"Even I was surprised in hearing that she was Jadis Stokes. I was like, 'What? What? What?'"

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Warning: This article contains spoilers for Sunday's episode of The Walking Dead: World Beyond, "Who Are You?"

Three years ago on The Walking Dead, we watched Rick Grimes and a former foe named Jadis turned at least semi-friend named Anne get onto a CRM helicopter and fly off to God knows where. At last, one of them was finally found, but in a different place and on a different show.

On Sunday's episode of The Walking Dead: World Beyond, "Who Are You?," Anne (Pollyanna McIntosh) made her long-awaited return to the franchise. Only she was no longer Anne. Not only had the character reverted back to her first name of Jadis, her moniker while running the Heaps, but she had also assumed the last name of her former boyfriend, Father Gabriel Stokes.

That was just one of the surprises as we also learned that Jadis Stokes was a devoted warrant officer in the Civic Republic Military investigating "corruption, ineptitude, and betrayal," and had been trained by none other than Huck. We caught up with McIntosh from Ireland (where she just finished wrapping season 2 of Netflix's upcoming Vikings: Valhalla) to get her take on her new Walking Dead show, the new last name, and of course, her new haircut.

The Walking Dead: World Beyond
Pollyanna McIntosh on 'The Walking Dead: World Beyond'
| Credit: Steve Swisher/AMC

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: So when and how did you find out about Jadis crossing over to World Beyond?

POLLYANNA McINTOSH: Five months before I left The Walking Dead, [Walking Dead chief content officer Scott M. Gimple and TWD showrunner Angela Kang] spoke to me about what was going to happen. They said, "It's not going to be the end for Jadis, and we want to carry on story lines with her, so watch this space." But it wasn't until a couple of weeks before I started on World Beyond that I found out, because I was supposed to be in Ireland much earlier [for filming on Vikings: Valhalla], but of course with COVID everything's been pushed and everyone's doing their best to keep us all safe.

We got pushed here in Ireland. Gimple knew this and went, "Oh, hang on a minute. We could really do something here because this world is the right world." And he said, "Let me speak to AMC." And he gets back to me and he said, "Okay, let's see if we can make this work." It was really fun. It was really fast. The great thing is that him and [World Beyond showrunner Mat Negrete] know Jadis so well that they could do these wonderful story lines for her. I had a lot of fun, man. It was great.

That's fascinating to hear that had the shutdown not happened, then maybe this doesn't happen.

Exactly.

Before we get into the character itself, what was it like being back on a Walking Dead set, but with a completely new cast and crew?

We talk about Walking Dead family a lot, and we really mean it. It was like, "I get to go from the original onto the new and connect with these people who are part of our family." I was just excited. It was a certain confidence coming in too, because unlike coming into season 7 of The Walking Dead, I was coming into season 2, so I didn't feel too much like I was going to be the new girl. They were very welcoming, and we had other new people this season as well. It's just been really fun, and I really loved Richmond as well. I thought it's a wonderful place to be.

I was knowing that they would know me a bit, and that was a nice feeling, especially after lockdown. It was like, "Hello, people. How have you been?" I also feel a responsibility coming in as a character from the flagship show to make sure that I honor that and honor that history and honor the character's history.

It was really fun getting the scripts from Matt, and talking to him and Gimple together and going, "Oh, this is interesting. Well, what about this?" We just had a little bit more collaboration on this, because on Walking Dead you wouldn't touch a letter. But on this I was like, "Well, what about…" I can't say anything without giving it away, but I'd be like, "Can she maybe refer to this thing from the past?" It's just fun.

What was it like coming back to this character, who is a familiar character but in a very different place as kind of the third iteration of what we see here as Jadis 3.0?

So fun to get inhabit her again. On the fittings day, when I found that haircut I was like, "Oh, this feels right." I wanted to bring the old Jadis, but also a new edge with the military element and a Joan of Arc nod as well, because she's like, "I'm doing it for all the right reasons." And whilst we're in the audience going, "No! Don't go to the dark side!" I was calling it the third iteration too. But because he's very smart, Gimple said, "Well, it's more like one and two melded." So I'm calling her one plus two.

I think that was really good to hear because I didn't want to lose a lot of Jadis' original ideals. I feel that I found a way to hold onto those ideals whilst having the ravaged side of her from having lost her people and having been betrayed by, when she did try to fit in and have a new community and not be in charge, but be one of the people. And that didn't really work out, did it?

It's like she's got this new purpose now, and certainly I wanted to keep her swagger and with this amazing wardrobe that I had, I was like, "Yeah!" Very Star Wars-esque, I thought, with the loose-fitting jacket. There's a lot of swagger. And there's little things I'm doing with my hands and stuff a lot of the time, where I'm just remembering her fingers in the junkyard, the way she would do things with her hands. It's been fun holding all of those balls in the air as, like you say, this year's version of her.

How'd you all come up with the haircut, then?

