The Walking Dead star Josh McDermitt talked about his character Eugene’s character evolution in the final season. The top-rated post-apocalyptic horror series premiered in 2010 and has already aired a total of ten seasons, which has also spawned spin-offs. Season 11 marks the final season of the show, which will consist of twenty-four episodes total. The Walking Dead season 11 will premiere on AMC on August 22, although it will be available a week early on August 15 for AMC+ subscribers.
At the end of season 10, the twentieth episode titled “Splinter” finds Eugene, Ezekiel, Yumiko, and Princess captured by soldiers. Eugene had arranged for a meeting with the mysterious woman on the other end of the radio named Stephanie, which ultimately landed them in the situation they currently find themselves in. Princess struggles to maintain her mental sanity as she eventually finds herself hallucinating Eugene and Yumiko’s presence. The episode ends with Princess getting a hood thrown over her head by a soldier from the train car.
During the Comic-Con@Home 2021 panel for The Walking Dead, McDermitt explored the evolution of Eugene and his decision to meet with Stephanie. Panel host Chris Hardwick asked the actor about Eugene’s level of certainty in himself moving forward with season 11 after he was captured along with Princess and Yumiko. McDermitt explained how the upcoming season would start to see Eugene beginning to doubt his decision-making and trust in those around him. See below for McDermitt’s complete response:
“I think we’re starting to see the first cracks of that. He is a bit of a risk-taker in his own way and is able to read a lot of situations that other people might not necessarily be able to read as well. I think he kind of entered the situation thinking like, ‘This is gonna happen. They’re going to come up and they’re going to want to question us or whatever.’ But all of a sudden, they’re kind of separated and thrown into train cars. I think we’re starting to see the first cracks of like, ‘Oh, crap. Did I make the wrong call here?’ He’s certainly doing this for the people back home in Alexandria, but I think he’s also starting to feel the guilt of his friends getting captured, with Princess, Ezekiel, and Yumiko, and is starting to question, ‘Hey, did I make the right call?’ I think that everyone that they ever encounter along the way, there’s a certain level of distrust. He certainly trusts Stephanie from his conversations on the radio. Yeah, there’s definitely like a ‘Okay, I’m sticking to this, but what if?’ And like I said, we’re starting to see the first cracks in that veneer there.”
“Especially when we saw him at the Sanctuary, and he really got over on Negan and made Negan his b*tch (laughs)…He’s always kind of working something, but like I said, he’s starting to question it. He obviously doesn’t know the state of Alexandria with the Whisperers and that whole war, because he left while that was still going on. That was a risky move and I think that he’s just starting to question like, ‘Oh, is this the time that I’m not gonna succeed in my choices.’ So, it’s definitely something that’s not in the back of his mind, but in the front of his mind.”
Eugene has displayed some of this risk-taking throughout his inclusion in The Walking Dead. Some of his decisions may have disastrous consequences. Judging by his conversations over the radio with Stephanie, it’s clear that he has held trust in her. However, in this show’s universe, there’s always an issue regarding trust. It has already been confirmed that Stephanie will appear in season 11, so it will be interesting to see how that meeting goes and where that takes Eugene’s character evolution.
With the show coming to a close after season 11, the stakes are higher than ever. Seeing where the characters end up at the beginning of the new season will profoundly impact these characters and their growth. However, Eugene has proven to be quite resourceful with his ability to find his way out of tight situations. With him now starting to question whether or not he’s making the right moves, the final season of The Walking Dead may see Eugene’s character react to situations a bit differently due to these thoughts in the front of his mind.