Sunday night's episode of The Walking Dead brought about an unlikely pairing as Father Gabriel played matchmaker for Aaron and Negan. Aaron, one of the few remaining characters from the infamous "line up" sequence from the Season 6 finale and Season 7 premiere episodes has lost a lot due to the war with Negan. Not only did he watch Glenn and Abraham get slaughtered brutally, he also lost "the love of [his] life" in Eric. Still, the Whisperer conflict called for the differences to be set aside in an episode which brought about a good bit of conflict for Aaron -- all of which Aaron actor Ross Marquand has now broken down in an exclusive interview with Comicbook.com.
While the episode offered up a variation of a key comic book scene between Rick and Negan in which Negan saves Rick's life and vice versa, Marquand insists any physical resemblance of Rick Grimes from his character is a coincidence. At the same time, he was unaware of those moments from the comics and thinks we shouldn't be so quick to give the former villain credit. "I think while Aaron certainly is appreciative that Negan saved him, I think he's very aware that Negan is an opportunist and he will do and say whatever he needs to to preserve his own life," Marquand says. "And I think that if he hadn't saved him, there would've been some pretty stiff consequences for him moving forward."
Spoilers follow -- as the uncut interview recapping The Walking Dead Episode 10x03 with Ross Marquand is below!
ComicBook.com: I thought you were really fantastic in this episode. Both you and Jeffrey Dean Morgan did a great job and you guys haven't really worked too much together since the season six finale, season seven premiere, which were very intense. What's it like to kind of get emotional scenes with him after that was kind of your introduction to each other on set?
Ross Marquand: I loved it because I think it was not only a chance for Aaron, the character, to really voice his frustrations and his resentment towards Negan. But it was a chance for the audience to kind of get a voice in all that too because aside from threats coming from Rick or Maggie certainly being very upset about everything, we haven't really seen many characters just get a chance to really unleash their full emotional weight of what happened... And everything that Negan did, all the vast effects of everything that he enacted, you know, kind of unfurl in this very emotional tirade. And I thought it was a wonderful opportunity for the audience to really get into the psyche of all of the frustration and the anger and the resentment that these characters have had for Negan for all these years and have been bottled up, finally been released, you know?
CB: Do you think it's possible for Aaron to ever forgive Negan even after everything that happened in this episode?
RM: I don't know. I think while Aaron certainly is appreciative that Negan saved him, I think he's very aware that Negan is an opportunist and he will do and say whatever he needs to to preserve his own life. And I think that if he hadn't saved him, there would've been some pretty stiff consequences for him moving forward. So I don't know if it was so much that Negan decided he has to save Aaron versus not saving Aaron would mean that Aaron would likely, may likely die. He might get eaten alive and then he'd have to answer for a lot of questions if he ever got found. And a search party might be put into a place to go and kill Negan.
I think [Negan] just weighed his options in that moment and he realized this is probably not the time to end this man's life. Because he could've let his presence be known way earlier in this scene, obviously, when Aaron was stumbling around the room. He made no effort to let him know that he was in there and he was okay.
So, I don't really think he's changed all that much.
CB: Is there more of this relationship with Negan, Aaron relationship coming in throughout season 10?
RM: Yes. You will definitely see a lot more. I can't tease too much of it. But you're going to be seeing a lot more of that as the season rolls.
CB: Do you think if the roles were reversed, Aaron would've let Negan die?
RM: I think if they had just had the exchange they had, there's a very real possibility of it because he's just been living through his bulls--- lies for so long and his, I think, very weak reasoning or rationale behind why he did what he did... And I think after telling him that Eric was essentially his fault, I think there would be a part of Aaron that would just say, "You know what? I'm done with you. I don't need to listen to this anymore."
CB: Right. In this episode you also, Aaron went temporarily blind. So talk to me about acting through that and did you get any tips on that from Father Gabriel actor Seth Gilliam who had to perform something similar a couple of years ago?
RM: No. I probably should've! I did not. But it was a great process. Our lens tech fitted me with all different options at first and she and I worked through the different fields and opacity and irritation levels. And I really loved the most intense one but they found that it was too zombie-esque. And they wanted to scale it back and make it more pleasing, I suppose, to the eye for our audience. So they went with a less irritated version. But then they added this incredible makeup on top of the eyelids to make it look really puffy and swollen. And I thought the overall effect was fantastic and they did a great job.
CB: Meanwhile, as you Aaron and Negan were having this exchange out in an isolated part of the episode the rest of the group were having tensions rise with Alpha and the Whisperers. What can you say about the Whisperer War aspect of season 10 which is going to be coming up?
RM: Well, I think the biggest thing that we're going to be finding is that Alpha and Beta are really playing psychological warfare both within their group and outside of the group obviously on the communities of Alexandria and Hilltop, and Oceanside of course. So I think we're going to really see them playing some very, very gnarly games with our heroes. I'm very excited for the fans to see it because I think it's going to be one of the best seasons we've ever done, honestly.
CB: Of course, the obligatory question here. With the movies that are constantly taking different shapes behind the scenes, have you had any part of that, any conversations? Do you know if you'll be a part of any of the Walking Dead movies?
RM: Oh. I have absolutely zero idea. Your guess is literally as good as mine. And that's no joke. I really don't.
The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9pm ET on AMC.