- Warning: There are massive spoilers ahead for “TWD,” season 11, episode three, “Hunted.”
- Laurie Fortier breaks down Sunday’s episode with Insider as the Reapers attacked Maggie’s group.
- You may have missed that Duncan and Agatha were meant to be a couple.
The dead claimed another victim on “The Walking Dead.”
On Sunday’s episode, “Hunted,” Agatha (Laurie Fortier) died sacrificing herself to save Maggie from the undead.
While on the run from the mysterious Reapers, Maggie (Lauren Cohan), Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), an injured Alden (Callan McAuliffe), and Agatha got surrounded by walkers. While fighting the dead, Agatha, one of Maggie’s strongest warriors, was caught off-guard by a walker, bit in the arm, and then was savagely eaten alive in front of Maggie.
“We had such a blast shooting that,” Fortier told Insider over the phone recently, revealing that it wasn’t any old walker who killed her.
“[Executive producer and special effects make-up artist] Greg [Nicotero] is the initial one that takes the bite out of my arm,” Fortier said. “He catches me from behind, bites into my arm, and then that sends me falling into the swarm of walkers.”
(You can read more about the making of Agatha’s death scene here.)
Fortier had never seen an episode of “TWD” before joining the series. When she learned in January 2021 she would be joining the show’s final season, she did a deep dive to catch up what she needed to know from 10 seasons of AMC’s zombie drama.
“I literally locked myself in a room for like a week and just mapped out who everybody was,” said Fortier, making sure that she watched a few key episodes, including the season seven premiere when Negan killed Glenn. “Anything that was connected to Maggie I watched.”
“It wasn’t until after I was done filming that I then actually binged the show as a fan,” Frontier said, adding it was the right choice. “I’m glad that I waited that long because I would have fan-girled out on my castmates.”
When we spoke with Fortier, she hadn’t seen her big death episode yet. The actress was in Los Angeles wrapping up another role.
Fortier told me it was like filming in the subway tunnels during that tension-filled scene between Negan and Maggie, how Norman Reedus and Lauren Cohan made her feel like a member of TWDFamily, and the small detail you may have missed about Agatha and Duncan.
It wasn’t intimidating joining the final season of the show: ‘Nobody had an ego’
Now I know this is a zombie show, but I spoke with a few of the cast members recently about what legacy they hope this show leaves behind after it ends. A lot of them talked about the sense of community the show has built with the fandom. On set, many of them are really close and have become their own sort of family over the years. Did you feel that bond while you were on set? Did you feel like you were welcomed into that sort of atmosphere?
A hundred percent. It was actually one of the things that surprised me the most given… the success and the notoriety of all the cast members. To walk into season 11 and literally have every single one of them — Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Norman Reedus, Lauren Cohan, Seth Gilliam, and Callan, those were mainly who I worked with — they were so welcoming and so down to earth and they all had a special rapport between them. Nobody had an ego. I have to say it just really made the experience so enjoyable.
Lauren Cohan and Norman Reedus helped show Fortier the ropes
You get to tell Negan off a little bit early in the season. I don’t think everyone on the cast has even interacted with Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s character. What was it like acting opposite of Norman and Jeffrey and Lauren?
Lauren and I just instantly clicked. She was like a sister. There was an instant connection. Very helpful. [She] kind of showed me the ropes in terms of how to shoot the bow and arrow.
One of the early days of filming, there was a scene where we’re in the tunnel and we’re about to be attacked by walkers. They’re coming right at us and the director — I think it was just written that it was just Norman shooting — and he’s like, “Agatha, why don’t you come and shoot some bows and arrows?” And I was like, “Oh my God, I’ve never done this before.”
Norman was so sweet. He pulled me aside and he goes, “Look, this is how you do it.” [He] showed me how to sell the kill on the walkers. You stab them in the head, but to really sell it [it’s] the way you pull it out. And Jeffrey Dean, he’s so shy. He’s lovely. They were all really lovely to me.
Agatha and Duncan were ready to take Negan out for Maggie
Agatha, Cole, and Duncan are all very protective of Maggie. We get the sense they know her backstory. On the premiere, Agatha acknowledges being aware of Negan. There’s a brief moment where she’s like, “Is that him?” Later, there was this huge moment on the premiere when Negan crosses the line with Maggie. Negan says Glenn’s name to her. On “Talking Dead,” Jeffrey said he called up [showrunner] Angela [Kang] concerned that might not be the best idea and that it may not go over well with fans. Were you on set when Jeffrey delivered that line and, if so, what was the atmosphere was like?
You could cut the tension with a knife. This is really the first time that they’re in this situation where their two characters are being forced to be together. How brilliant that the writers have it in a tunnel, which is claustrophobic, and endless tunnel that goes on and on and then taking it a step even further and getting trapped in this subway. It helped to create that tension between them.
The Wardens are definitely aware of what her relationship was like with Negan. We have this protective relationship. We would die — and in fact, I did. We would sacrifice ourselves for Maggie. She came into Meridian and who’s to say how long she was there for? But we all formed a special relationship with her.
