The Walking Dead is nearing the end of its first part of Season 11, and when that happens there will only be 16 episodes left for the series to complete. A lot of things are still going to happen and we still have a lot of adventures for our characters, and Eugene Porter is one of them.
Eugene has been through a lot over the seasons. He came in as a liar, allied with his enemies, saved his friends in the War of the Saviors, and so many other things! Now he was responsible for introducing us to the Commonwealth.
We caught up with actor Josh McDermitt about the last season of The Walking Dead, what we can expect from Eugene in the next few episodes, who he thinks the character will end up with – Stephanie or Rosita –, how has the mood been during shooting and a lot more. Check it out below!
Exclusive interview with Josh McDermitt
Hi Josh! It’s a pleasure to talk to you again. First of all, we’d like to know what it’s been like for you to record this last season of The Walking Dead with the whole Covid thing going on and the feeling of closure of this project you’ve been a part of since 2014.
Josh McDermitt: Hi Rafael! I love Brazil so much and I’m honored to speak with you again! I first want to say that I’ve been a part of the show since 2013, actually. That’s when we filmed everything for the first time with Abraham’s group. The episodes didn’t air until 2014 so in fact it’s actually been eight years that I’ve been filming the Walking Dead. Our final season… it’s pretty crazy. There’s a lot of nostalgia amongst the cast that’s been around as long as even longer than me. We have a lot of the same crew that has been with us since the early days and, you know, there’s a lot of past stories that are being told on set right now. And people are just very nostalgic and at the same time we’re very focused and we want to make this final season of ours the best it could possibly be. I’m not sure it will really hit everyone until we’ve packed everything up and have gone home.
Eugene has gone through many trials in the show, from making up the quest to Washington to find the cure, staying with the Saviors, having his redemption and going on his adventure to the Commonwealth. For you, what was your character’s best moment? And what was his worst moment?
Josh McDermitt: It’s hard to say what Eugene’s best moment is because he has a lot of them, really. The best moment early on was when he admitted that he was lying about having the cure. That admission set him on a trajectory to change and to become a different person. And really if you think about it, speaking that truth opened up so much for this man and who he’s become. I mean, that’s really one of the biggest elements to this character, you know? It’s that he finally admitted that he was lying about the cure. And really if we want to get into it, his worst moment… that was probably something that happened off-screen; things that we didn’t see that would’ve happened before we met this man on our television screens. He was lying about having a cure to the apocalypse and people were fighting to save his life and that’s a pretty rotten thing to do. But I don’t know, honestly, it’s just my opinion and who am I to say? I don’t really like ranking the best and worst of things because they change with my mood. And really what is more important is what YOU think Eugene’s best and worst moments are or what the fans in Brazil think, or what the audience thinks are Eugene’s best and worst moments. It shouldn’t be me telling you what his best worst moments are because that just ends the discussion, puts a period on it, you know? So in my humble opinion that is neither right or wrong, I would say one of his worst was just the fact that he was lying about having the cure and one of the best is shortly after we meet him when he admits that he was lying about all of that.
To gain the group’s trust, Eugene claimed to be a scientist early on in the show. Apparently (according to Margot Bingham’s casting), the Stephanie who was introduced to him is not the same one who kept in touch with him on the radio. When he finds out the truth, will he understand her the same way he was understood at the beginning of the show or will he be confused about his feelings for her?
Josh McDermitt: I guess we’re all going to have to watch and see how this plays out 🙂
Eugene showed us to be a sensitive man who is also insecure with women. He has always shown a special affection for Rosita. Now that he is about to meet Stephanie in person, we can finally see him find a big love. With whom would you prefer Eugene to end up: Rosita or Stephanie? Why?
Josh McDermitt: Oh I don’t prefer that Eugene ends up with anyone in particular. I just hope that he finds happiness and love. I hope he’s able to be a good mate, a good person that’s really what I care about. Whether it’s with this person or that person… it doesn’t matter to me. I just think that he’s really in a position to kind of grow and expand with who he is and learn how to be in a relationship and I think that’s a nice turn for that character. It’s something he’s wanted for so long so I don’t think that I necessarily have a preference as to who he ends up with if it even happens at all.
Can you talk a little bit about what it’s been like to work with Khary, Eleanor and Paola? Is it different to be recording in the Commonwealth, in comparison with the other locations of the show?
Josh McDermitt: I’ll tell you this… filming with that group is some of the most fun I’ve had on the show and it’s really fun and they’re a great gang of people. They’re very serious and committed to making the show as best as they can make it and we laugh a lot. Eleanor and Paola just crack me up. Khary is so positive and has his big smile and you hear him laugh and it makes me laugh. I come home from work in a great mood after having worked with them.
