With Only 24 Episodes Left In The Series, We Catch Up With Josh McDermitt (Eugene!), Who Gives Us A Glimpse Of What’s Ahead For THE WALKING DEAD And How He’s Prepping For The End.
If you’re not a threat, you have nothing to worry about.
Yah, right. After 10 seasons, fans of The Walking Dead know better.
But as we start the final season of the postapocalyptic megahit, that’s what’s facing Eugene, Ezekiel, Yumiko and Princess as the Commonwealth continues to process (or more like interrogate) the group.
Meanwhile, back at Alexandria, Maggie, Carol, Daryl and the rest of the survivors are barely surviving and go on a food hunt that drastically goes wrong (note to self: It’s a bad idea to seek safety in an underground subway tunnel).
We tracked down the series’ master thinker, Eugene himself — well, actually, Josh McDermitt — to reflect on The Walking Dead’s final season and walk us through these remaining episodes. (The final season consists of 24 episodes, divided into three parts, which will most likely play out as eight this summer/fall, eight in early 2022 and the final eight next fall.)
Where do we pick up with Eugene and the Commonwealth?
Josh McDermitt: They’ve been surrounded by these white-armored soldiers, and Eugene is kind of thinking, “OK, we’re here for the Commonwealth, and I expected a checkpoint, and I expected there to be some vetting. This is not what I expected. You guys look organized, you guys look like you are mean and intimidating.”
But the fact is he’s on this mission to not just save his town, his community of Alexandria and Hilltop and everybody who was back home fighting and are literally hanging by a thread, but he’s trying to reach out to this person [Stephanie] that he’s made a connection with on the radio, just trying to build this bigger world.
How long do we have to wait until we actually get to meet the mysterious Stephanie?
I want to say we’ll probably see her sooner than later. I don’t know if I can give specifics of when, but it seems like it’s been forever. It’s coming up a lot sooner than we realize.
Do you miss being with the rest of the group — as the group is so divided now?
It’s hard, especially coming into our final episodes. It’s not just the cast, it’s the crew, too. We truly are a family. And it is a physically, mentally and emotionally taxing show to shoot. And we’re now doing that without the help of our friends and family nearby. Lauren [Cohan, who plays Maggie] and I chat on the phone or text all the time, but I don’t know the last time I saw her. I saw her when I went to set to get a COVID test, and she was being whisked away to go shoot some scene. And we just waved from about 100 yards apart, and that was the last time I saw Lauren. … It does make it harder when there’s this whole other group of people that are having their own experiences. And I know that they feel the same way, because we do talk about it on text and the phone and stuff like that. But it’s hard.
Now, if you could write the ending for Eugene, not paying attention to any of the comics or anything, do you have an idea how you would love to see his story conclude?
I mean, I think I have to go with what we saw in the comics. I’ve always wanted Eugene to die of old age, because he’s a guy who’s figured out a way to live. He’s a bit of a cockroach. He doesn’t go away. You just step on him, and he just keeps moving. When you first see him, you’re like, “How have you made it this far?” But he’s resilient, and he’s found a way. In my mind, I’ve always thought this is a guy who needs to be standing at the end, because he deserves it. He’s worked his butt off.
What character’s death impacted you the most — as a friend and as a character?
Michael Cudlitz [Abraham] and Steven Yeun [Glenn]. I mean, definitely. I think that shook everybody. It’s never easy saying goodbye to someone on set. I mean, we’ve lost a lot of people that we’re very close with, and some people we’re genuinely excited for what’s next in their lives. And so, it’s sad that we’re not going to be able to work with them anymore, but we’re super pumped for the next chapter in their lives and careers. …
We were super bummed that Cudlitz, who’s a big papa bear to us, and Steven, who is one of the greatest human beings and greatest friends you could ask for, weren’t going to be with us anymore. They weren’t going to be with us playing games and going to dinner and goofing off and just hanging out and having barbecues and that sort of thing. That’s tough. I mean, those moments are what made the show for us, and those were two huge pillars that we’re going to be missing holding the roof up.