Michael Cudlitz Talks Returning to ‘The Walking Dead’

Sgt. Abraham Ford actor Michael Cudlitz returns to The Walking Dead in his directorial debut, [...]

Sgt. Abraham Ford actor Michael Cudlitz returns to The Walking Dead in his directorial debut, which was "the best of both worlds," he told TheWrap.

"First, I was welcomed back so lovingly and taken care of by the crew and the cast," Cudlitz said.

"Everybody was just rooting for my success and when you enter in that way, you are already in a position to succeed. The great thing about directing the cast was that the cast is changing now, so I had a wonderful experience about being [able] to direct, basically half of my cast was brand new and the rest were people that I have longstanding, amazing relationships with."

ComicBook.com first reported on Cudlitz's return in July. It was later learned he will direct 907, "Stradivarius," penned by series newcomer Vivian Tse.

"To be able to work with the people that I've worked with before in an acting capacity, you know, and to help guide them in telling these stories and to be able to work with people that I not only respect but admire as performers, and have never worked with before, to be able to work with those guys was really great," he said.

The first-time director steered some of the new characters to be introduced this season, including Magna (Nadia Hilkes), Yumiko (Eleanor Matsuura), Luke (Dan Fogler), and sisters Kelly (Angel Theory) and Connie (Lauren Ridloff), the latter being a deaf woman who communicates through ASL.

"It sort of helped establish the early roots of what some of these new characters will be, because, as everyone who watches the show understands, the early episodes where you learn a lot about the characters really do set the tone of how they are perceived and received from there on out," Cudlitz explained.

"You tend to come into the show with a loud voice, make an imprint, and then get woven into the fabric of the show. So these few episodes where they do have a very loud voice and a prominent voice, they are establishing who they are and how they feel about things and it was fun to be part of that. We had a lot, a lot of elements of the show that are new elements: animals, kids, American Sign Language. A lot, a lot of elements."

Other yet-to-debut characters on the way include Season Nine big bads the Whisperers, fronted by Alpha (Samantha Morton), Beta (Ryan Durst) and Alpha's daughter, Lydia (Cassady McClincy).

Daryl Dixon star Norman Reedus previously told Skybound Cudlitz's episode is "great" and "a big Daryl episode," and praised his former co-star for jumping into "a really hard episode to direct."

"And it was a lot of different directions going," Reedus said. "It was one of those episodes you read it and you're like oh, we need four weeks to shoot it. But that guy, he came in and did so much homework. He did more prep than a lot of the directors, to be honest. He came ready to play."

As revealed by the freshly-unveiled episode synopsis, Stradivarius sees Carol (Melissa McBride) venturing into the woods seeking out "an old friend living alone in a wilderness teeming with walkers," suggesting Daryl relocates into the woods once Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) is out of the picture. The synopsis also tells of survivors making a "perilous trek to a new home," hinting at the arrival of Magna and her group.

Lincoln will be the next Walking Dead star to revisit the franchise in a behind-the-camera role as he's already returned to the Season Nine set after wrapping on Rick Grimes to ready his return as director in Season Ten.

The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9/8c on AMC. Cudlitz's episode airs November 18.