Former Walking Dead star Michael Cudlitz, who played Abraham Ford, says the military man could have taken out his killer, Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), if they squared off one-on-one in a fair fight. A defiant Abraham was the first on-screen victim murdered by Negan in the two-part Season 6 finale and the Season 7 premiere, "Last Day on Earth" and "The Day Will Come When You Won't Be," where the then-Savior leader — using barbwire-wrapped "vampire" baseball bat Lucille — bludgeoned Abraham before similarly executing Glenn (Steven Yeun) to punish and subjugate Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and his group of captured survivors.
"Everyone always asks the 'what if,' and it's difficult to do the 'what if,'" Cudlitz said on the Dead Talk Live podcast when asked if Abraham would kill Negan if he were still alive. "It's like, 'Well, would Daryl kill Negan?' Now look what’s happened — everything twists and shifts. I don't know. I think if it was one-on-one he would take him out, if all things being equal and all things being fair."
Some eight years after Abraham and Glenn's deaths, Daryl (Norman Reedus) and Negan have formed an uneasy alliance against the Whisperers now commanded by Beta (Ryan Hurst). Referencing Daryl's brutal brawl with the towering Beta in Season 9 episode "Chokepoint," which ended with a scrappy Daryl shoving his oversized opponent down an elevator shaft, Cudlitz says it's hard to predict what might have happened had Abraham and Negan met in battle.
"You look at the Beta fight with Daryl. You don't know how that's going to wind up, and he gets the upper hand on him, but things being as they are, Beta's huge," Cudlitz said. "So it's not even a slam or talking sh-t about Norman to say Beta would probably win. But Daryl's just a badass who is completely unpredictable, so you never know."
"I don't like to play the 'what if' game because you always go, 'Oh yeah, I would have kicked his ass and I'd have changed the whole thing.' Well, no, I didn't," he added. "I chose to give myself for the group and hopefully save some lives. Abraham was able to do one last selfless thing to hopefully secure the safety of the people that he loved, and his family."
Like Daryl, who has begrudgingly fought alongside Negan, Abraham might have stifled hostility towards Negan because "time and circumstance are a funny thing, and they change everything. Time changes everything."
Cudlitz has since returned to The Walking Dead as director, allowing him the opportunity to work with Morgan on the other side of the camera.
"I think he's a terrific actor. I've always been a fan, I've been a fan since Grey's Anatomy," Cudlitz said. "There's no [animosity]. It's funny, on social media, like, 'Oh man, I bet you hate him!' Why would I hate him? He's another actor. I knew I was gonna die well before he knew he was gonna be cast."
The Walking Dead will air its Season 10 finale as a special episode on AMC later this year. For all things TWD, follow the author @CameronBonomolo on Twitter.