If Daryl didn’t punch Negan in the face, it felt like Duncan or Agatha would have went in and taken a swing for Maggie.
Oh, sure. Say the word Maggie and he’s dead.
Agatha was one of the few to not get hit in that massive opening fight Sunday with the Reapers
I had to watch that opening fight sequence a few times because so much is packed into that action scene that’s just a little over a minute long. Just about no one gets away unscathed. I was trying to see if you get hit in that scene at all. I don’t think you do, but I could be mistaken. Do you remember what it was like filming that scene? It just looks like it was spectacular chaos.
Yeah, it was! No, I didn’t get nicked in that. Duncan got nicked in that one. Our director, Frederick Toye, shot it in a very cool, organic way. We were in this forest and he had cameras going in different directions. We were all on the set and running in different directions and cameras [were] catching glimpses to give it that organic feel.
The deeper connection between Agatha and Duncan you may have overlooked: They were a couple.
I thought you were going to get killed by the Reapers at the episode’s start. Your death late in the episode caught me off guard. What were your feelings when you read how Agatha would die in the script?
It makes sense because I die saving Maggie so she could get away. Duncan is my partner. In the script, it was very much Duncan and Agatha are together. I don’t know if you picked up on that. There’s just so many other storylines going on. When he dies, then it’s kind of like, “I have nothing else to live for.” So of course it would make sense in that moment that I would sacrifice myself so Maggie can get away.
I’m glad that you mentioned that. I’m sure others will wonder that. That makes that scene even more bittersweet to go back and watch again.
[Maggie’s] got Hershel. Hershel was like our kid, too. So, I want her to live.
It goes back to that little shoulder scene in the very first episode.
Fortier had the honor of getting killed by Greg Nicotero
Well, I gotta ask. What was it like to get torn apart by walkers?
OK. Well, I have a fun fact for you. Do you know who the walker was that tore me up?
So Greg Nicotero decided that since this was the last season he wanted to be in all places. He wanted to be the walker that killed me. So he got in full make-up and put on his walker mask. Right before we were shooting, he looked me in the eyes and he goes, “I want you to know, I put these contacts in just for you.” And I was like, “You’re awesome.”
I love that. I was going to ask you about working with Greg.
I have to say it was actually quite an honor.
He’s dressed up as walkers a few times. I was a little sad that didn’t direct the premiere, so it’s really nice to know that he was behind the scenes on Sunday’s episode. For your death scene, did Nicotero give you any direction for that moment and how to prepare to be ripped apart by the undead?
Yeah. He bites my arm, so we worked on a choreography together and he gave me what works and what doesn’t for camera. He was super helpful and I just loved it. He went out of his way to put the contacts in for me so that I could have more to play off of. He’s such a humble guy. He still is so excited about what he’s doing after all these years and it’s just so refreshing to see that, you know, to work with somebody that just loves their job so much. He’s just like a big kid.
There aren’t any hard feelings against Maggie for Agatha and Duncan’s deaths
Looking at these at these first three episodes, Negan actually makes a decent case when he calls Maggie out in the tunnels and claims that her anger towards him making her blindly lead her people into a suicide mission instead of thinking of their safety and taking breaks. Ultimately the decisions Maggie makes to carry on through the night, even though, the Reaper are out there, result in the deaths of Agatha, Duncan, and more. Looking back, does Agatha think that Maggie should’ve made some different calls?
That’s a good question. I just think that Agatha is so loyal to Maggie. At the end of the day, it’s all about survival. That’s what is driving Maggie. She’s a mother. It comes down to we need food to feed our families. We need to feed our children. So we’ve got to keep going. Like you say, she stops at nothing and then that comes with a cost. But I do think that Agatha is loyal to her and her cause.
Could we see Agatha again? We will briefly again.
She goes down on Sunday’s episode, but could see Agatha again? I always thought we could get flashbacks to where Maggie’s been. Are you on hand at all in case they either do a flashback or something like that?
There’s a little bit of a flashback. You’ll see me in a precarious position. Beyond that, I really don’t know because you know, they’re so tight-lipped about future storylines and what’s happening, but that certainly would be very cool.
They’re doing a few spinoffs. One of them is an anthology series and [“TWD” universe chief] Scott Gimple told me how they would plan to tell a series of stories maybe from the past, either in an episode or a few contained episodes. That’s a space where I could always see more of Maggie’s journey explored with Agatha and the Wardens.
What happened in Meridian, what life was like there. Yeah. I think that could be really interesting.
Now that you’re no longer on “The Walking Dead,” what are you working on now? Is there anything you can share?
I just finished another Lifetime movie [“Sugar Mommy”] with a character that was inspired by Ghislaine Maxwell. It’s so much fun and she’s pretty evil.
The story of Epstein and Ghislaine is obviously crazy. I’ve always been fascinated with what motivates her. I had the opportunity to play this role and kind of get inside of her head. It was really cool.
You can follow along with our “TWD” coverage here throughout the season. Filming on “Sugar Mommy” just wrapped. There’s no set release date yet. This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.