Melissa McBride on Carol in The Walking Dead’s Season 8: ‘This is What I was Yearning for Last Year’

We’re just weeks away from the season 8 premiere of The Walking Dead which also stands as the 100th episode. If those weren’t reason enough to celebrate, fans are also anxiously anticipating the fact that when our favorite series returns, we’ll be seeing them with a fire in their hearts and a passion in their step, a fire and a passion that were dormant in season 7.

In addition to everything we know, we’re anticipating season 8 bringing forth action, and not just brutal fighting, but guided movements forward that will undoubtedly bring victory to the characters we love so much.

The cast and crew are excited about the season as well, and in a series of interviews, EW spoke with Melissa McBride about Carol and what we can expect from her in season 8.

First, she was asked how Carol is handling the horrible things she’s survived since Negan came to power, not just that, but how she’s living with what she knows her family has had to survive through as well. In season 7, our characters didn’t live, they merely did everything that they could to get by. Now, the living begins again.

I think given the rise of Negan and all the horrible things that she survived since she left, she’s, she does feel a call to duty, and that’s the idea that her family never left. She just went off to save herself, but she knows she’s got to fight and she knows what that means to her. She laid it out for Daryl when he came to her cottage that she’s running a risk of losing herself in the fight, but it’s worth it to her. And I think we’ll see she’s going to fight the conflict in her mind, it’s going to be alive there too. There’s just no way getting around that — if she comes to terms with it. We’ll see.

Melissa then spoke about whether she feels more like an Alexandrian at this point, or if her loyalty lies within the Kingdom. She explained it in the way we see it ourselves, while there are three powerful groups that are standing to fight against Negan and the Saviors, they’re united – they’re coming together as one.

Oh, I think it’s both. They’re coming together to fight this one horrible enemy. She’s still got her family that she started out with. They’re all very special to her and now these new factions are moving in and she’s developing relationships with the Kingdom and they’re good people. Good versus bad, that’s what’s so compelling about this is because everybody’s just trying to survive. And where do you make that distinction that we’re all doing nasty, ugly things in an effort to survive, but everybody thinks they’re right? Even Negan. He’s like. “I’m doing it for these people and they can’t do it. They’d be lost without me.” It’s very compelling on that level and I am enjoying season 8, I’ve got to say.

When asked if she felt the same way that Norman Reedus and Lennie James feel about the group getting back together and some of the pain and stress ending – her response is exactly what we expected. She knew why last season was necessary, but she was ready to move past it. Us too, Melissa.

Oh, yeah. This is like back in the old days, you know? This is what I was yearning for last year. I mean, I totally understood — we’ve got stories to develop and we’ve got an arc to get over, and we’ve got to prepare and set up a stage for this war to come. But boy, it was nerve-racking. I guess it kind of helped a little bit too, in Carol’s need for solitude, just to get away, but also the conflict of getting away from the people that you really are concerned about even though you’re being eaten alive by the circumstances. I mean, I enjoy the conflict of the show, but being separated was just nerve-racking. I couldn’t wait to see where this was going and when we’re all going to get together again.

The Walking Dead premieres on October 22nd on AMC, and you won’t want to miss this season opener.