The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live interview — Cast preview Richonne limited series

Lesley-Ann Brandt on The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live.
Lesley-Ann Brandt is moving on from Lucifer. Pic credit: AMC/Gene Page

The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live is poised to bring the epic love story of Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and Michonne (Danai Gurira) to a head. 

The six-episode limited series, premiering Sunday, February 25 at 9/8c on AMC and AMC+, features several new cast members as we delve into what happened to our beloved characters after their runs on the main series ended. 

Monsters and Critics was fortunate enough to chat with Lesley-Ann Brandt (Pearl Thorne), Terry O’Quinn (General Beale), and Craig Tate (Donald Okafor) about joining the latest entry in the sprawling universe.

Check out what they had to say about the series below.

Monsters and Critics: If we start with Lesley-Ann, could you all talk about how daunting it was to enter this well-established universe with such a rich history?

Lesley-Ann Brandt: I don’t know that it was daunting in, you know, I was very aware of how big the world was, and I think part of that was that I did binge the show from the pilot to the end just for me to get an idea of the tone and also the relationship.

But after Lucifer, I was so excited to sink my teeth into something otherworldly, I suppose or not, depending on whether we believe that zombies will one day take over.

But I was excited to get into a character that was more dressed down and raw as opposed to how Maze presented herself.

Then, getting to work with Andy and Danai was at the top of the list.

Terry: O’Quinn: I was unfamiliar with The Walking Dead universe, so I came in with no expectations until I talked to Scott Gimple. I came in blind. I knew it was a very big deal. And I was prepared for that and not unfamiliar with that phenomenon.

So I was happy to keep my eyes open, but I guess if you do it long enough, you know how to prepare. As I was saying earlier to someone, a set is such familiar territory, and as soon as you walk on the set, you get a sense of the comfort level or the lack thereof. And this was very comfortable and very well run, very professionally done.

So I was quite happy and quite comfortable.

Craig Tate: I was 21 when The Walking Dead premiered in 2010. And I was always a huge zombie universe fan, whether it be Dawn of the Dead or 28 Weeks Later.

When we finally got the first TV show, The Walking Dead, I was over the moon about it.

Walking into this, sometimes it can get missed on you how big the following of a show is because we tend to inhabit our own spaces. Thus far, the outreach on social media has been pretty notable. The experience in itself has been quite something.

I would love to say a 21-year-old me in an alternate universe is probably quite proud of Craig right now.

Monsters and Critics: The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live presents a story that’s been years in the making. Almost six years ago, it was announced that we were getting the movies at first, but then it became a series.

Expectations are very high. If we start with Craig, could you all talk about how you think the show will challenge viewers’ expectations?

Craig Tate: Well, I think the viewer will walk into this off the hills of Season 11, which takes quite a drastic turn and introduces you to different factions of this world.

One kind of expects this will be solely a love story. Then there will be those wondering if we’re getting a happy ending we all think it will have.

There are also expectations on the time between Rick and Michonne leaving.

We’re going to catch up with what has changed. I think the viewers will be in for many ups and downs.

Terry O’Quinn: I think we’ll challenge their expectations with surprise. Basically, they have expectations.

You can’t play right into them. Someone asked yesterday when we were talking with some people, “You get to love these characters, and you learn to love them, and then, you know, then they get killed or they, or they leave.”

I wanted to say to them, “That’s the cost of love.”

Love is loss. There are going to be some ups and downs, and hopefully, there will be surprises. People will be surprised. Their expectations should not always be satisfied.

Lesley-Ann Brandt: I think you are to expect the unexpected with this show. There is something really horrific that happens in the pilot that think sets the tone for the show.

I think what Danai said yesterday on the panel fits best here. “It’s a ride. It is a journey.”

Yeah, the fans should strap in and enjoy the ride.

Monsters and Critics: This next question is for Terry. We’ve heard much about General Beale thanks to The Walking Dead: World Beyond. How would you describe him?

Terry O’Quinn: He’s a soldier. He’s been at war all his life and is very focused on his tunnel vision, which is basically about protecting this city, the Civic Republic. He has a vision for the future of humankind, which he may or may not believe will survive.

And he’ll do everything he can to make it survive. He will work with or use anyone he comes across. In Rick Grimes, he sees someone who might be helpful and might be harmful. It’d be better if he was helpful, but he’ll do whatever he needs to do with any of these people to carry out his idea.

Monsters and Critics: I know you’ve played many villains in the past, Terry, but General Beale feels like such a departure. It must be so interesting for you to dig into this kind of role as an actor.

Terry O’Quinn: It is. As we’ve said, you have to find a reason. I don’t care if you’re playing Adolf Hitler or Abraham Lincoln. You have to find the reason that these men choose this person to do what he does.

Yeah, I think it’s interesting because it’s easy to say General Beale’s motives are pure and positive. Harsh times call for harsh measures. But not everyone will agree.

The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live premieres Sunday, February 25, at 9/8c on AMC and AMC+.

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