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The Walking Dead showrunner on finally introducing Rick's comic killer, teases 'high point' of midseason finale
Depending on who you ask, the right to carry the title of Most-Hated Character on The Walking Dead is an epic battle that stretches all the way back to The Governor and features a lot of really nasty names along the way. Though he may be coming into the action rather late, this week's episode of the AMC series introduced another major contender for that title, one that fans of the comic immediately recognized as a nasty piece of work.
Sunday's episode of the series, "Promises Broken," introduced a key player in the world of The Commonwealth, Sebastian Milton (Teo Rapp-Olsson), son of the yet-to-be-introduced leader of the community, Pamela Milton. In the comics, as in the show, Sebastian's position as the child of arguably the most powerful person in the show's known world at that point has spoiled him, and it puts him on a collision course with Rick Grimes. Sebastian is the character (spoilers for a two-year-old comic incoming) who ends up killing Rick in the comics series, and while it doesn't appear he'll get the chance to do that in live-action, it puts a bad taste in a lot of fans' mouths right away.
The Walking Dead showrunner Angela Kang is, of course, well aware of Sebastian's reputation, and the show's writing staff is already laying things on pretty thick. In "Promises Broken," one of the first things Sebastian does is berate some of our survivor characters for essentially saving him and his girlfriend from walkers, claiming that what they actually did was ruin his date. It's a very deliberate tone-setter for the character right from the start.
"This character, in the comic book, he's a little s‑‑‑. And so we just thought that's kind of a fun element to have, the spoiled rich son of the leader of this place. Clearly [Walking Dead comic book creator Robert Kirkman] has a problem with the children of people in power, as we found out with Deanna's son too," Kang told Entertainment Weekly. "But this actor, Teo Rapp-Olsson, again, think he's great. And again, such a sweet guy, really, really fun having him. But he's just good at putting on this thing of like, 'I think I'm better than all of you.' But there's moments where, honestly, I even feel a little sorry for him because he can never measure up in some ways. So it's just this weird thing, there's kind of the patheticness, but he's also quite dangerous in the way that he's just willing to use his position to do whatever he wants to do."
Of course, at the moment, Sebastian is a relatively small problem on the Walking Dead stage, as our characters are dealing with everything from tensions in Alexandria to the still-tense new relationship with the Commonwealth to the ever-present threat of the Reapers. As the show heads into its midseason finale this coming Sunday, Kang gave fans a taste of what to expect.
"What I can tease is this conflict between the Reapers and our team on the outside, which includes Maggie, Negan, Gabriel, and Elijah at this point, and then our person on the inside, Daryl — all those things are starting to converge on each other," Kang said. "Also, we're going to see that things in Alexandria are being pushed even more to the brink.
"So the way we approached it actually was kind of like a normal midseason finale, because we had worked on the general shape of episodes 1 through 9 before we knew that this was the last season. And then there [were] some things that had to change along the way once we went and did the season 10 extension episodes. And then there are a lot of things that changed along the way because we're trying to hide our pandemic limitations, but there's pandemic limitations in every single episode that we've produced and are producing. So there are certain things that we had planned to do in episode 8 that we just simply could not. But other than that, we're trying to deliver on a big fun story line there. It's not going to totally close out all the stories because we've got a lot of threads going, but it we'll [sic] see things starting to crash together and get to a really a high point in the drama."
The Walking Dead returns Sunday on AMC.