Fans of “The Walking Dead” have known for some time that Seth Gilliam had been cast as new character Father Gabriel Stokes. Even when it was reported that he would be playing someone named Michael Todd, viewers speculated that it was really a cover for his true role. Now that the truth is out, the actor finally spoke about the show with Entertainment Weekly. Published on Wednesday, Gilliam discussed his audition, the comic books and how he learned that “The Walking Dead” isn’t just a zombie show.
The interview started out with Seth talking about his audition. It turns out that fans were not the only ones who were told that Gilliam would be playing Michael on “The Walking Dead” season 5. When the actor auditioned for the role, the reading involved a school guidance counselor named Michael, who had issues with some of his students. Because he had not seen the show or read “The Walking Dead” comics, he only had his assumptions based on the part he was reading. After he was made an offer, Gale Anne Hurd called him to reveal who he would really be playing, which was about a week after his audition.
After being cast, some actors would read every issue of “The Walking Dead” comics to get a feeling for the the story and their character while others would choose not to. Gilliam did a mixture of the two. He chose to only read the part when Father Gabriel Stokes was introduced. He did not read anything before that point and nothing after. The actor explained that he knew from reading about “The Walking Dead” that sometimes the names of the characters and storylines were “kind of crisscrossed and mismatched.” He thought that if he read too much that he might get too much useless or incorrect information. So he decided to just take the script and play the character the best that he could.
However, Seth did watch the first three seasons of “The Walking Dead” on Netflix in just one week. Because the fourth season was not available on Netflix at that time, he ended up watching it on a weekend when he arrived in Atlanta. He actually began working before he was able to view the fourth season. As for what he thought of the show, Gilliam said that the binge watch was intense. Like many people who have not watched the show, he assumed it was just about zombies. He said,
“And then I watched and I was like, this show is not about zombies at all, really. The show’s about a whole lot more than just zombies, which I was really excited by.”
Fans of “The Walking Dead” have been telling critics for ages the very same thing. Although it is a zombie show, it is about so much more. It is about relationships, survival, teamwork, trying to raise children in a fallen world and adjusting to the “new rules” of society. It is about what happens to people when the world is destroyed. How good, moral people can turn into vicious, unstable villains while others who were considered “weak” can step up to become leaders and heroes. It’s about making tough decisions, things that most people would never have considered before the zombie apocalypse.
What do you think about Seth Gilliam as Father Gabriel Stokes on “The Walking Dead” season 5? Do you think the television storyline will mirror the comics or will it be different? Fans will find out for certain when AMC premieres the upcoming season on Oct. 12.