Robert Kirkman And Michael Cudlitz Talk ABRAHAM’s Pivotal Role Moving Forward On THE WALKING DEAD
If you didn’t watch last night’s Walking Dead and you somehow avoided spoilers for how the episode played out, then turn away right now! We will be discussing the episode’s biggest development and what it means for the remainder of season 4. If you did watch it, or just don’t care about spoilers, then proceed.
At the end of last night’s episode we saw riot gear Glenn and Tara taking on a sizable group of walkers before Glenn collapsed from exhaustion. Tara had to finish a few off with the butt of Glenn‘s gun, but she managed it well. After turning to the camera and saying “Hope you enjoyed the show, a**holes” we saw the three characters we’ve been waiting all season to see. Sgt. Abraham Ford (Michael Cudlitz), Rosita Espinosa (Christian Serratos), and the mullet-ed Eugene Porter (Josh McDermitt with a real mullet) made their Walking Dead TV show debut, albeit brief for now. Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman and Sgt. Abraham Ford himself, Michael Cudlitz, have talked about the mustachioed character and what role he’ll play moving forward this season.
Talking at length to the official Walking Dead website after last night’s episode, Robert Kirkman discussed how they found the man who would play Abraham as well as how big of a role he’ll have the rest of this season. Kirkman even goes so far as to say Abraham will be a pillar of the show that tries to fill the vacuum left by the Governor‘s death:
All of our casting is always a somewhat involved process because we have such a great ensemble, so we have to make we have someone that’s going to fit and acclimate to the group, but also bring what they need to bring for the character. With Cudlitz in particular, we spent a lot of time looking at a lot of different candidates for Abraham and it took us a while to find the right guy. I’ll admit we were somewhat worried! We were wondering, are we going to find the right Abraham? It even came down to the wire to a certain extent because we didn’t know if we were going to be able to find him, and then Cudlitz emerged. He has had this huge career in television, and to be honest, I was a little worried that we weren’t going to be able to get him, but luckily he signed on because I think Abraham is going to be another pillar of the show. To a certain extent, he’ll be filling that vacuum that the loss of the Governor has created. He’ll be that other character that’s driving a lot of the story and generating a lot of cool stuff. As comics fans know, Abraham’s character is so important to the overall life of the series, and I’m very excited to see all of that come to the tv show, and I think Cudlitz is going to do a great job of bringing that character to life. And I can say that with confidence, since I’ve seen the rest of all of the episodes in Season 4!
While Kirkman was speaking to that website, Cudlitz was discussing his new gig with TV Guide.The actor said he watched the show before landing the role, but he had never read any of the comics. After talking with showrunner Scott Gimple about how much of the comic’s storyline for Abraham would be used in the show, he went back and read all the comics he could get his hands on. That gave him a feel for the role and he was able to wrap his head around this larger than life character. Cudlitz said his favorite part of playing the Sergent so far is “The insane, orange hair, slap-back, handlebar mustache, just the whole look of him. He walks into a room and just wants to fight. It’s like a permission slip to be the biggest douche you ever wanted to be.“
The actor also touched on Abraham and what sort of attitude he’ll be bringing to the show. Said Cudlitz when asked about his version of the character:
When we meet Abraham, one of the things that we realize most about him is that he’s very mission-oriented at this point. You’re not going to learn a lot about how he emotionally feels about things necessarily. He’s very reactive. He keeps his eye on the target. He’s not to be f—ed with. He will kill you.
The actor didn’t leave his traveling companions out of the conversation either. He discussed the group dynamic between the three characters and why they’re even traveling together in the first place. It sounds like we can expect the show’s story to be extremely faithful to the comics in some regards:
It’s a completely different dynamic. They have been traveling alone together for a bit now and they’re kind of f—ing sick of each other as people. They annoy the hell out of each other. It’s almost as if you were to say they are siblings to a strange degree. But I can’t kill any of them, so I guess we gotta move forward. They’re all integral to what we’re doing. Rosita is entirely effective and efficient. I’ve trained her and made her that way. She’s useful. And Eugene is the package, so we have to protect the package. I don’t think any of it comes down to being weary of what’s going on right now. The walkers are secondary at this point. There’s no big Hershel moment where we’re going to wax reflectively. It’s like, “Get the f— out of the way or get a bullet in your head.” It’s pretty clear.
Their relationships are formed out of necessity. There is safety in numbers. You need people to survive. If you didn’t need people to survive, he would not surround himself with people. Everyone [per]forms a function. If you cannot do your job, you are not needed. Eugene has important information. Eugene needs to be protected and be brought to Washington, D.C.
Abraham Ford is one of my favorite characters from the comics, and I have to say I’m excited to see the inevitable showdown between Cudlitz‘s Abraham and Norman Reedus‘ Daryl. It’s nice to hear that the story is following along with the comics as much as they can in the TV world too. The preview for next week’s episode seems like it’s going to put the three new characters firmly in the spotlight, so we won’t have to wait long to see how they interact with the rest of the cast. What do you think about Kirkman and Cudlitz‘s comments? Were you glad to finally see them arrive at the end of last night’s episode?