The sixth season ended in mystery and seventh started brutally…
I mean, it's – that episode, a lot of us hadn't seen that, including myself, until the night of, and that was just – that was more brutal onscreen, ironically, than it was to film, surprisingly so.
So, people who got killed off, they were told already in November, but the rest of you didn't know until May?
No, it wasn't that long of a lapse. I mean, I think some of us knew well in advance, but some of us – a lot of the crew – didn't know and everything, so it was kind of a shock to a lot of people.
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Can you just walk us through season seven? Where do you see your character?
Yeah. Where we leave at the end of 701 is a feeling of absolute. I mean, I talked to my parents about this yesterday, and they were saying, "We just feel like there's no hope right now.”
Were they horrified?
They were devastated and horrified, I mean, 'cause they've met Michael and Steven, and they love them, and they know that they're very good friends of mine, so it was kind of a bizarre thing for them, to see someone they knew offed in such a brutal fashion. But I think the very hopelessness that we're left with is a good thing in some respects, because it'll be the catalyst that takes us to where the group has to go next. I don't think we've ever seen Rick and his group so devastated before. They've never been at a place where they've so thoroughly been just trounced upon physically, emotionally, mentally. It looks like there's just no good ending for them at this point, which I think will ultimately – through different motivations and through different moments in time throughout the season, we're gonna see a lot of people who maybe haven't been at the forefront of the fight before really kind of rise to the occasion, including Aaron.
And I think they're all gonna have to decide, "Are we okay with this new situation? Are we okay with this new deal, essentially? Can we assimilate into Negan's world, or are we gonna try to fight back against it in a very real way?"
I actually thought that the breaking of Rick was harder to watch than the actual graphic violence.
Yeah, a lot of people said that.
Some fans called this episode a misery porn. Do you get where they're coming from?
I do. At the same time, going back to my previous point, I think that you need to feel that hopelessness, and you need to feel the weight of just how dark Negan's world is for you to care about what's coming next.
I don't know if you can talk too much about the arc of Aaron this season…
We can't talk too much about this, but I will speak in broad terms, that Aaron has always been the consummate diplomat of the group. I mean, from the moment he meets with them, he's trying very much to help the group to assimilate into Alexandria. He's trying to prove that he's a good guy and that people can be trusted, even after all this horrific activity.
But I think even he has a hard time stomaching what he's seeing, and it's gonna be a moment for him where he has to decide if he's going to really keep that diplomacy up or if he's going to kind of put out that facade outwardly, but inwardly be very much conscious of what needs to be done and how he needs to help make that a possibility.
Do you think that you could actually take it too far on TV at some point?
Yes and no.I think it sets up what's coming, and you have to go through these massive dips, and we try to emulate real life as much as possible, both through the set decoration, the forest and creating sets within real places or pre-existing locations, like obviously in the woods, so we are trying to aim for as much realism as possible within a very fictitious world, right?
Will ‘The Walking Dead’ end one day?
In every show, there's a ticking clock. I mean, at some point, no matter how successful a show is, it's going to end. I know you've been renewed for at least one more season. Obviously, we deviate from the comics in certain respects, so I really think that's up to the showrunners and how they decide. I mean, obviously, there's plenty of story to tell, so I'm excited to keep going for as long as they wanna keep going.
Catch the return of Season 7 Sunday at 9 p.m. EST on AMC.