The Walking Dead showrunner shares clues on new villains the Reapers
Warning: This article contains spoilers about Sunday's episode The Walking Dead titled "Home Sweet Home."
There are some new big bads on the scene on The Walking Dead. And they may be the scariest foes yet.
On Sunday's "Home Sweet Home" episode, we were introduced to a new threat called the Reapers, and as showrunner Angela Kang notes, there were several clues (including sniping skills and military fatigue looking gear) that would suggest this group that has been tracking and killing Maggie's friends is far more proficient than your average post-apocalyptic band of mischief-makers. We spoke to Kang about the Reapers, what Maggie would have done if their prisoner had not blown himself up, casting young Hershel, and that super-awkward reunion with Negan.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Tell me about finding your young Hershel in young Kien Michael Spiller, who now is obviously becoming a more important part of the active story.
ANGELA KANG: We have amazing casting directors, both in Los Angeles, as well as down in the South. And Fincannon Casting, they are known for finding great kids. If you saw the list of people they've broken in, when they were children, it's pretty stunning. And they found all the kids for our show, many who have gone on to do tons of great stuff, even after this. And they just searched, and we knew that we were looking for something really, really specific, because you're looking for a kid that you could buy is the kid of Glenn and Maggie. And they were searching during a pandemic and all of that. And they found so many wonderful kids who auditioned, and it kind of came down to two kids.
And Lisa Mae Fincannon was like, "I just have a really good feeling about this kid. I have such a good feeling about him. He's really smart, and there's just something about him." And ultimately, he's the one we cast. And I think she was right. He has this sweetness to him. And I think he can kind of play that rascally thing that reminds you of Glenn. But he has something of the old soul of Maggie, which is really wonderful. So it was an adventure. We saw so many wonderful, young, child actors, and he won it, and we love having him. He's such a sweetheart.
He's even wearing a baseball cap, like when we first met Glenn.
He's wearing a baseball cap. Yeah.
Let's get into the big Maggie and Negan reunion. She's back, and with the son of her husband that Negan brutally murdered. So what does that mean moving forward?
For us, we're just excited to have Maggie and Negan both going in the same space together. And what does that mean for both of them going forward? That's a huge part of the story that we tell in season 11. But even in these episodes that are the six, I think that there's interesting questions about can somebody ever truly redeem themselves? Is it possible to forgive something that's that horrific? Do you need to forgive something that that's horrific? Can they, given the state of the world, figure out how to work together, or is it just going to be more death and destruction?
And I think, really, all of those emotions are justified at various points in the story, that these two have going forward. I think that Negan lives in sort of a question of, "Is she going to do something to me? What do I do?" And I think Maggie lives in the question of, "Do I want to continue to be upset by this guy? Do I want my kid to feel like there were no consequences for what he did? Or is it worse to not be able to move past that?" And so, those two were just really good together, and there's going to be lots more to explore with Maggie and Negan.
What can you say about the Reapers, these people that have seemingly been hunting the group Maggie's been with? And how big a part are they going to be playing in the future story?
Without getting into too much spoiler-y stuff, I think what we can say is that ... Look, I mean, one guy followed them out there, and he caused a lot of trouble for Maggie's group, who are not exactly stupid themselves. So, if he's from a group that obviously has hunting skills and he's in these military fatigues. He's in a ghillie suit at one point. They have some sort of background where they know military techniques. And so, that's going to be just a formidable type of enemy to go up against.
Because I think for the most part in our show, all of the people who are the bad guys they come up against, who knows, they might've been an accountant before the apocalypse and then just turned dark. Right? But when you have people who have a certain level of skills and training, it poses a different kind of a problem, because suddenly you don't need 100 of them. One guy can cause a lot of harm. So this is definitely a story that will be ongoing. But beyond that, I'll hold some stuff for later.
So let's play my favorite game of Walking Dead What If. That scene you talked about with the sniper that met Maggie, they finally trap him. She says, "Answer my questions or I'll kill you." Then he kills himself instead. So of course, what I want to know is had he not done that and had he not answered her questions, what does Maggie do there?
I think that if he had not killed himself, things might've gone into a dark territory, to try to get the answers that they wanted. That's what I think would have happened.
Yeah. I think so.
That's what Lauren Cohan said too. She said torture.
Maggie has been through some dark things, as we'll learn. So I think this is not to put any moral judgment on it. I, myself, am not a big fan of the idea of torture, but they're in a dark universe, and they're up against somebody who has some dark views. So I think that, that is the way that they would have gone.
AMC's zombie thriller, based on the classic comic book serial created by Robert Kirkman.