The Walking Dead: World Beyond aired the most compelling episode of its freshman season on night, thanks largely in part due to the performance and story involving Annet Mahendru as Huck. Huck's backstory finally showed itself, revealing the character to have been a marine prior to the end of the world when the zombie virus changed everything. Under the direction of The Walking Dead's Abraham Ford actor Michael Cudlitz, Mahendru delivered powerful sequences in an episode which came complete with a heavy cliffhanger. The actress dove into the episode in an exclusive interview with ComicBook.com.
"Someone as chill as her and sarcastic and all that, it's sort of like a mask for something really like torturous and f-cked up, you know?" Mahendru said of Huck. "So I knew that it was coming and it was going to be a mother load, you know? Because anybody a little like... She's a bit of, not and asshole, but she's a bit of a sh-t-talker and pushes buttons. But because she's covering up maybe her vulnerabilities or doesn't want to spend time there... So now we know why, because it's complicated, right?"
The episode unveiled a lot about the character, while also furthering her relationships as they pertain to the future on The Walking Dead: World Beyond. While diving into the episode, Mahendru also opened up about the show's final destination which is the Rick Grimes movies.
Spoilers for The Walking Dead: World Beyond follow in the uncut transcript of ComicBook.com's interview with Huck actress Annet Mahendru below!
ComicBook.com: I'd love to start at the beginning though, because I've never had the privilege of speaking with you, so far. When you join a Walking Dead show, I imagine it must in some regard be unlike anything you've done before being on the set with zombies and such. What was your, "This is the Walking Dead world. We're in it, now," moment?
Annet Mahendru: Well, we landed there to do the pilot, and the first couple of days there was no signs of any zombies or anything. So it just felt like a pilot, and we're all kind of like, "What is... What's going to happen to us?" And I brought my three-year-old to set, and then two days later a truck of zombies shows up and they're just everywhere, like to lunch. And I mean, that's just been a trip because they look incredible and you're just freaked out. I mean, I am freaked out all the time. It's just, you're walking in the world, so it's as real as is a world I got to experience as an actor, because it's just... I don't know. It's just so alive, because of just this contrast of the living and the dead, or coexisting. So you're constantly staring at death and appreciating life, you know? So it was amazing, beautiful.
CB: Huck is the one adult of the group who tends to agree with the kids, while Felix is the adult of the group who tends to be resistant and reluctant to go on this journey to New York. If Annet were in this situation, which character do you think you would agree with more?
AM: Oh, I don't know. I just want to be Huck all the time, so I think it's hard for me to do anything she's not doing; she has me hooked. She Hucked me! [Laughs] I mean, she's just... I don't know, just the most awesome chick I've ever met. So I'll do anything she does.prevnext
CB: This week, Michael Cudlitz directed this week's episode, and he's known well for playing Abraham on The Walking Dead.
AM: Yeah, he did 1x06, and that's the one I wasn't in, and I went to the table to read because I was just like, "I got to like... Michael." And then I went home to LA and then they were like, "Oh, he's going to direct yours." And I was like, "Oh, this is going to be off the hook." And it was, it's just, "You're kidding me?"
CB: I think it's funny because on Walking Dead he was a former soldier, and he's directing this episode about soldiers. He was over there for years and he really never left the franchise. Did he give you any sort of TWD wisdom or any advice on that?
AM: He really grounded us all when he came on, his presence. Because we were all like I said, the world... It's such a huge franchise and just so much going on just constantly every day, we'd be having this responsibility of making this worthwhile for the fans because there was a lot of pushback like, "Really? You guys think you can be part of this cool thing and make it cooler?" Or whatever. So there was just this huge weight on our shoulders, "Are we enough? Are we doing our best?" Just freaked out by all of it, by this huge experience. And he came in and was like, "Guys."
He's just this warm-hearted teddy bear that was like, "You guys." He just took us all in and he was so comforting. It wasn't like another big thing that's part of this universe falling on our shoulders, "Oh God, we have to be so good in the presence of him." He was the one who settled us and was like, "You all are great, and this is fab... " He confirmed all our aspirations. So after that we were just full blast, like, "This is going to be legit, because Michael said so." And walking side-by-side with him in the world just gave us that last like confidence push to just like, "This is our world and we got it." You know?prevnext
CB: Now that we've gotten to know Huck, that flashback was very heavy. She made some tough decisions. When did you learn that was the backstory, and how did you feel about portraying this character who had to betray orders, but to do what I think a lot of people would say it was kind of the right thing to do to defend these innocent people?
