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Actresses on The Walking Dead like to joke that there must be something in the water will all the pregnancies that have popped up lately among cast members. When Sonequa Martin-Green was pregnant during season 5, they were able to conceal her baby bump with an army jacket and strategically-placed items, and the timing worked out where the actress did not miss any time on the show.
However, when Alanna Masterson then got pregnant during filming on season 6, producers prepared for her absence by sending Tara on an ill-fated supply run with Heath (played by Corey Hawkins, who was leaving to star on Fox’s 24: Legacy and will apparently not be back in season 8). We then did not see Tara until episode 6 of season 7, when she eventually showed up at the community of Oceanside.
Which brings us to season 8 and Christian Serratos’ Rosita. Serratos, whose boyfriend is David Boyd (singer of alt-rock band New Politics), gave birth to a baby girl on what she tells us was actually the very first day of filming on season 8 — May 1. Similar to what they did with Tara one season prior, producers appeared to give themselves an excuse to sideline Rosita by having her shot in the confrontation with the Saviors in the season 7 finale. So then that raises the question: How long will Rosita be M.I.A.?
We asked showrunner Scott M. Gimple about it and he admits that “there will be a notable sort of Rosita-lessness early on. She did get shot at the end of the season, so she was recovering from that, but she’s back and she got back actually pretty soon, and she’s terrific. So, timing-wise, we missed Espinosa a little bit, but she was healing up from her wounds at the hands of the Saviors in episode 716.”
That “back actually pretty soon” comment is of particular note, especially when you combine it with what Serratos herself told us about when we may Rosita again. “Well, what I can say is that we still do have the magic of the film industry,” says the actress. “I don’t want to give too much away. I mean, some people in the past have come back after like six episodes, but there’s the second unit. I don’t want to say you won’t see her. I don’t want to say you will. I just want to say that where there’s a will there’s a way.”
The second unit she slyly refers to is a smaller crew that can go and film certain scenes while the main crew works on the primary stuff. And a second unit can often work to get shots for inserts on episodes that have otherwise already been filmed — meaning they may have filmed a scene with Serratos after, say, episode 5, that they then inserted into episode 1 or 2. But either way, while Rosita may appear earlier than anticipated, it sounds like it could be only a brief appearance or two.
We spoke to Serratos to talk about giving birth while still kicking ass on the show.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: So having Rosita get shot in the finale was a pretty plot-convenient way to give you a break to have a child and be a mom for a bit, right?
CHRISTIAN SERRATOS: Yes, David and I had done some planning and we were like, “Great, she’s going to come right before the new season!” And turns out it was literally the first day of the new season that she came! She came on May 1, which was the first official day of filming. So we didn’t plan it out exactly like we thought we did, and the plan changed a lot. I was going to come back after two weeks, and then I was going to come back here, and then I was going to go back there, and it changed a lot. But that was a way of giving just enough room to have baby and schedule around it.
Clearly they’ve been through this before with Alanna and Sonequa in terms of planning, so I assume the discussions in terms of doing that were pretty easy.
Yeah, and Scott’s incredible. This show means a lot to all of us, but we all say we’re The Walking Dead family for a reason. We really do all appreciate family and appreciate how close we all are to each other, so extending the family is something everyone is really happy about. It could easily have been on any other show a stressful thing to talk about, but here it was just excitement and Scott was more than happy to give me what I needed to be comfortable. I was like, “I’m going to be ready I just need three days. Just give me three days!” He was like, “Christian, chill. You’ve got to be good. You’ve got to rest a little bit.”
So obviously what fans are going to want to know is, how long until we see Rosita again? So what can you say about that?
Well, what I can say is that we still do have the magic of the film industry. I don’t want to give too much away, I mean, some people in the past have come back after like six episodes, but there’s the second unit. I don’t want to say you won’t see her. I don’t want to say you will. I just want to say that where there’s a will there’s a way.
What’s it like when you’re not around on set — even when it’s not to have a baby. You guys are often on for a few episodes and then maybe off for a few. Do you feel like you’re missing out then?
Yeah, definitely, because I’ve had so many new beginnings and I feel like now is another new beginning. And with each one of those new beginnings, the show kind of changes a little bit. So when I came in, it was a little bit smaller and all of us hung out more often because we were with each other more often on set. Now, there’s so many different stories and so many different people, and the family has just grown, which is so amazing, and you get to hang out with these new characters and these new people.
But then you also get separated from some of the people that you’ve come in with. So on a personal level, you’re not seeing who you’re used to seeing as often, but then again, there’s all these incredible stories to tell and all these incredible people and new actors around. So you always have friends around, but it just might not be the people that you’re used to seeing.