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SYFY WIRE The Walking Dead

'The Walking Dead' goes Hawaiian? The cast pitch their spin-off ideas (assuming they survive)

Our heroes deserve the chance to kick back, relax, and sip piña coladas on a beach.

By Josh Weiss
A Walker from he Walking Dead Season 8 Episode 1 surfing

After 12 years on the air, AMC's The Walking Dead will officially come to an end next month. But, if the flesh-hungry horde of this long-running television program has taught us anything, it's that nothing ever stays dead for very long. The mothership title is concluding, yes, but a number of fan-favorite characters will be spared for their own spin-off projects.

So far, three new shows have already been confirmed: a currently-untitled European adventure for Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus); The Walking Dead: Dead City, a Manhattan-based team-up centered around a pair of unlikely allies, Maggie (Lauren Cohan) and Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan); and a miniseries conclusion to the love story of Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and Michonne (Danai Gurira). What about the rest of the cast, though? SYFY WIRE recently had a chance to speak with a chunk of the show's talented ensemble and asked them what they'd like to see out of potential spin-offs for their characters — assuming they're lucky enough to survive the zombie apocalypse, that is.

Josh Hamilton, who plays oily Commonwealth rep Lance Hornsby, didn't mince words, stating that he'll only come back on one major condition: "They pay me a lot of money." Ok, that was only a joke. "I'll come back, but I only if it's a three-camera sitcom," Hamilton added. "I want [it to be called] Lance! with an exclamation point."

Ross Marquand, on the other hand — or lack thereof — wants to see Aaron lose his other arm. "I would just want to be nothing but maces," he explained. "It'll be called The Two Maces."

Seth Gilliam (Father Gabriel) ribbed his fellow co-stars for their selfishness. "I love how you guys are coming back with your own show," he declared. "You're not including anybody else." Playing into the joke, Hamilton fired back with: "I'm sick of this ensemble stuff!" 

"I'd like to reprise the role of Father Gabriel at some point if I could do it with a French accent," Gilliam continued. "You know that disease where people wake up one day and they speak a different language? I'd like him to take like a blow to the head, come to, and have this deep French accent. That would be really fun to play."

When we suggest that this would fit perfectly into Daryl's spin-off, which is set to unfold against the backdrop of France, Gilliam wholeheartedly agrees. "There we are! You see how I did that there? You see me, AMC?"

Eleanor Matsuura (Yumiko) is currently holding out hope for a tropical change of pace. "If our characters should make it to the end, we’re all grouping off and starting our own Walking Dead Hawaii season," she said, drawing a laugh from Michael James Shaw (Mercer). "It's going to be new storylines. It's going to be just like us hanging out on the beach. Stay tuned."

In all seriousness, it truly is the end of an era. Along with Breaking Bad and Game of ThronesThe Walking Dead helped usher in a new age of prestige television, the magic of which networks and streamers have tried (and failed) to capture every since. "I'm happy to have gotten in at the tail end, just under the wire," Hamilton concluded. "I'm just grateful to have gotten to play a small part in this epic journey."

Gilliam admitted to feeling "a combination of sadness and excitement" now that production has wrapped. "I won't be able to see the people that I’ve come to know and love over these last seven years on a semi-daily basis. So that makes me sad," he revealed. "But then I am excited for where the show is going and how it wraps up. I'm excited to see on screen what I had the privilege and the opportunity to read before anybody decided, 'Let's put this on its feet.’ I'm really excited to see what it all shapes up and looks like and how it flows together and the rapid pace of the storytelling that we're at at this leg of the season and how that's all going to play out. So I'm excited about that, but I'm sad that I only get to see these guys on Zoom interviews."

"I think it's extremely bittersweet," echoed Marquand. "To Seth’s point, we’ve both been on the show [for a while]. He's been on it about eight-and-a-half years, I've been on eight years, and it's weird. It's weird to think that it's all over because it was certainly the show that saved my career and saved my life in many ways. I'm so grateful to have been a part of it. But I think we've told a lot of story and I feel like it's wrapping up at a good time. It’s wrapping up in a good place and I'm excited to see what people think of it. I'm also excited to see what comes next. I think as long as the writers and the producers are coming up with new life and new ideas for the show, then I think it could exist in many iterations for years to come."

New episodes of The Walking Dead premiere on AMC every Sunday at 9 p.m. Eastern. AMC+ subscribers can access them a week early.

If you're looking to satisfy your zombie craving immediately, head over to Peacock and check out the movie that kickstarted the entire genre: George A. Romero's Night of the Living Dead. Or check out the SYFY original series, Day of the Dead.