It’s really weird being in the Commonwealth because if you’ve seen it, everything looks clean, everything looks put together. People are going to a yoga class or whatever I don’t know! It’s very odd because it’s so different from everything we’ve done on the show. At the same time I think that’s what’s really cool about the show. It continues to evolve and now we’re seeing this mega city that really has been thriving within the apocalypse. After we followed this group of survivors for so long and watch them struggle and struggle and struggle and all of a sudden they’re right in the middle of this city, this Commonwealth. That’s exciting. But it’s definitely weird to put on clothes or to see people in clothes and they don’t stink they’re not covered in blood and sweat it’s it’s really bizarre and I kind of love it.
Eugene has always been a fearful character, but he faced many challenges over the years and managed to overcome several problems. He always did what he thought it was necessary to survive! Do you think we can expect a braver Eugene at the end of The Walking Dead?
Josh McDermitt: I think we’ve already seen a braver Eugene. I think we’ve seen him step up time and time again in situations where a lesser person may have run in the opposite direction and let someone else deal with it. Certainly that’s who Eugene was when we first meet him but, I don’t think we have to wait for the end of The Walking Dead to see a braver Eugene. We’ve already seen him. I think he’s confident. Obviously, he’s always been confident in his intellectual prowess and I think he’s always been confident in his interactions with people even though those interactions may not go according to how the other person planned hahaha. He knows what he wants and how to get it and so it took a little bit of prodding but once he was there he actually was able to step up in some major, major ways. And every time you do that you’re able to step up the next time and it’s easier. And that’s not to say he doesn’t find himself in scary situations. He’s definitely scared at times but we shouldn’t confuse fear and for lack of bravery. You can still be scared and very brave.
Knowing that many characters are not going to survive the last season of The Walking Dead, if Eugene had to die, what would you like his death to be like?
Josh McDermitt: I just hope his death would be something that does the character justice. But truthfully, I try not to think about it too much. I trust the writers, I trust Angela (Kang), I trust the producers that anytime they kill off the character that they are doing it in a way that pushes the story forward and and hopefully gives that character a meaningful and fulfilling death. So that’s how I can really hope for but again I try not to think about it too much. I would hope that Eugene is one of the last guy’s standing. I think that he’s someone that when we first meet him, we expected him to die so if Eugene could just die of old age I think that would be beautiful.
As we’ve mentioned in the beginning of the interview, you’ve been on the show for over 7 years now and you’ve seen a lot of people come and go. Who do you miss the most? And most importantly, what do you think you’ll miss the most about The Walking Dead when the show comes to an end?
Josh McDermitt: I just miss Cudlitz. I miss everyone, really. And I think what I’m going to miss the most will just be the fact that the last eight years I have been able to come to work with a bunch of people who are 100% committed to making this thing and we’re all on board with it and it’s very collaborative and very creative. It’s exciting and there’s a lot of fulfillment in that and so I think really I’m going to miss just… kind of being on the same page with a lot of people, putting our heads together to solve a problem, talking about the script and the story and where it’s headed… how can we make it better… just that collaborative effort amongst a large group of creative people is a beautiful thing. I’m going to miss that the most, you know? But yeah, I miss Cudlitz. I miss having him on set but in reality, the guy doesn’t stop calling me. I talk to him all the time so it’s not like I don’t ever see the guy. I just don’t see him at work. I don’t see a lot of people at work and we all keep in touch so that’s nice but there was just something about having him around he’s just you know he’s such a great guy I definitely miss him at work.
This might be a tough one, but here we go: what was your favorite episode of the show so far? And what was your favorite episode from season 11 (including the ones you’ve already recorded but haven’t aired yet)?
Josh McDermitt: My favorite episode in the show came during season 3… an episode titled Clear written by Scott M. Gimple. It featured Rick and Michonne and Carl they run into Morgan and they are in Morgan’s apartment and it’s booby-trapped and there’s scribbling on the walls and he’s basically gone off the deep end. That episode to me blew me away. It was incredible. For Season 11 I’m going to pick the first two episodes Acheron: Parts 1 & 2 written by Angela Kang and Jim Barnes. I was really excited to come back for the final season and have those first two episodes have a special place in my heart. It’s when I got to meet Michael James Shaw (Mercer) and see everyone again after 18 months apart. In terms of things that haven’t aired yet… I’m not going to spoil that for you… who do you think I am? Jeffrey Dean Morgan? I don’t spoil things like he does… nice try. Lol
There are only 3 episodes left to finish the first part of season 11, and we want to know: what can you tell us – no spoilers, of course – about what we can expect from Eugene in the final episodes of this part and in the second part of this last season?
Josh McDermitt: I CAN’T TELL YOU ANYTHING RAFAEL! I’LL GET IN SO MUCH TROUBLE!!! AMC WILL FORCE ME OUT OF THE USA AND I’LL HAVE TO MOVE TO BRAZIL AND LIVE WITH YOU! IS THAT WHAT YOU WANT? I’LL EAT ALL OF YOUR FOOD. Hold on… This might be a great idea, actually.
Finally, could you send a message to Brazilian fans?