Avi Nash joined The Walking Dead in its eighth season when his Siddiq character appeared in the woods. Times were different back then. Siddiq's first encounter was with Chandler Riggs' Car Grimes, he would head back to Alexandria to meet Andrew Lincoln's Rick Grimes, and Jeffrey Dean Morgan's Negan was leading the show's power rankings as he was bombing Alexandria during the All Out War arc. These days, Negan has been spending his time in jail and Rick and Carl aren't a part of the show as the AMC series strays a bit away from its comic book source material. On Sunday night, Episode 10x07 took another step away from the source material with Siddiq, something Nash opened up about in an interview with ComicBook.com.
Warning! Spoilers for The Walking Dead Episode 10x07 follow!
In the final moments of Sunday night's Episode 10x07, Siddiq realized that his Season 10 pal Dante (Juan Javier Cardenas) was actually an undercover Whisperer infiltrating the Alexandria community. Back when Siddiq was forced to watch his friends be killed by the Whisperers, Dante was beside him forcing him to open his eyes (prompting the episode title: Open Your Eyes). "I think that 'tock tock' sound, it's a tick of his," Nash told ComicBook.com. "It actually occurs during the first, to my memory in this season, when they're performing surgery on Cheryl. It's a tick that Dante's character has that ultimately that tick thrusts Siddiq's memory of the mouth that he could see through the whisperer mask, plus where Dante is in physical space in that last scene to his back shoulder allows Siddiq to put all the pieces back together."
As it turns out, Nash knew Season 10 would be his final with The Walking Dead when production began. "Which episode it was going to be, was a little bit of a secret because I don't think they knew right from the beginning. [Showrunner] Angela [Kang] and [chief content officer] Scott [Gimple] and the team, they're super kind with me and they always have been. Angela actually called me before we started filming the season to give me a rundown of the season and then broke the news to me then. I knew going into season 10 that that was going to be my last season."
Continue reading below for Nash's full, uncut interview regarding his final episode of The Walking Dead as Siddiq.
ComicBook.com: When did you find out that The Walking Dead Episode 10x07 would be your final episode as Siddiq?
Avi Nash: Which episode it was going to be, was a little bit of a secret because I don't think they knew right from the beginning. Angela [Kang] and Scott [Gimple] and the team, they're super kind with me and they always have been. Angela actually called me before we started filming the season to give me a rundown of the season and then broke the news to me then. I knew going into season 10 that that was going to be my last season.
CB: When you first signed on, did you imagine a bit of a longer tenure? I don't know if you're familiar with the comic book, but Siddiq survives. He made it through this story.
AN: Yeah, look. It's called The Walking Dead. Nothing is guaranteed. I always try to remember as well, that the actor and the character should serve the story. In the case of Siddiq, he has always done that. When he came in season eight, he was able to bring a new perspective to a war that he wasn't familiar with. In season nine, he was able to continue that message of Rick and Carl Grimes and really play towards keeping the communities together, which ended unfortunately in a little bit of tragedy.
In season 10, his personal experience of that tragedy is driving the story forward. I think his death is going to have some real consequences for the other characters. I think that's what's most important. That we serve the story in the best way possible. Whether that means you're in the show for one season or 10 seasons, it doesn't really matter.
CB: That last scene between you and Juan Javier Cardenas who plays Dante was really intense. You guys did a really good job. What was it like to get in the ring and go to work with Juan and film a scene where your character is dying?
AN: I've done a little bit of [Brazilian jiu jistsu] and Juan has done a whole lot of BJJ, so that scene was really sore. The next day Juan calls me and he's like, "Oy, Flaquito, you're pretty strong, man. My arm is all bruised." I was like, "Your arm? Juan, I can't even close my jaw because you were choking me out for four hours last night, dude." It was a lot of fun, man. Actors love to play around.
Any time you get to be physical like that, it's a little bit dance, it's a little bit fight. It's very safe but it's a lot of fun. I think Juan has been an incredible person to play against for a lot of this season. He brings a lot of compassion and warmth and danger obviously, to this role. I hope that that final scene is really heartbreaking for a lot of people because they don't see it coming.
CB: Speaking of the twist, did you know all season long that this was the twist? Did they lay it out for you? Or were you filming all your scenes with Juan, thinking there was an actual friendship between the characters and then they were like, "Boom. Here's what's really going on"?
AN: I actually knew super early on. In Juan's first episode, Greg and I, we weren't sure when we should tell him. I think actually in his first episode he didn't know, but after that we let him know what was going on. We wanted to keep it a secret from some of the other cast members, because I think it was very personal to his story. The Walking Dead is always shrouded in a little bit of secrecy, even on set. Ironically the fact that we both knew he was going to be the end of me kind of bonded us together I think, in a really nice way because we were both in charge of his secret identity.
CB: Very Walking Dead of you two.
AN: It's ironic, but it's true. We were like, "All right." I was like, "We can't let anybody know that you're going to kill me. You're my best friend."
