The Walking Dead showrunner teases return of Lauren Cohan's Maggie
Warning: This article contains spoilers about Sunday’s episode The Walking Dead titled “The Tower.”
Sunday’s “The Tower” episode of The Walking Dead was not originally intended to be the season 10 finale, but with the actual season-ender air date pushed back indefinitely due to the coronavirus-related work shut down that made it impossible to finish post-production visual effects, the penultimate episode now serves as a temporary exclamation point.
And what an exclamation point it was as Princess led Eugene, Yumiko, and Ezekiel on a mine-filled tour of her solitary city, Lydia dealt with the death of her mother (Alpha) and the man who killed her (Negan), Carol got a much-needed pep talk from an unlikely source, and Beta got a pep talk from a very mysterious source. The episode — and season, for now — ended with our heroes holed up in a hospital tower seemingly surrounded by the Whisperer horde.
What does it all mean and where is it all going? We spoke to showrunner Angela Kang to get all the intel — or, at least as much as she would give up. And Kang teases that when we do get to see that season finale, it will include the definitive answer as to where Maggie has been hiding. Read on for more.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: We have this shot near the beginning of the episode where everyone is holed up in this building and the camera moves from room to room, goes from quick interaction to quick interaction, and finally lands on Luke and Carol, I believe. Tell me about coming up with that shot, because it’s pretty unique.
ANGELA KANG: Our show tries to be really cinematic. We have an amazing camera crew and DPs and we have amazing directors and Laura Belsey, who directed the episode — she did the heads on the spikes episode last year and she's incredible and she worked with our camera department to design that shot. She's really brought some really beautiful cinematic shots like that, like this giant oner and our Steadicam operator, Juan, is just absolutely incredible. He works on Fear as well. I think it was a really elegant way to show things that are going on as our group is trying to figure out their stuff.
Let’s talk about another interesting scene. You have this moment between Carol and Kelly where Kelley tells her how her sister told her that losing her hearing was her superpower, and that she heard the stories about Carol in the old days and how she would just go off and do the thing that only she could do and that being a Lone Wolf was her superpower. What kind of impact is that conversation going to have on Carol moving forward?
I think that it really has a huge impact on Carol. Carol really feels like Kelly should hate her for what happened at the mine. But it was a tragic accident. She was doing what she thought could help the group, but she wasn't in her best state as she was so bent on revenge that she really got a tunnel vision, and that can be part of the dark side of being fueled by revenge. It's dark emotion, and to have Kelly show her such grace in that moment really moves her.
Carol needs to get her groove back a little bit. To lose a child and to lose a community and to lose a marriage, all of this has happened in a really tight time period for her and she's struggling with a lot. And that's part of the depth of Carol. She's not unfeeling about the things that she does. Everything weighs on her, because otherwise she'd be a psychopath. And she's just a very human woman who is trying to just cope with a lot right now. And I think it's going to do a lot for her moving forward.
You introduced Princess last week, and we got to know her a lot better in this last installment. Clearly, very excitable. A big personality. What were your instructions to Paola Lázaro, the actress who plays Princess, in terms of who this person is and what living on her own has done to her?
From her initial audition and into her subsequent auditions and the conversations that we had, Paola always really had a pretty good angle on the character. And the thing that we said about Princess is that she's based so much on the character that Robert Kirkman created in the comic books. Here's this person who is really, really excited about life and she's been alone a really long time.
And for her, just running across people at all is such a huge thing. But she has her very own unique perspective on life. She can be a little distractible, she's a little excitable, but she at heart is just really longing to connect people. And it hasn't always been easy for her. I think Princess has dealt with some pretty dark stuff in her life. And even for those of us that are in lockdown in this quarantine, you can see how people are already going a little stir crazy sometimes and everybody's just trying to say stay safe and keep their family safe.
