Cudlitz, who made his directorial debut with Sunday night's Episode 9x07, played Abraham Ford on the AMC show in its fourth, fifth, and sixth seasons before bowing out in the Season Seven premiere. With his behind-the-camera work, Cudlitz was burdened with emphasizing a growing mystery, as Daryl was revealed to have "X" scars on his back, just as Michonne was shown to have in the preceding episode.
"Where we're dealing with Michonne, where she has separated herself from the Hilltop group, and sort of isolated herself with just Alexandria, we're not exactly sure why. We will find out later," Cudlitz told Insider. "A lot of it's tied to the 'X' that we see on her back, that we just revealed on Michonne's back. Now we see it on Daryl's back."
While the "X" might have to do with Michonne and Maggie's strained relationship, viewers only know the story also involves Daryl and an event which took place during the six-year time jump, for now. "The audience is going to want to know what that's about," said Cudlitz. "They're going to find out what that's about, but that is something that connects them all, even though they're all separated right now, we're going to find out why." It's possible other characters now have similar scars.
It seems these "X" marks might be rooted in Maggie and Michonne's differences.
"We're going to find out why Michonne had distance with Maggie when last we saw [her], she didn't," Cudlitz said. "I mean, they had conflict over the Negan thing, but that was resolved. She stepped aside. She let Maggie tell that story, and carry that story off the way that she had to, because she knew she had to. So there's no conflict left there, really. They actually agreed."
This feud is something else. "So what's different now? We're gonna find out," Cudlitz said. "But right now we know, in episode seven, that they're separated, and it's a wonderful reflective moment for Michonne to hear a small group sort of like holding a mirror up to what they used to be. This small group that not only needs each other, but is there for each other. And one of the people in that group is telling the story of, basically civilization, and what civilization needs to thrive, and one of the main things it needs to survive and thrive is to share."
The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9 pm ET. Fear the Walking Dead will return for its fifth season in 2019. For complete coverage and insider info all year long, follow @BrandonDavisBD on Twitter and watch ComicBook.com's After The Dead each Sunday night following new episodes.