- Warning: There are spoilers ahead for “TWD” season 11, episode three, “Hunted.”
- Angel Theory and Nadia Hilker spoke with Insider about Sunday’s episode.
- Hilker says Magna carries guilt over losing Connie (Lauren Ridloff) in the woods last season.
Nadia Hilker and Angel Theory aren’t thinking about season 11 of “The Walking Dead” as the end of the series, not when there’s so much more coming to “TWD” universe.
“As far as thinking, “Oh, it’s the absolute end,” there’s spin-offs,” Angel Theory, who plays Kelly on the AMC series, recently told Insider. “There’s going to be the Rick Grimes stuff. There’s so much more to the ‘TWD’ universe.”
“Right now, I’m really just focusing on making sure every episode I’m a part of, that I’m able to just make sure I’m giving my 120%,” she added. “If I’m thinking already about the end, I’m not focusing on the path before getting there.”
Kelly and Magna (Hilker) joined the zombie drama on season nine after Rick (Andrew Lincoln) was taken away from the series on a mystery CRM helicopter in November 2018. The show then fast-forwarded six years, introducing Magna and Kelly’s group to the series.
Currently, Kelly’s sister, Connie (Lauren Ridloff) is missing. While the season 10 finale revealed to the audience that Connie survived a cave-in accidentally caused by Carol last season, most of her friends and family fear she’s dead. On Sunday’s episode, Kelly continues to hold out hope to gain clues of her sister’s whereabouts. As Carol (Melissa McBride), encourages her search, Magna, frustratingly disapproves of Carol egging Kelly on, regardless of her intentions.
Angel Theory and Hilker told us their feelings on learning season 11 would be the show’s last, the personal struggle and guilt Magna feels over Connie, and whether or not they hope to make it out of the show alive by the series’ end.
Nadia Hilker was proud she made it to ‘TWD’s’ final season. Angel Theory was a bit sad and wanted it to continue
Insider: I’ve been asking some of the cast a few of the same questions. Nadia and Angel, do you both remember where you were when you learned that season 11 would be the final season of the “TWD”? How did you react to the news?
Nadia Hilker: [Showrunner] Angela [Kang] called me not long after we wrapped season 10 and I was mainly excited and proud, which is very selfish, that I made it to the end. It is pretty epic and it’s an honor to be on that show and be part of the very end of it.
It also doesn’t really end, right, with all the spin-offs? “The Walking Dead” world isn’t really going anywhere, anytime soon. [I’m] just excited to go out with a bang. I’m just so excited for this very last season for everyone to see what we’re doing. It’s mind blowing and it’s so many different new tones.
I was more optimistic. Obviously, knowing that something comes to an end, I probably haven’t realized it yet. For now, it’s just excitement, but I think it’s going to hit me more towards the end. I’m just grateful for everything and all the people and the family I gained through the show and the fans.
Angel Theory: Like Nadia, there was excitement. There was a little bit of sadness and kind of just like, “Noooo!” The internal fan in me is like, “No, we need more! There needs to be so much more stuff.” At the same point, I was like, well, this is actually just beautiful where we can really focus on just making this last season finish with a bang.
… I think the path of this whole journey is the most important part of it so that way the end would actually be just more beautiful. Whenever we get to that point, like Nadia said, it’s just going hit more because I love these people on and off set.
It’s very tough for Magna to not give Kelly hope about Connie potentially being alive. She feels like the bad cop to Carol’s good cop.
The audience knows Connie (Lauren Ridloff) is alive. Kelly told Carol she’s holding out hope her sister is alive. Magna seems like she’s moving on a bit on Sunday’s episode. How do you think they’re both going to react if they learn Connie’s alive and will Magna feel bad at all for not continuing to search for her?
Hilker: No, I don’t. Magna needs Connie to be alive just as much as Kelly needs Connie to be alive. It’s not that Magna ever thought that Connie was not alive, but it’s parenting. The most important thing in Magna’s life is Kelly and that’s what she puts first over anything and also over herself. She is definitely struggling or just not knowing how to handle the situation. Obviously, she wants to protect her, but she really has a hard time juggling wanting to give hope, but not giving too much hope in case Connie is not alive. It’s very, very hard for her.
Magna’s biggest struggle inside is the fact that she lost Connie and that completely changed my character on the show. She’s just trying to do the right thing every day and make Kelly’s life the least painful. She fails and it’s very hard for her.
Angel Theory: [Kelly] doesn’t know what’s going to happen. She just knows, “Just keep going. Don’t lose hope.”
