Without going into spoilers, the third-season finale of AMC’s The Walking Dead left things in such a way that there could be plenty of new characters next season. So far, the upcoming fourth season has bumped Tyreese (Chad L. Coleman), Sasha (Sonnequa Martin-Green), and Beth (Emily Kinney) up to series regulars, and word on the street was that they were casting a character named Roy Stark.
iDigitalTimes now reports that Lawrence Gilliard Jr., a veteran of HBO’s The Wire, is in final negotiations to take the part. Though the show is based on the comic books by Robert Kirkman, Roy Stark appears to be a wholly original character. He joins the likes of Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus), Merle Dixon (Michael Rooker), Milton (Dallas Roberts), and T-Dog (Irone Singleton) as characters created specifically for the show. If Gilliard does indeed wind up on The Walking Dead, he’ll be the second veteran of The Wire. Coleman played ex-con and boxing enthusiast Cutty.
There isn’t much known about Roy Stark except that he’s a “former army medic who is deeply haunted by his past.” Really, that’s the best you can come up with? That’s such a bland, generic description, and I really hope there’s more to him than that. But this is The Walking Dead we’re talking about here, so there might not be. I hope this isn’t another case of the show half-heartedly attempting to carve out a new character when there are perfectly serviceable, and more complete characters—like Abraham—that already exist in the comics.
Everyone in the world of The Walking Dead is scarred by the past, so we can assume that Stark will be dealing with issues left over from before the zombie apocalypse, probably stemming from his time in the military. Gilliard is a fine actor, and I don’t have any issue with him, but I’m curious how the whole thing will shake out. Maybe I’m just a pessimist, but I don’t have much faith in The Walking Dead. With the exception of Daryl, and Merle to some extent, the majority of the show’s original characters have been busts. Still, an ex-military medic could come in handy, especially with the Governor (David Morrissey) roaming around in the wilderness.
Season four of The Walking Dead begins filming in May, and returns to AMC this fall.