Cudlitz played Abraham Ford on the zombie show for nearly four seasons. After being introduced in Season Four, Abraham was infamously killed in the Season Seven premiere upon Negan's introduction. Cudlitz is the first actor from The Walking Dead to direct an episode, as ComicBook.com first reported over the summer. Such a move, seeing actors shift into directorial roles within the Dead universe, may become common in the future.
"I let them know pretty early on that I wanted to direct, but I also let them know that I didn't expect it," Cudlitz told THR. "I was going to shadow [Walking Dead director and exec producer] Greg Nicotero and it was a way to keep me in Atlanta so people wouldn't know Abraham was actually dead [which was a secret for more than a year]. I kept in contact with [former showrunner] Scott Gimple…then I got a call in December or January. I was in New York, and I got a call from [season nine showrunner] Angela Kang and Scott who asked if I'd be interested in directing. I immediately said yes."
Though fans have mixed feelings about losing Abraham Ford on The Walking Dead, Cudlitz has no regrets about his exit. "I had a great run on the show," the actor said. "That character had his journey. I was not sad to leave the show. I say that with respect to the fans, with respect to the show. I did my time there, and had a great time, met some amazing people, had a tremendous amount of fun, but it was time to go. I was cool with all that. No regrets, wouldn't have done anything differently. Maybe would've kept him around for a couple more episodes with Sonequa Martin-Green [who played love interest Sasha and exited for Star Trek: Discovery], so we could see the two of them as soldiers. But other than that, I prefer the way he went out in the show, as opposed to how he went out in the graphic novel. I'm indebted to that show for so many reasons, and very grateful and respectful of the fans. They're amazing, and I will never, ever forget my experience with them, or with The Walking Dead."
Though Cudlitz is the first from The Walking Dead to direct an episode, Fear the Walking Dead star Colman Domingo beat him to the punch within the universe. Domingo directed Fear the Walking Dead Episode 4x12 earlier this year and is gearing up to get behind the camera again with an early episode from Season Five.
The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9 pm ET. Fear the Walking Dead will return for its fifth season in 2019. For complete coverage and insider info all year long, follow @BrandonDavisBD on Twitter and watch ComicBook.com's After The Dead each Sunday night following new episodes.