The Walking Dead had a pair of deaths in its final two episodes of an impressive run through 2019. Both of those deaths, however, were major deviations from the comic book source material written by Robert Kirkman. While neither of the characters seem to have stirred up an angry mob of fans following the deviation, the result ended up being quite surprising given the expectations. Fans were not the only ones surprised by the season 10 twist, though. The actors involved were surprised by the changes, telling ComicBook.com as much in an exclusive interview.
Warning! Spoilers for The Walking Dead Season 10 follow. Major spoilers!
Dante was different from his comic book counterpart from the jump. Living in Alexandria, being a doctor, and being introduced during the Whisperer story arc already became changes of their own. However, when the character was revealed to be an undercover spy trying to infiltrate the community for Alpha, all bets were off for an resemblance to the comic book counterpart which was never a villain of any kind. For Dante actor Juan Javier Cardenas, the plot twist came as a surprise as he had already been a fan of the comics.
"I was familiar with the comic and everything that the series has done in their own way, I think it's always been exciting," Cardenas said. "I think in the world of comic literature we've been open to characters evolving over time, anyway, that I don't think it's a huge psychological jump as other people might think." You can read the full, uncut interview with Cardenas here.
Cardenas, in fact, has long been a fan of the comic book medium. "I grew up reading comics. So, I was familiar with Robert Kirkman, The Walking Dead, back when it first came out on Image, back then," the actor said. "When I got the role of Dante, I went back to the source material and I absolutely read from Dante's first appearance all the way to the end of this story. I felt that I was, yes, quite, quite familiar with the character of Dante.
"When I was made aware of where the diversions in the story, where they were going to come from and how this interpretation of Dante was going to be different, it was exciting to me as a performer. It's exciting and amazing because what that is, is that it gives you, as a performer, a little bit of ownership. Like we're creating something kind of new here. So, that that can be nerve wracking, but it can also be very exciting if you embrace it in the right way, which I did."
Cardenas was one of very few people in the know about Dante's big twist. In fact, it let him to have a special bond with Siddiq actor Avi Nash, as the Whisperer reveal meant Dante would kill his former buddy. As a result, Cardenas had to live a bit of a lie himself. "It was also very bitter sweet because I would talk to my brother, who was big into the comics and I would have to hold my tongue on those conversations," Cardenas explained. "He was so excited and he'd tell me, 'Oh, this is going to be great. Dante's such an upstanding character. He's this great kind of lieutenant at the Hilltop and he's such an upstanding character. Brandon, I just kind of just hold my tongue, you know, 'Uh-huh, uh-huh, uh-huh. Yeah, I bet he's something, okay.'"
For a full recap of the mid-season finale, click here. What did you think of the shocking death in The Walking Dead's mid-season 10 finale? Share your thoughts in the comment section or send them my way on Instagram and Twitter.
The Walking Dead will return for the back half of its tenth season in February of 2020.0comments