So far in the third season of AMC's The Walking Dead, we've met a couple major characters from the comic books, including the Governor and Michonne. And finally, in the midseason finale, we were introduced to Tyreese, one of the long-awaited comic fan favorites. Well, get ready for more Tyreese. According to the actor who plays him, Chad L. Coleman, we'll see Tyreese in five of the final eight episodes of season three.
"No doubt about it, no doubt about it. The man has a hammer and he knows how to use it," said Coleman, about Tyreese's zombie-killing weapon of choice.
"I would say the humanity of the man is very much akin to what was done in the graphic novels," he said during a conference call with journalists. "His desire to protect and his desire to abstain from egregious violence, like I said, his humanity, his strong sense of family, those are things that are resonating for me in playing this role."
However, as with many of the characters from the comic books, don't expect the comic-book Tyreese to be the same as TV show Tyreese. This Tyreese has a sister named Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green), who is an original character. They are traveling with another group (Allen, Ben and Donna), also inspired by the comics, who find a way into the prison where Rick's group has taken up residence.
"I don't want to be presumptuous, but I think there may be a different moral compass," said Coleman about the differences between his Tyreese and the comic's Tyreese. "When you really have to extend yourself to protect and take care and think about others, it's a different energy, different experience. In my own life, as I began to have to become a caretaker to some members of my family, and my role is changing. I see the difference. I see the weight of it. For me personally, it's much more of a weight to it than being that kind of lone rider, if you will."
While we don't know much about this Tyreese yet, that Tyreese was an ex-football player who met up with Rick early in the story. Rick came to trust him, and he ended up in romantic entanglements with both Carol and Michonne.
According to Coleman, his Tyreese is also an ex-football player. For the rest we'll have to wait and see. As the gang over at The Walking Dead have proven, not everything from the comic books is sacred.
Tyreese's story arc "will surprise you, but you guys know the pedigree of the show by this time. So it's going to be awesome for all parties involved," he said.
As to whether his character will find himself in the arms of Carol, Michonne or anyone else, all Coleman will say is "To be continued. Cliffhanger, cliffhanger, cliffhanger. Chad Coleman, the actor, would love that."
And whether Tyreese will end up having Rick's back, "Well, that's a dangerous question ... but forces collide on some level, is what I would say."
Coleman caught the eye of Robert Kirkman, the creator of the comic and an executive producer on the show. "Robert Kirkman was a huge fan of The Wire, and the character I played on The Wire, Dennis 'Cutty' Wise. I think that's kind of the origin of their interest in me," said Coleman.
When it comes to playing a comic-book fan favorite, Coleman said, "I've created an original role before, but to have something that was already present in another form and to be able to honor it in a way that people have an attachment and to be able to live up to that, that's huge for me. So that's my desire, to continue to make the audience proud of what's happening in the television world of The Walking Dead."
So far he admits he's thrilled with the series, including getting tossed into the thick of it when it came to killing Walkers. It's "a complete and absolute adrenaline rush, that's what it is. It's like electricity running through my body like crazy. And also the technical aspect of it I won't give away, but was equally as compelling for me," he said.
"Because the zombies are so real, it's really no acting required. You just see the amazing work that's being done. It's just so real, it's just eerie. But the most eerie part of it is to see them just doing regular things, like in between takes or going to lunch break. Just to watch a guy getting the salad dressing, putting it on, and he's all made up, all zombied out. It's pretty hilarious," he said. "It's real trippy, it's real trippy."
Trippy indeed. Whether or not Coleman's Tyreese will end up being the fan favorite and have the type of run his comic-book incarnation remains to be seen. However, showrunner Glen Mazzara has stated that Tyreese and Sasha will be "major players" in the second half of the season.
"I'd say no worries. Strap on your seat belt. Enjoy the ride," said Coleman.
Do you think Coleman makes a good Tyreese?