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Here's what you need to know from the comics about Michael James Shaw's character.

By Nick Romano
March 02, 2021 at 10:15 AM EST
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Filming on The Walking Dead's 11th and final season has already begun, and that means AMC is letting slip more details on the expanded 22-episode story.

Aside from dealings with the Commonwealth, the network announced this week that Michael James Shaw — the actor behind Corvus Glaive in Avengers: Infinity War, Papa Midnite in the now-canceled Constantine series, and Agent Mike in Limitless — will take the role of Mercer, a prominent character from the comics. His presence makes sense, considering the Commonwealth's inclusion, but it's an exciting development nonetheless.

Here's what you need to know about Mercer from the comics to keep the hype going for the final season.

First things first, a reminder of what the Commonwealth is, just in case you haven't been keeping track of the fan chatter online and listing all the clues that've popped up across the seasons.

The Commonwealth is a network of communities in Ohio, and they're one of the most advanced communities — aside from the Civic Republic on The Walking Dead: World Beyond. (Slips into Stefon voice.) The hottest destination in the post-apocalypse has everything: weapons, an army, class systems, bakeries, tailors, butchers, an event stadium for sports and concerts, lawyers, and government. People are designated jobs based on what they did prior to the outbreak. A woman by the name of Pamela Milton rules over the Commonwealth, while the soldiers, typically dressed in white armor and carrying rifles, enforce the laws.

Eugene's radio conversation with a woman named Stephanie, who belongs to the Commonwealth, is something pulled straight from the comics. Since then, audiences were also introduced, however briefly, to the Commonwealth soldiers in the 16th episode of season 10. Eugene, Ezekiel, Yumiko, and Princess arrived at the rendezvous point where they were supposed to meet Stephanie, only to be swarmed by these armored guards.

Michael James Shaw and Mercer from The Walking Dead
Credit: Neilson Barnard/Getty Images; Skybound

Mercer will presumably be hard to miss when he finally makes his arrival. Not only is he the chief officer of the Commonwealth soldiers, he dresses in red armor. It's a rank he received due to his military background in the United States Marine Corps. In the comics, he's also the personal bodyguard of Pamela and her son. Suffice it to say, he outranks many, even if he's often belittled by those who do find themselves in superior positions. **Cough**Pamela**Cough**.

Even though The Walking Dead, the show, has taken many liberties in interpreting the source material for the screen, chief among them being multiple characters are dead in the comics by the time the Commonwealth rolls up compared to who remains on the show now, there are certain things we won't delve into at this point to preserve what might be coming. But, another thing to note is Mercer's relationship with Juanita Sanchez, a.k.a. Princess, who's played by Paola Lázaro. Her arrival in season 10 was another major hint that the Commonwealth wasn't far off, as she and Mercer get real hot and heavy in the comics. Cue to the Lucille Bluth GIF, "Good for her!"

It's unclear if Shaw's Mercer will pop up sooner in the six added episodes to The Walking Dead's 10th season, which started airing last Sunday. Showrunner Angela Kang previously told EW those episodes were partly made of brand-new material and story pieces they moved up from season 11. In any case, AMC announced the final season will premiere sometime later this summer. So, there's not too much long of a wait.

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The Walking Dead

AMC's zombie thriller, based on the classic comic book serial created by Robert Kirkman.

type
  • TV Show
seasons
  • 10
rating
  • TV-14
genre
creator
  • Frank Darabont
network
  • AMC
stream service

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