
Melissa McBride (Carol)
Carol has a lot going on. She got buffeted around by life. She was making big choices about her life that circumstance got in the way of and she's been quite adept at hiding. She likes being invisible but a lot of that is going to stack up and it's going to come to a head. It's not all lies and cookies!
Michael Cudlitz (Abraham)
There's been a dynamic between Abraham and Sasha since [season five's] episode 10 when he noticed she was out of control. Even though Sasha has gone through some pretty heavy things at the end of last season, it's not like Abraham has the knowledge of that. We see at the beginning of the season that certain things are weighing upon him. There's a direct relationship to how Sasha was acting last year to things that Abraham is going through this year. There's a certain level of communication that they're able to share because of that.
Sonequa Martin-Green (Sasha)
Sasha, she went through some incredibly difficult things at the end of last year but came out the other side with a way forward, and we're going to see that way forward. We'll see how she's going to live. Sasha is absolutely taking over part of Andrea's role here. The character of Andrea from the comic is [spoiler alert] still in the comic — and she's the second lead in the comic. A lot of people say Sasha is taking over Andrea's role because she's a sharp shooter, but Andrea is a three-dimensional character in the comic. ... We're distributing aspects of Andrea's personality throughout the other characters — and not necessarily just the female characters.
Lennie James (Morgan)
There's a lot going on with Morgan. He finally made it to Rick only to see that Rick is not entirely the dude he saw last in King County. In that one moment, he saw that they're on completely different pages. Morgan believes all life is precious; Rick just shot a dude in the face. They have some things to work out. Morgan will interestingly not necessarily come into conflict only with Rick; his story will deeply involve one of the other characters as well.
Alanna Masterson (Tara)
Finding out about Noah — and more than that — is not an easy thing for her. She has choices about how she reacts to news she gets moving forward. She also might find someone who affects her. One of the characters is going to very deeply affect her.
Christian Serratos (Rosita)
Rosita has a variety of challenges this year that she is going to have to deal with. The stuff that she tackles is going to form her into a person. I find Rosita to be a very tough, no-nonsense character and the things that will happen, will make her that much more tough and no-nonsense. We'll see that soldier come out. She's this grizzled, seasoned soldier.
Josh McDermitt (Eugene)
Eugene had the most in common with the Alexandrians, as far as his level of being able to defend himself and survive in the world. He's going to find himself in situations that frustrate him in that arena and he's going to be challenged in finding how he can deal with this stuff himself. Because everybody is going to have their own stuff to deal with. He's going to have to take more responsibility for himself — and maybe even more people than himself.
Seth Gilliam (Father Gabriel)
It's gratifying that people get so mad at these characters! Father Gabriel, at the end of season five, shared the same opinion [that people hate him]. He was not down with himself, either. He's going to be pushing Sasha to kill him. He was right there with the fans on it. From the moment we met him, we knew something was up with him and found out about this horrible thing he did and how much it destroyed him and he betrayed everything he was supposed to be. Then to wind up in safety and a place where he could live and thrive, he couldn't deal with that. He felt as the audience felt: "I don't deserve this; I should die." But he didn't die. Maggie didn't want him to die. So what do you do with that? What will the audience do with that? The audience is where he is with that, too. What's going to happen with him because dying is not on the menu. I find that super interesting. What would be reprehensible is if he did all that stuff and then said, "Screw you guys." But he's not. He's in a place of shame and has to keep living, so what comes out of that? It's interesting and I'm curious how the audience will react to it.
Tovah Feldshuh (Deanna)
She came around to accept what Rick was saying and his vision of the world. How does she move forward in giving him more powers and telling people to listen to him? She isn't just going to sleep. She believes in what he's saying and wants to administer what he's saying. Is she one of those people who can become Rick's peer? Who can learn? Who can save herself? We'll see.
Ross Marquand (Aaron)
There's something worth spoiling about with Aaron. Events from last season are still very much on his mind and even though he was one of the toughest people in Alexandria, he doesn't know everything. He's quickly getting up to speed. Even though he has the ability to survive — he's tough, he's been out in the world, he can deal with walkers, people and can take a punch in the mouth from Rick — there's some emotional aspects to it that are pretty hard on him. We're going to see how that affects him.
Alexandra Breckenridge (Jessie)
She's not walking around guilty about Pete. Pete abused her. But by virtue of the fact that she was willing to stand up to him — he's a big guy — that indicated that she was about making sure that her kids survive. Period. Rick is about all these Alexandrians figuring out if they want to learn how to survive and teaching them. Jessie wants to learn how to survive and wants to become someone who can defend herself, defend her family and defend Alexandria. That's what she's trying to do. It really does frame everything about her right now.
Austin Nichols (Spencer)
This is the opportunity to learn more about who Spencer is this season. This season, we'll learn who he is. The good and some of the not so good stuff.
I'm psyched about all these actors. We lucked out getting each of them and they're adding to the texture and flavor of this series. With these many characters, you need actors with pretty distinct confident personas that poke out. With Merritt and Corey, there are skills they bring to the table but they are distinct characters with their own journeys going on. Their journeys complement and engage with the other characters. They aren't these individual strands; they're woven in to the greater tapestry that is our story this season.
Negan (yet to be cast)
There is absolutely a chance — which also means there's absolutely not a chance — that we will see him this season. It really does tilt certain directions in the story. But you might see him just as a mailman this season; you might not even know you see him!
The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on AMC. Whose storylines are you most looking forward to seeing? Sound off in the comments below. Come back to THR's The Live Feed on Sunday for our weekly Walking Dead postmortem.