Abraham Ford is dead, but the Michael Cudlitz and Josh McDermitt bromance lives on. Cudlitz, who played cigar-chomping military man Abraham from Seasons 4 through 7 of The Walking Dead, made his directorial debut behind the camera of a Season 9 episode and helmed another two in Season 10. The Abraham actor will return as director on at least one episode of The Walking Dead's expanded Final Season, where McDermitt's Eugene is on the road with Ezekiel (Khary Payton), Yumiko (Eleanor Matsuura), and Princess (Paola Lazaro) as the newest residents of the Commonwealth.
"He's just a great guy. I'm getting a little emotional thinking about it just because he's incredible, and when he left the show, we lost a pillar within the cast," McDermitt told AMC.com of Cudlitz. "We've lost a lot of pillars within the cast, but that's given room for people to step up, do better work, and become stronger leaders. But losing him, for me, it was losing one of my closest friends. Any chance I get to work with him is great, even if it's directing."
Abraham dies at the end of Negan's (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) blood-thirsty baseball bat Lucille to start Season 7, a gory finish to a journey that Abe and Eugene began together in the Season 4 episode "Inmates."
"I didn't know him before The Walking Dead. We were on the same flight out. I remember seeing him on Band of Brothers and seeing a few episodes of Southland, and all of a sudden I'm sitting next to him on a flight," McDermitt recalled. "We didn't talk to each other on the flight because it was loud and everyone's got their headphones in, plus we're not really supposed to be talking about being on the show. Then at one point as we were about to land, he turned and looked at me, stuck his fist out, and I gave him a fist bump and I was like, 'Oh this guy's cool.' He knows how exciting this is."
McDermitt added: "This is a guy who's been around forever, and I'm personally freaking out like, 'Oh my God, I'm going to be on The Walking Dead!' And that little fist pump was his little, 'Oh my God, I'm going to be on The Walking Dead!' And I love that. We just had a connection immediately, you know?"
McDermitt and Cudlitz have reunited on and off-screen in the years since Abraham's Walking Dead death, including making joint appearances at conventions.
On working with Cudlitz as director, McDermitt said, "The interactions that he and I have, I cherish. I love him to death, and then to bring him on as a director, in a different capacity, just grows that relationship. I completely trust him. I trust his eye. He knows my strengths. He knows my weaknesses. He knows where my crutches are and he doesn't let me get away with things. He makes me better."
Follow the author @CameronBonomolo on Twitter for all things TWD. The Walking Dead Season 11 airs Sundays at 9/8c on AMC.