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Carol has left the cabin. And that is good news for the unified forces taking on Negan, as well as viewers ready to watch the fan favorite kick ass and take names when The Walking Dead returns on Oct. 22. It was a season of solitude for Melissa McBride last year as she was separated from her fellow actors while Carol quarantined herself to deal with her Morgan-influenced aversion to killing. But McBride is back in the fight in season 8, and the actress couldn’t be happier about it.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Why don’t we just start by talking about where Carol’s head is as we move into season 8. Obviously, she was trying to distance herself from everybody so she wouldn’t have to keep killing, but now she’s been pressed back into duty. How is she handling that?
MELISSA McBRIDE: I think given the rise of Negan and all the horrible things that she survived since she left, she’s, she does feel a call to duty, and that’s the idea that her family never left. She just went off to save herself, but she knows she’s got to fight and she knows what that means to her. She laid it out for Daryl when he came to her cottage that she’s running a risk of losing herself in the fight, but it’s worth it to her. And I think we’ll see she’s going to fight the conflict in her mind, it’s going to be alive there too. There’s just no way getting around that — if she comes to terms with it. We’ll see.
Does she at this point consider herself an Alexandrian still? Does she now consider herself a member of the Kingdom? Or is it neither or both?
Oh, I think it’s both. They’re coming together to fight this one horrible enemy. She’s still got her family that she started out with. They’re all very special to her and now these new factions are moving in and she’s developing relationships with the Kingdom and they’re good people. Good versus bad, that’s what’s so compelling about this is because everybody’s just trying to survive. And where do you make that distinction that we’re all doing nasty, ugly things in an effort to survive, but everybody thinks they’re right? Even Negan. He’s like. “I’m doing it for these people and they can’t do it. They’d be lost without me.” It’s very compelling on that level and I am enjoying season 8, I’ve got to say.
I remember talking to Lennie James and Norman Reedus, who were very open in their complaining about being separated from other folks last season. Is it nice to be back working with the group and with people you didn’t get to see a lot of last year?
Oh, yeah. This is like back in the old days, you know? This is what I was yearning for last year. I mean, I totally understood — we’ve got stories to develop and we’ve got an arc to get over, and we’ve got to prepare and set up a stage for this war to come. But boy, it was nerve-racking. I guess it kind of helped a little bit too, in Carol’s need for solitude, just to get away, but also the conflict of getting away from the people that you really are concerned about even though you’re being eaten alive by the circumstances. I mean, I enjoy the conflict of the show, but being separated was just nerve-racking. I couldn’t wait to see where this was going and when we’re all going to get together again.
So how would you say season 8 is different from 7 in terms of what we’re going to see on screen?
There is a lot of action. There is so much action. Carol’s armed. She’s blowing things up, so cover your ears!
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