The Walking Dead Season 10 filming has officially begun! Both actors and crew members have been giving fans minor looks into the start of a brand new season, and I, for one, am really excited for all the possibilities Season 10 brings to the table. Now that it’s been a month or so since the Season 9 Finale concluded, fans have definitely had time to unpack all that went down in this landmark season.
Yes, the numbers have slipped, and viewership has seen better days. However, I thought Season 9 was one of the best seasons to date. Sure, ratings hit an all-time low, but there were promising moments throughout the second half of the season. Viewership started to climb with the introduction and development of the Whisperers, and I think Angela Kang’s team made the best of the mess it was given leading up to this past season. Arguably, the most impressive accomplishment was the show’s ability to create a general interest in a post-Rick Grimes world. Now, I am still not a fan of the time jump, but it was definitely necessary to push a rather slow-going season forward.
With Rick and Maggie out of the picture and Michonne rumored to follow a similar fate, Season 10 will require more characters to step up to the plate and win over the masses. Carol and Daryl can only do so much, people! Outside of our original duo, we have a lot of fresh faces, but character growth and development has to start somewhere. I attended Fan Fest’s Walker Stalker Con in Chicago a few weeks ago, and I caught up with some of the actors to discuss the dramatics of Season 9 and the direction of Season 10. (You can see my interviews with Matt Lintz and Katelyn Nacon here.) For this article, I wanted to hold some brief interviews with some of the potential sleeper characters who could have a massive impact on this upcoming season.
First, I met with Nadia Hilker, who plays the newcomer Magna. For all you comic book fans, you know Magna is a pretty important character in the Whisperer War, and her independent, never-say-die persona gives her some critical responsibilities within Rick’s Militia. Magna’s reluctance to believe in a society like Alexandria and Hilltop made her a bit of a wild card early on in the show, but as Michonne accepted her, it was clear that a woman like Magna would be necessary for the future success and growth of our communities.
Jon Maus: I don’t want to take up too much of your time, so here are some pretty basic [questions]. What’s it like being a part of the Walking Dead verse?
Nadia Hilker: “Um, I still haven’t realized how big it is yet. But, when I do, it’s great. I’m so grateful. It’s a family. We’re all having each other’s backs, and it’s super brutal to shoot. Like, shooting the show itself is brutal, but it’s so much fun. It feels like summer camp, and everybody is too good to be true.”
JM: Interesting. What’s one of the hardest things about shooting the show?
NH: “[Laughs] The heat. The humidity. Being in the woods, bugs bite you, and snakes are everywhere down there. It’s definitely an adventure.”
JM: Crazy. What do you hope is in store for Magna in Season 10?
NH: “I really, really hope we get to see her backstory. I really do. She is such a complex character, and her attitude had to come from somewhere. I hope she really helps the group, and we see that she belongs.”
Next, I met with Lindsley Register, who plays former Savior turned Alexandrian Laura. Now, her character on screen is a bit different than that of her character on the pages. In the comics, Laura willingly leaves the Saviors with Dwight to join Rick at Alexandria. She also has feelings for Dwight after his falling out with Sherry, and she often encourages him to take on leadership roles within their new community. (Side note: The show completely missed on its writing and development of Dwight, but I’ll cover that on a different day. There’s still hope!) Anyways, her character took a different route from its comic predecessor in Season 8 when she turned Dwight over to Negan after she witnessed Dwight betraying the Saviors in battle with Alexandria. After Negan falls and the Saviors disband, Laura does come to Alexandria, and the time jump reveals that she is accepted into their community. In Season 9, we even see her serve on the Alexandrian council, which leads me to believe her character will get a more prominent role in Season 10.
JM: Back in Season 8, why do you think Laura turned Dwight in to Negan and ratted him out?
Lindsley Register: “I think that my character, and a lot of other characters on the show for that matter, are just doing whatever they have to do to survive. I don’t think that Laura had any other choice other than to comply with such, like, a dictator.”
JM: Now that you’re accepted into Alexandria, what do you hope the future has in store for Laura?
LR: “Yeah, I really can’t see us going backwards. Again, the whole theme of doing whatever you have to do to survive at this point is to assimilate or die, get taken out. You can’t really get excommunicated in this world. I guess, I see Laura as the kind of person who is going to go with the strongest leader, whoever shows the most promise. At the moment, Michonne is that person. Negan is off his throne, so I see her being a soldier in Michonne’s army.”
JM: I’m looking forward to that, and speaking of an army. What do you think fans can expect, in general, with the Whisperers and their threat to the group in Season 10?
LR: “Speaking just as a spectator, I will say I expect there to be a bloodbath. With such a big moment in the show, I know the Whisperer War is going to be huge. I guess we got a little bit of that in the finale with the fallout of them killing so many people at once. I would not be shocked, at all, if we see another mass killing. God, that sounds super violent [laughs], but that’s what I expect. And I hope I’m not one of them!”
Lastly, I wanted to ask a few questions to the woman responsible for Rick’s disappearance and some of the weirdest Walking Dead moments over the last season or two: Jadis. When she and her garbage people made their ominous entrance into the verse and betrayed Rick and his group a few different times, I never really knew how to read Jadis or her intentions. With so much mystery surrounding her, I find it hard to believe that fans will not see her on future television episodes. Regardless of T.V. movies or actor preferences, the writers have too much uncertainty regarding Rick Grimes, and I feel such fact has to be addressed in order for Season 10 to be a home run.
JM: The first question I want to ask you is, are you we going to see you again in the Walking Dead?
Pollyanna Mcintosh: “I would hope so. I would hope that I’m in the first movie when they do the Rick Grimes films because it would make the most sense. Nothing has been confirmed yet, so there’s no news exactly. There’s just a bunch of rumors.”
JM: Ok, why do you think Jadis is such a hard character to read from a fan’s perspective? She surprises you every single time she’s on screen.
PM: “Well, I think she’s very good at staying slightly obscure about her intentions and her personality. I think she let’s in who she chooses to, and her relationship with Rick is very real. You know?”
JM: Why do you think she is so attached to Rick?
PM: “I don’t think it’s an attachment in, like, the normal sense. It’s the apocalypse, so normal doesn’t exist. I think she respects him and, much like audience members, she sees him for who he really is. He has great possibility. I think that she appreciates the loyalty that he has shown her. They relate on a lot of levels by being leaders and by being seeing the gray parts of the world, the one’s that aren’t black or white.”
JM: Great, well I do have one last question for you. Do you have any other projects your working on that fans can look forward to? I know you’ll be in the upcoming season of Lodge 49, right?
PM: “Yeah, I’m looking forward to that. Season two comes out in August, and it’s a great cast. I have a really fun character, and I had a ton of fun shooting it. I’m looking forward to people seeing that. If anyone hasn’t seen it, go check it out on Hulu! It’s a bit slow in the beginning, but then you’re like, ‘What’s this about? Ahh, I get it.’ People should also look out for Darlin, which I’ve written and directed. It comes out in July. It’s a sequel to The Woman, but it’s a standalone sequel. The lead is Lauryn Canny, and she is an amazing actress to look out for.”
Thank you to Nadia Hilker, Lindsley Register, and Pollyanna Mcintosh for giving their time to answer a few questions. They definitely had a busy weekend at WSC, and if you’ve never had a chance to attend or meet any of these cast members in person, I strongly recommend doing so in the future.