AM: Thank you. I didn't know what people think. I mean, someone as chill as her and sarcastic and all that, it's sort of like a mask for something really like torturous and fucked up, you know? So I knew that it was coming and it was going to be a mother load, you know? Because anybody a little like... She's a bit of, not and asshole, but she's a bit of a shit-talker and pushes buttons. But because she's covering up maybe her vulnerabilities or doesn't want to spend time there... So now we know why, because it's complicated, right? What was your question?
CB: When did they dump all that knowledge on you that this was the story, this is where she's going?
AM: They did tell me her arc in a nutshell, but again, it was a lot and I sort of didn't really digest it until I got to play in 107, how heavy this was and what it means going forward. And so, again, in the moment is when it really dawns on you. That's why having... Having Michael there really helped just be in the present step-by-step, and in a way he had my back and we were almost like two soldiers in this episode, managing this episode together because it was a lot. It was also me discovering her by actually living her life, living her moments that have made her who she is. So that's when everything sank in, the part of being part of the Walking Dead, being Huck and what that means, and who she was and going forward, and how other people saw me after they got to know her. Everyone... I don't know. It was a big one.prevnext
CB: It would also seem like this is going to elevate the relationship between Hope and Huck with this understanding of holding a guilt to allow others to live more happily.
AM: Well there's a tendency when you go through something bad to just go down that destructive path, right? Because you are so burdened, so uneasy, and feel so respond... We are always all responsible, but we don't always go forward about it, take what happened to us in a constructive way, right? We sort of have the tendency to just, "I got to destroy more. I got to just I'm in this sh-t."
And that's happening for Hope and Huck. We'll take any opportunity with any of the kids just to put their heads under the water and be like, "You see? Get up. Let's go, now," you know? For sure, I think with that experience, not that Huck wanted Hope with Walter to be at gunpoint like that, but I think that solidified a lot of the things that Huck's been trying to jam into her. Like, "Wake up." You know? So that was a wake up call, and she was happy to be part of that because it's like, "I was trying to tell you," you know?
So if you're not going to be with it now, I don't know. This was the last straw, like shaking her awake and just being like, "You can still do good. We need you."prevnext
CB: At the end of the episode, the cliffhanger there is Tony's killed off, all signs point to, "Silas did this." We don't know for sure yet, but that seems like it's going to throw a big wrench in the plan, so what you can tease about how we're going to follow that up?
AM: Next episode will be about for everyone... Everyone has to reevaluate their bonds and their ideas they have about people, and really... Everything's been thrown off, any paths or any plans they have had. Now all you have is your instinct to make sense of this all, you know? Because he's a friend, he's been part of our journey, and Huck's always been suspicious of him obviously. And you don't know when... Because we haven't heard his voice yet, right? We haven't heard him deal with his trauma. And that's why my Huck's been always really worried because if he doesn't, it will come out in something huge, you know? Keep coming up. And hopefully he can find his voice and plead to all of us, right? Whether he did it or not. This is this time in the next episode to come out of his shell, again, like now or never. He's in trouble. It doesn't look good for him.prevnext
The Rick Grimes Movies
CB: The Walking Dead: World Beyond was announced to be two seasons, 20 episodes. There is a destination that is known, and it seems like it points to the Rick Grimes movies of it all in one way or another. So what can you say about what people can continue to expect?
AM: Who's that? [Laughs]
CB: Secrets! Fair enough! How expansive do you think this show will continue to be for the universe as a whole, and the movies that people are very excited about?
AM: I mean, we're the lead-up to the movies, so we're going there. All the questions fans have had for, I don't know, inherently a decade, right? Our show is the answers to that. So we are very much heading to CRM. I mean, that's the helicopter... We're getting really close, you know? So this episode is sort of a foreshadow of how heavy and how spicy and just like hot it's going to get. Yeah. I mean, if you like this episode you will like the next episode, and the finale is going to be the explosion of all of it.
CB: You said so much, but also didn't say anything to get yourself in trouble, so that was perfect. A round of applause!0comments
My last thing for you, Tales of the Walking Dead is one of the most exciting things I think that is going to come out of this universe in the future. I loved seeing Hucck's past. Do you think there's any chance we could get more of Huck's early days in a one-off episode or arc of episodes on the next spinoff show?
AM: Yeah, ask for it! I'm getting a lot of little awesome messages that I put out into the universe that will get picked up. Absolutely, I mean, I feel like this was the beginning of getting into Huck. So it's just the beginning, you have no idea.prev