And, of course, not everybody even has the privilege of being able to stay home, but it's a really big change in life to just be stuck without being able to just do the normal things that you do. And here's this person that's been by herself for years. She has obviously developed her own ways of coping with that. We found the previous episode where she seems to have set up her own little apocalypse dioramas, but that comes out of a desperation of thinking: Maybe I'm never going to see anyone again. She's at an 11 when we meet her. And that obviously has some strange consequences for our group.
Ezekiel and Princess never overlapped in the comic, so it must have been fun to put royalty together here on screen.
Oh yeah, that was really fun. And I think Khary Payton did such a great job with this moment where he starts to say he's King Ezekiel after she's talked about not wanting to be queen, but she's Princess and I love the way he played that. It's one of the alternate timelines that happened on the show. It just opens up these like really strange opportunities that are really fun.
Let's go to something that's maybe a little less fun. The whole Lydia situation here where Negan comes back and he's trying to see how she's feeling about everything. She tells him, "Most of us wish you had died too.” Clearly, she's working through a lot of issues with her mom now being dead and it's at his hand. But that brings up an interesting question because we don't really see all that much of how the others actually do feel about Negan at this point. So I'll ask you, Angela: Negan went out there, he killed Alpha. How do the others feel about him right now?
We'll see a little bit more of that in the episode to air and in time to come. But look, he killed Alpha. That's great. But he was also standing outside of Hilltop and shot fire arrows at their walls and now an entire community of people, combined community of people, since the kingdom folded into the Hilltop has no home. And I think it's complicated and I think he has a good argument of "This is what I had to do to get it done." And other people are going to feel like, "Well, if you're right next to her with a fire arrow, why not shoot it into her head instead of at our house?”
Negan is always complicated, and he has been on this interesting road where he's trying to fold into our group and they clearly didn't kick him out of the group, but I think depending on the person, they're going to have a very different interpretation of events and how they feel about him. But, for now, they're all just trying to make it through.
It appears there is this voice Beta hears. I thought at first it was his fellow Whisperers but then I was like, wait, is that inside his head? Am I hearing things now? What is that voice, Angela?
Yeah, we'll find out more about this voice speaking to Beta. But he's got his half Alpha face and he seems to be guided by voices. What we know about Beta is that now that he's taken leadership of the group, this is what his version of being the Alpha is and it's, in its own way, disturbing and it's uniquely Beta.
Does that mean Carol is not the only person that Alpha is speaking to from beyond the grave?
Things will remain to be seen, but he's definitely bent on his revenge coming forward.
Now I’m not necessarily the most eagle-eyed viewer, but that shot of the exterior of the building where our heroes are holed up in that we see at the very end as Beta and the horde approaches looks a lot like the exterior of the Grady Memorial Hospital that Daryl carried Beth’s lifeless body out of back in season 5. Did you guys use the same location for each of those shots?
I’m not totally sure. We're often utilizing different buildings and redressing stuff and things.
Well, we end with that shot and our heroes appear to be surrounded. Normally we’d be getting our answer to what happens in a week, but that is not the case now with the delay due to the work shutdown, so what can you tell us about what to expect when you all are finally able to pick things back up and finish this season?
We'll see some more of the new characters as they're featured this season, and we will see more of the epic conflict we've been witnessing all season with the survivors and the Whisperers. And we'll see that Maggie is…. We'll know what's happened with her and what that means for our group. And our people are obviously on this collision course with the Whisperer horde. We will see Beta doing his thing as the leader of the Whisperers, hell bent on his revenge.
Obviously, it's not been that long in the timeline since Michonne said "I'm going to go off and try to find your father," and she's obviously not back. We'll see how Judith’s dealing with that. There's Darryl and Negan, and Lydia, and Carol, and things with various groupings coming to a head. And we'll see more from the person in the iron mask with the weapons that come upon Alden and Aaron that we'll see in sneak peaks and everything. I think it's a really cool episode. Greg Nicotero did an amazing job directing it. The actors turn in beautiful performances. The writers did amazing work and the crew. I think it'll be a really satisfying episode.
For more Walking Dead intel, follow Dalton on Twitter @DaltonRoss.