A while back, we heard reports out of The Walking Dead camp that the AMC production was casting for three new characters that would pop up in the middle of the upcoming fourth season. On the call sheet they were referred to by different names, but fans of Robert Kirkman’s comic books, which serve as the inspiration for the hit zombie drama, recognized the descriptions. Now the first one of these roles has been filled, and with it, we get confirmation of our suspicions.
Despite going by John Tyler, Wayne Kesey, and Jordana Barraza, these parts were clearly Abraham Ford, Eugene Porter, and Rosita Espinosa from the comics. Deadline reports that Christian Serratos, most known for her turn around the Twilight films, has been cast in one of these three roles, and wouldn’t you know, her character’s name is Rosita Espinosa. Rosita is set to be a recurring character in season four, beginning around the tenth episode, after the mid-season break. She’ll have an option to return as a regular cast member the following season.
Rosita is a tough, beautiful, twenty-something, and part of a crew that joins up with Rick and company in issue 53 of the comics. This group has been on the road for some time, fighting walkers and other survivors, trying to get to Washington DC. In short, they’re almost as battle-hardened as the core gang. Their ranks also include Abraham, a former Army sergeant who has been through some shit, before and after the zombie apocalypse; and Eugene, who may have a mullet, but who is also a doctor that just might hold the key to stopping all of this madness, if he can only get to the capital. Or maybe he’s completely full of it. That’s possible, too.
These characters join the survivors and become integral parts of the ongoing action. And if Rosita is cast, that probably means that Abraham and Eugene aren’t far behind. This development means a couple of significant things for the television version of The Walking Dead. First off, this indicates that we’re going to see some storylines from the comic, in at least a cursory sense. New showrunner Scott Gimple and others have already said as much, though they have also indicated that many of these arcs will have a different spin than in the panels of Kirkman’s pages.
This could be bad or good for the show. By doing this you capture and placate fans of the comics by giving them stories that they are already familiar with, that they already love. These plots have already proven successful, so you give yourself a solid platform to build on. The flip side of this coin is that it sets up the series as little more than a rehash of the comics. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge fan of the source material, I’ve been reading since the third or fourth issue. But one thing I’ve always wanted for the show is for it to blaze its own trail. When they killed off Andrea (Laurie Holde), a character still alive and well and kicking ass in the comics, it looked like they were going to move in that direction. They can pull off what they’re trying to do, but it will be a fine line between telling the exact same story, and alienating their built in audience by screwing up plots and characters they’re familiar with.
The other thing we can glean from this casting is one potential way that season four will play out. We know the season begins in the prison, and that the Governor (David Morrissey) is still out there, lurking, and that he’ll get a couple of his own standalone episodes. But when Rick and his band encounter Rosita and her people, it happens after the survivors are forced to abandon the prison stronghold. If the action follows this preexisting arc, even loosely, it means that Rick’s group is going be forced back onto the road once again before too long.
If I had to hazard a guess, I imagine the first part of the season will take place in the prison, with the group, new and old alike, dealing with the mysterious new threat that the producers keep talking about. The Walking Dead will take a break in the middle of the season, because every show does that now, and if I’m right, the last episode will end with them leaving home. That would be one hell of a cliffhanger, and when they return they could pick up on the road, where they encounter Rosita and her crew.
This is all just speculation, an educated guess at best. We’ll have to wait and see how things shake out, but not that much longer, because season four of The Walking Dead premieres on AMC on Sunday, October 13.