Season five of AMC’s hit zombie drama The Walking Dead has bumped a bunch of actors up to series regulars, but, at the current time, they’ve only added one entirely new person to the roster. Seth Gilliam joins Lawrence Gilliard Jr., his fellow alumnus of HBO’s The Wire. There has been a lot of speculation, but no confirmation, about his character, though a new photo that has leaked out could very well shed some light on that.
We aren’t going to publish the picture, but you can check it out here from Spoiling Dead. It’s a candid behind the scenes snapshot, and since we’re not in the mood to deal with a cease and desist order or threats of lawsuits, so it’s easier just to talk about it. The content of the photo is also pretty simple, it shows Gilliam dressed like a priest. Fans of the Robert Kirkman’s comics will no doubt be reminded that at roughly this stage in the game, this is where the group of survivors encounter Father Gabriel Stokes, a priest with two distinct sides to his personality.
While it seems obvious that this is the case, there is more to the story. Initial reports identified Gilliam’s character as someone named Michael Todd, who has a puckish sense of humor, whatever that means, and has a friendly disposition that hides a haunted darkness. It wouldn’t be the first time The Walking Dead took an existing character and tweaked them somewhat, or combined personality traits from multiple sources.
The character description is vague, it could very well be Father Gabriel. He’s not exactly a barrel full of laughs, but he definitely has hidden secrets and a dark side that doesn’t come out right away. Given his religious background, you also have to wonder if he could have had something to do with what we all suspected was Beth’s (Emily Kinney) abduction in “Alone.” All we, and Daryl (Norman Reedus), see of the car that takes her is that there is a big ass cross in the back window. Perhaps Gabriel/Michael has something to do with this.
Then again, this could all be misdirection. It’s entirely possible that, after society collapses and the world goes completely to hell, Michael Todd, whoever he is, could use the guise of a priest to put people at ease and get the drop on them. If he did in fact take Beth, it could explain how he was able to take advantage of her naiveté and get close enough to grab her.
Regardless of how Gilliam’s role turns out, Kirkman promised that when season five of The Walking Dead premieres this fall that it will hit the ground running. Given the cliffhanger season four ended on, with the bulk of the cast trapped in a train car in Terminus, it would be incredibly difficult not to start off fast right out of the gate. Something has to happen quickly.