CB: There's the reveal of Dante being a Whisperer right before he kills Siddiq. He makes that Whisperer sound thing with his moiuth that he does. Why do you think he revealed himself to Siddiq? To me, it seemed like it was a choice.
AN: I'm not sure if it is a choice. I think that talk sound, it's a tick of his. It actually occurs during the first, to my memory in this season, when they're performing surgery on Cheryl. It's a tick that Dante's character has that ultimately that tick thrusts Siddiq's memory of the mouth that he could see through the whisperer mask, plus where Dante is in physical space in that last scene to his back shoulder allows Siddiq to put all the pieces back together.
Because the tragedy of this is not just that Siddiq forgot that Dante was the whisperer holding him down. Obviously, he didn't know. He had to put it together because they wear a mask, but I think the bigger tragedy is that Siddiq has been living with the shame that he wasn't able to do anything when the beheadings were going on, when in fact he was held down and forced to watch the beheadings. He was struggling and trying to get up and fight or scream, or do something to stop that from happening. It was actually Dante holding him and forcing him to watch that kept him rooted in place.
CB: I just realized when you were saying that, that first scene between you guys was the whole staring at the mouth thing and now it all makes a lot more sense.
AN: Yeah, no absolutely. It's something that's been percolating into the subconscious that he knows this guy from somewhere, but he can't quite put it together. You add to that the fact that actually, they have a really wonderful friendship and they have a lot of trust in each other as brothers in arms. Dante has been through PTSD himself. He's the first person to reach out to Siddiq and recognize what he's going through. All of that has only made the end more tragic and also made Siddiq's uncovering of the mystery that much more complicated.
CB: Now in your absence, Rosita is left behind with Coco. Do you have any vote on who should pair up with Rosita and help her raise the baby?
AN: Look, man. Coco is a child of the apocalypse. I think it takes a village, and hopefully in Siddiq's absence, it's not just Gabriel and Eugene. I can't do that for you, Brandon. That is not Siddiq's choice.
CB: When you first joined the show, I'm sure the reaction from fans was kind of mixed when you meet them out or at a convention or something, as some fans were a little frustrated over Siddiq being involved with Carl's death. Do you think fans got past that? What is the arc for you as Avi Nash in the world been like since from introduction until now?
AN: I never even really received that much flak for being involved with Carl's death, because I think a lot of people saw that Siddiq was just out there in the world on his own and happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. It's been really welcoming and warm from the beginning til now, and I think people have really taken on that this guy is someone of compassion and someone with a generous heart who is there to make the world a better place, and is doing so because that's his own intrinsic nature.
He's also doing so to honor his mom and Carl and Rick and these people that he comes into contact with. He's trying to make the world a better place. I think that's resonated with a lot of people. For me, I was never on a project that had as much reach or as much status as The Walking Dead. For me, that's also been really humbling to know that I go anywhere in the world and people recognize the work. They respond to it, and that's very flattering.
CB: What do you hope the legacy for Siddiq and your time on the show is? What do you hope sticks with fans the most?
AN: I hope that fans feel that the complexity of what he's going through in season 10 resonates with them and I hope they see that PTSD is not a death sentence. That in this case, the real tragedy is he was on his way out. He finally opened up to Rosita and he was sharing the trauma that he'd been through, which is the first step in getting over it.
I hope it immortalized him in the canon of characters, great characters that come through the show. There are characters like Glenn and Abraham and Sasha who came and left, but are remembered forever as being intrinsic to the great stories that the show has told. I hope Siddiq is able to stand shoulder to shoulder with some of those characters.
CB: I've been lucky enough to be on set for some people's wraps and I've seen cast numbers show up even when they're not in the scene. I've heard about other ones where, they do something special for cast members as they wrap up their time on the show. Was there anything special about your last day?
AN: Man, look. All those days were special. I think for me, the fact that we shot a lot of this season out of order actually made my death dinner particularly special because it happened much earlier than filming my actual last day. For me, I grew up in a big, mixed family and I wanted to cook a bunch of Caribbean food for everybody and share a little bit of my culture.
That's what I did. I was like, "I don't want any sob stories. Let me show you guys how much I love you and cook you a big feast of jerk chicken, plantain, peas and rice, and yucca. Let me tell you how much I love you and I'm going to miss you." That's what we did, and it was perfect.
CB: Wow. That's awesome. Is there any chance we ever see you again? Flashback form or anything planned, anything you know about that we might be able to ever see you again? Are you going to be a zombie?
AN: I don't know. I don't know. All I know is that Angela Kang and the writers can write a hell of a story, and so you're in for some treats.
CB: Cool. What's next for you? Do you have anything lined up yet? Anything to keep you busy in the acting world yet?
AN: Not yet, man. I've got a friend who wants to do a play in France, so I may try and do that. I'd love to do something in a foreign language next, so if you know a series shooting in Spanish, you let me know. That's what I want to do next.
The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9pm ET on AMC.