“[Director-producer] Greg Nicotero actually said something — Christian and I were doing an event in Europe, and he said, ‘You two should get to know each other,’” Gilliam said.
“I was like, ‘What? What does that mean? That’s kind of cryptic.’ And then when I spoke to [showrunner] Angela Kang about what was gonna happen for Gabriel during the season, she mentioned there was going to be a love interest, and it turned out she talked about Jadis the whole time, Jadis-slash-Anne. And she never mentioned Rosita. So I didn’t really know that that was happening until I got the script.”
Gabriel’s surprise romance with Anne (Pollyanna McIntosh) ended just as abruptly when the former Scavenger leader vanished without a trace, secretly absconding with a wounded Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) ahead of a six-year time jump.
“I had a conversation with Angela and she was really forthcoming about what was going to happen during the entire season, I got a lot of cool information,” Serratos explained of the Gabriel-Rosita coupling.
“And then she asked me, she goes, ‘We’re considering touching on that storyline from the comic book, we’re talking about a few people, who do you think it could be? What do you think?’ And I was really excited to get to kind of contribute, and [Seth’s] name was brought up, and I go, ‘That’s really interesting.’”
When Kang inquired why Rosita falls in love with people, Serratos answered, “She has a lot of respect for herself. She’s a very strong individual. And I think the thing she falls in love with in others is their strength — she has to really respect the other person. And she really respects Gabriel.”
Serratos suspects the relationship emerged out of scenes shared between Rosita and Gabriel in Season Seven, which saw Gabriel advise Rosita against making a lone assassination attempt on Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) in revenge for the murder of former lover Abraham (Michael Cudlitz).
“I think [Kang] really liked a lot of our work from Season Seven, which was some of my favorite work,” Serratos added.
“And this is one of my favorite things as an actor, is working with people that I consider better than me in a lot of ways, and how can I learn, and will they elevate me? And in our show, we do, we all push each other, and we all want to be the best that we can be, and working with you,” Serratos said to Gilliam, “somebody I think is a really incredible actor — pushed me to be a better actor, so thank you.”
Asked which Walking Dead parents Gabriel and Rosita will prove to be now that Gabriel has agreed to be in the child’s life alongside its father, Siddiq (Avi Nash), Gilliam pointed to Hershel (Scott Wilson), who was “kind of wise and patient and loving, and close to God.”
“I think she would be most like Carol. Carol kind of supports children as they go out into the world, and hope that they’re well-equipped, and teach them what they need to do,” added Serratos.
Quipped Gilliam, “Carol did have that thing with losing her own child.”
The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9/8c on AMC.
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