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Melissa McBride Promises More Carol When Season 7 Returns

As all of the chess pieces moved into place during Sunday’s midseason finale of The Walking Dead, one character’s trajectory remained hazy: after spending most of the season so far off-screen, Carol finally reappeared in “Hearts Still Beating” to nosh on some pomegranate seeds, reluctantly chat with Morgan, and nervously mull over a confrontation with Negan. Fans have spent all season wondering when Carol might snap out of her distaste for combat, and so far, that question remains unanswered. One bit of good news? When the series returns next year, the latter half of the season will at least give this fan favorite some more screen time. For the inside scoop on what shooting this season has been like so far and what might lie ahead, Vanity Fair spoke with Carol herself: actress Melissa McBride.

Although McBride is, of course, sworn to secrecy, she did confirm that fans will get to see more of Carol than they did in the season’s first half, which relegated her to two episodes. Coming out of the midseason finale, Carol is still very conflicted. After going through so much—losing a child, getting banished from your group, having to kill another little girl—wouldn’t anyone need a moment to find themselves?

“I’m glad she’s taking a little time for herself,” McBride said, adding that she couldn’t imagine what it would be like to endure all of the changes and horrors the group has been forced to weather. Everyone deals with that in their own ways, McBride said, and for Carol this season, that’s meant isolating herself. Still, McBride notes that the key to surviving this apocalypse might be exactly what her character is trying to flee from.

“When you’ve lost everything, there’s still much to be had—there are people. When you find people you care about, that’s an amazing thing. I mean, that’s it.”

For Carol, that has meant committing several atrocities, McBride noted. So now, as we’ve seen, she’s shunning her natural human impulse toward connection in an attempt to save herself the burden of forming relationships. That said, “you can’t run from it,” McBride added.

“I just want to hug her . . . I want her to come around. But I get how it is.”

However long it takes, it seems inevitable that we’ll see Carol back in action one way or another. (The Walking Dead’s TV adaptation has created too much of a badass to stifle her forever, right?) One new player who might break her out of her shell? King Ezekiel, who got to know her “pretty well” very quickly after they first meet. Plus, McBride added, “he’s charming; you can’t deny that.” Maybe he’ll break her out of her shell—but whether Carol and Morgan will try convincing him to attack the Saviors remains up in the air.

Carol’s arrival in The Kingdom was one of this season’s high points—a well-paced episode that delivered some much-needed levity after the gruesome premiere. And one of the best parts of the episode came toward the end, when Carol and Ezekiel sat down on a back patio and had a frank conversation about survival. When asked how she personally might have reacted to a place like The Kingdom and a leader like Ezekiel, McBride sounded like she would have had fun:

“Oh, gosh. I think if that were me going into that auditorium, I’d be like, ‘No way! What are you doing? Who are you? What are you? Seriously? Are you for real? Oh my gosh, can I pet your tiger? I want to be part of your production here, this is fun; what kind of costumes do you have in the back?’ That would be me. ‘Sure, I’ll have a pomegranate!’ “

Cheers to that.

 

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