A set photo from the eleventh and final season of The Walking Dead reveals the first look at series newcomer Michael James Shaw as Mercer in his comic book-accurate red suit of armor. Season 10 introduced Officer Mercer's troops when the small group led by Eugene (Josh McDermitt), en route to a rendezvous with Stephanie (Margot Bingham), were apprehended by the armored soldiers of the Commonwealth Army in Charleston, West Virginia. Fans received their first peek at the character's unique red armor in an April Final Season teaser revealing the August 22 return date on the AMC Network.
Mercer is a later addition to Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard's comic books, first appearing in issue #177 of the zombie saga that ended at issue #193. A U.S. Marine, Mercer leads the Commonwealth military and is among the residents of the Ohio-based settlement that become inspired by Rick Grimes when his group of survivors make their way to the community lorded over by Governor Pamela Milton and her bratty son Sebastian.
The white-armored soldiers seen in Season 10 episodes "A Certain Doom" and "Splinter" are "just the iceberg," Walking Dead showrunner and executive producer Angela Kang teased during the Walking Dead Extended Season 10 Preview Special in February. "There's more characters within that group to meet, but we will start to get into them a bit, get a sense of their vibe, what they're about, through our characters' perspective. But there's so much more cool story to come in Season 11."
The armor and weapons wielded by the Commonwealth military "tells you that this group is really formidable, they are organized, they have some access to the materials that you need to create in a uniform fashion, so that's really unlike some of the groups that we've seen," Kang said. "Because our groups have only been able to do things like that on a very limited basis, like [how] Eugene was only able to make a handful of perfect bullets. But these guys have a lot more going on."
We last saw Eugene and traveling companions King Ezekiel (Khary Payton), Yumiko (Eleanor Matsuura), and Princess (Paola Lazaro) captured and subjected to questioning by the soldiers in the extended Season 10 bonus episode "Splinter."
Follow the author @CameronBonomolo on Twitter for all things TWD. The 24-episode Final Season of The Walking Dead premieres on Sunday, August 22, on AMC.