I’m an only child, but I feel like anybody that has siblings, you feel your siblings, even if you’re not around them. There’s a part of her that’s just like, “I don’t care who’s moving on. I don’t care who doesn’t believe me. I might look crazy, but I’m not going to lose hope. I know one day I’m going to find something and that’s going to lead me to my sister or give me answers that I may need to know about her.”
I think there’s also a guilt. I know my sister would never lose hope. I know she wouldn’t just go on with her life so why would Kelly do the same thing? If that happens or whenever that happens where they get information that Connie’s alive, I think it’s just gonna be like that boulder that’s on her shoulders finally coming off.
You know that moment when you just have that one person in your life that you really love and care about and the whole world just kind of goes blank? I think that’s what [reuniting with Connie] would be in my mind.
Angel Theory: Magna, her way of dealing with things, it’s I feel not being too emotionally, like putting herself out there. So the best way she could probably keep going on is just being like, “OK. I’m accepting it and this is what it is.” I think a part of her does that for Kelly, too, like: “I would rather you just kind of move on and not dwell on this.”
Hilker: I disagree, though. You know, with parenting you have the good cop and the bad cop, and usually [the bad cop is] the mother and the dad everyone loves because the mom needs to be the one that’s like, “You need to do your homework in order to get a job one day.”
That leads us to Carol and [Magna] having a problem with Carol. [Magna] would love to be the one that’s like, “Connie’s alive.” Magna needs Connie to be alive so much, but she feels she can’t just do that because she feels like she needs to be that annoying, bad cup grown-up, that’s saving Kelly in case Connie is not alive.
The guilt, also towards Kelly — I lost her sister — It’s really, really, really hard on Magna.
Angel Theory: I feel like you had a sense of responsibility for Kelly, because she wasn’t able to provide her sister when you came back.
Angel Theory: That’s why I kind of felt there’s a part of Magna that’s just kind of like, “I’m doing this for Kelly and I don’t want to dwell in the fact that you might see her or get clues about her and you might not.”
Angel Theory: I think you’re just doing that as a protective kind of parent. The beautiful thing about all of our characters dealing with it is that we’re all dealing with it differently, like anybody would in real life. Even though we all have our own different thoughts about it, we’re all there for each other, no matter if we agree or disagree.
I’m waiting for Kelly to find this notebook that was teased in the season 11 trailer. I’m just waiting for that episode.
Hilker’s ‘very optimistic’ that Magna and her partner Yumiko will reunite.
Speaking of missing persons, Nadia, Yumiko has been off on this journey with Eugene. Is she worried about Miko? Is she concerned she may never see her again? What is Magna’s journey for this final season?
Hilker: There’s a lot. [Yumiko’s] definitely in a very different place, obviously. I think [Magna] doesn’t allow herself to worry. I think she has a good feeling that she’s well, wherever she is. I think, at this point, where we are in the season, [Magna] is so distracted with her own guilt and fear and worrying and trying to juggle things that that’s not as much on her mind, but definitely we see, or it feels for me at least, like Magna, because she’s no longer just dealing with trying to be understood or trying to be heard or trying to be accepted by her partner, that now a chapter closed and now there’s space for other relationships and other emotions and exploring new parts within her and the way she’s interacting with Carol.
It just closed a door and opened another where there’s now room for more people and more feelings and new feelings. But she has a very strong feeling deep down that [Yumiko’s] OK. Obviously, that crosses her mind when she’s in bed at night and sleeping. But, I think she tries to not focus too much on that, but is very optimistic that she will reunite with Yumiko.
Hilker wouldn’t mind a cool death for Magna by the end of ‘TWD.’ Angel Theory says it would be cool to say she survived the apocalypse.
As I’m letting both of you go, do you hope that your characters make it to the end of the show or would you rather have a cool death scene? I’m hoping that something doesn’t happen if Kelly and Connie are hopefully reunited. I can’t have a Daryl and Merle scene again.
Hilker: I definitely, like a big part of me, wants to get killed off because I think being on the show and not ever turning into a walker, it just doesn’t seem right. I don’t know. I kind of want that.
At the same time, it also depends on the death. Would it be a heroic death? Would it be a death [where] something good would come of my death? So, I kind of have mixed feelings and I just leave it to the writers and the universe to make that decision.
Angel Theory: It would be cool to be a walker and to experience that, but then at the same time, you always want to be the person that’s like, “I survived the apocalypse. I did that.”
There’s beauty in both of them, I guess. That’s the writer’s decision. Anything can change super quick. I think that’s kind of like real life. You never know what to expect. The next month is not promised. The next day is not promised to anybody. We always live by the group motto which is: Minute by minute, day by day, ride or die, we’re just going to keep going. Let’s stick it out together as much as we can until the last straw drops.
You can follow along with our “TWD” coverage all season long here. This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.