"It's been a real delight to be with a character this long and see her grow from being a high school student to becoming this fierce warrior, and although there's so much tragedy that's happened, I think it's given her all the tools to be such a capable young woman," Debnam-Carey said at WonderCon in Anaheim, California.
"But I think really what we'll see more going forward is her trying to reason with what to do next, and is there hope? And that's what really will make her a better person and leader throughout it all. Because if you can't connect to the humanity of it, then I don't think you've got anything left."
As the last-surviving member of the Clark clan following the devastating deaths of mother Madison (Kim Dickens) and brother Nick (Frank Dillane), Alicia grew significantly when she took on a big sister role with her brother's killer, Charlie (Alexa Nisenson).
Now Morgan leads the group as they embark on a fear-filled new mission to seek out and help other survivors, taking up those duties in the closing moments of Season Four after finding inspiration in the late Madison and kind-hearted trucker Polar Bear (Stephen Henderson).
"Morgan and Alicia's pairing is very interesting," Debnam-Carey said of the dynamic, launched when Morgan attempted to impart his peaceful ideology on a grieving and revenge-seeking Alicia in Season Four.
"I think they both are trying to wrestle with the same philosophical questions of, 'What is the reason to keep going? Why do we want to keep going, what's the point?' I think she does see him as a sort-of mentor, because he does take her under his wing, and try to convince her that there is more to this and that we have to do better things to make up for what we've done and that it can be a really positive thing to do, and it can give you hope, and give you a sense of reason and purpose."
That hope and purpose is something Alicia "needs."
"Everything she's been through, she's lost so many people, and she's become very much this guarded warrior," Debnam-Carey added. "And that's what she prides herself in, and that's what she thinks is the only thing she can do, which is just fight and kill. And I think he's one of the people that knows there's so much more [to her] than that and wants to get her to start trusting again."
Returning alongside Debnam-Carey and James are series regulars Danay García, Jenna Elfman, Garret Dillahunt, Maggie Grace, and Alexa Nisenson. Also on board this season are Mo Collins and Daryl Mitchell as grifter duo Sarah and Wendell, Rubén Blades, back as the long-missing Daniel Salazar, series newcomer and Walking Dead alum Austin Amelio as Dwight, and franchise newcomer Karen David as Grace.
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