I was really grateful because I just had shaved my head during the pandemic and this was my hair grown out now to a very short cut. And I thought, "Well, look, the front is about the right length to have those ridiculous bangs back. So can we maybe give that nod? And have it not just being a sort of nice short haircut." It was like, "How can I make that straight-ass line?" And I just went, "Let's take it all the way around. Let's shave the s‑‑‑ out of the back." And I've got a couple of scars in the back of my head, so I thought that would add a little story.

From having seen Luc Besson's Joan of Arc a few years ago, it's like Milla Jovovich's hair in that, but without the length on top. I thought, "Joan of Arc, she's just completely in her own vision and nobody can question it. And it's for the greater good. And she knows all kinds of thing." And I thought that was a pretty good symbol for Jadis to carry around with her. It makes it easier to do some s‑‑‑‑y things as well, if you think of Joan of Arc.

The Walking Dead: World Beyond
Pollyanna McIntosh on 'The Walking Dead: World Beyond'
| Credit: AMC

Let's talk about the name, which I find interesting on two levels, because she's gone back to Jadis, that's level one. And then she's also taken Gabriel's last name of Stokes. Tell me what you see as behind both those decisions.

Even I was surprised in hearing that she was Jadis Stokes. I was like, "What? What? What?" But she left him behind, and she had to. But I thought she's not going to want to keep her… They always challenge me where I have to come up with these reasons for things. I know it's right because it's the writers, and they know this world, it's their world. Gimple has always held Jadis close to his heart because he created her, so I love working with him on this stuff. So I decided it's a way of honoring what was a true relationship with Gabriel, but also a reminder that it didn't work out and that it doesn't work out when you fall in love, and not to do that again.

I think the idea for her of being Mrs. Stokes is hilarious, because she's not the marrying type. But in a way, if you're married you're not available, and she isn't available in that regard anymore. She's closed herself off to those things. I'm sure she still would get a shagging. No bother. But there's not going to be this love business. There's not going to be this stuff that just causes heartache and pain and makes life more difficult. She almost got herself killed because of Gabriel, because she kept not taking him and giving him up when he was promised. I think it's a warning for her, but it's also a little joke too.

Jadis appears to be all in on the CRM program. What is it that has turned her into such a true believer?

She was in the CR, she got to see what was possible. And it was the CRM that had made all that possible, so she wants to be part of what's working. It's a big civilization they've created, and nobody's going hungry, nobody's in danger, if they continue the way they've been going. And she can't sit idly by. She tried that, she did try and just sit on her arse for a bit, but she can't do it. I think that having a purpose and being a leader is what keeps her going. She owes her life to these people, and she is committed to the cause because she's seen what it can do. In the CR there's everything. Even culture, which was missing.

Is it the appeal of power too? She was in a powerful position when we first met her in the Heaps and had people following her. You said she was sitting on her butt for a little bit. Is she now craving that power a little bit again?

I think that power is necessary, she knows that. But having nice things is still important to her, if she can have them, which this power gives her. It's also safety in power. There's a lot of safety there, and she doesn't want to feel as scared as she felt when she was on her own. She was bloody terrified. I do also believe she really loved her people. She's not somebody who revels in people being afraid of her or her being the most powerful in the room, in the sense that it's doing harm to others. It's more that she can enjoy it for what it brings her. But the leadership element is like a calling. I think she likes having people to look after, and this is the same.

Jadis has that one conversation with Huck where she talks about her past and talks about how if you create a language and a little theater, it can bond people and separate them from everyone else. What do you think of that explanation of how the Heaps came to be?

Yeah, it's always something I believed. I had to figure out this language, making sense for this character. For me it was exactly that. If you bond everyone together with the same language, then we're a stronger unit. It's better for everybody's good. Again, it's a manipulation that's useful rather than mustache-twirling. But also to put other people from the outside on the back foot. "Who am I dealing with here? These people are weird." That's a powerful thing to have in your toolbox when there's a problem of trust because it's the apocalypse.

And then lastly, it just covered such a huge space in that junkyard where you didn't have to waste any time with extra words, you just got the message fast. It kept everyone just a little bit sharper. But I think she's also trying to relate to Huck and say, "Look, I know what it's like being in your own community, and it's powerful. If you're bonded, that can make you feel that that is where your loyalty lies, but your loyalty should not lie with these other people that you've been exposed to on the outside. Your loyalty should lie with the CRM and the greater good." Only someone who's lost community can be the one to remind Huck that comes and goes, but this is forever.

What can you tease in terms of what people can expect with Jadis coming up on World Beyond?

She's always up to something, this one. She's always up to something. You can expect that intrigue. I think it's also really fun to get to see Huck adjusting to this position, and to see Huck with some of her history next to her. I think relationship and survival are going to be big themes, as they always are in this universe. It's really exciting, it ramps up. It really ramps up and it pays off. I had lots of fun doing this work.

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Walking Dead: World Beyond
The Walking Dead: World Beyond

This Walking Dead spin-off focuses on the first generation to come of age in the apocalypse.

 

 

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