EXCLUSIVE | Callan McAuliffe asks fans to keep 'lights on' for final 'TWD' episodes

'The Walking Dead' star also spoke about the fate of his character and how he feels to be a part of the show's final season


                            EXCLUSIVE | Callan McAuliffe asks fans to keep 'lights on' for final 'TWD' episodes
LOS ANGELES, CA: Callan McAuliffe attends 2018 G'Day USA Los Angeles Black Tie Gala, in Los Angeles, California (Emma McIntyre/Getty Images)
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AMC’s blockbuster horror series ‘The Walking Dead’ is in its final season and the show aired its mid-season finale just a couple of weeks ago. The show, just like always, ended on a massive cliffhanger and fans cannot wait to see how things proceed when the show comes back for one last time in February 2022.

However, one of the most important things that people want to know is if Alden is still alive or not. The character, which is played by the Australian actor Callan McAuliffe, had a brutal encounter with The Reapers during the third episode. Alden had been severely wounded in a battle with the Reapers and he was slowing Maggie (Lauren Cohan) and Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) down in their pursuit of food. They find a church where they can rest, and Alden insists on staying there while Maggie and Negan continue their mission. They leave Alden with a knife to defend himself.

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AMC aired five more episodes after that but we still don’t know if Alden is still alive or not. For the uninitiated, Callan has been acting from the age of 8 and knew how to woo the viewers. Since 2011, the Aussie actor has enthralled everyone by giving stellar acting performances in projects such as ‘The Great Gatsby’, ‘I am Number Four’ and ‘Underground: The Julian Assange Story’. However, he received universal recognition for his role in ‘The Walking Dead’.

So, MEAWW sat down with Callan to discuss his character on the show and how viewers should prepare themselves for the final set of episodes.

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Alden (Callan McAuliffe) and Lauren Cohan (Maggie Greene) in 'The Walking Dead' (AMC)

 

Q) You have been a part of the industry since childhood and you have acted in a variety of projects. How’s your journey been?

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Callan: The journey has been extraordinary because I have been lucky enough to take part in a wide range of films and television projects and I’ve worked with some really wonderful people who taught me so much. So, I feel like I’m counting my lucky stars every day. It’s not like I’m pinching myself, I’ve gotten used to that now. But I feel really lucky to be living this silly lifestyle and I love what I do.

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Q) You have been a part of a massive show like ‘The Walking Dead’ since Season 8 and you’ve had some really amazing moments on the show. So, how do you and others feel about the ending of the show? Do you believe that the conclusion will provide justice to the fans?

Callan: Of course, I believe that it certainly will. These guys (writers) care so much about the material, so I think it’s in everybody’s best interest. They want everyone to enjoy what they are watching and to make these last 10 years, worth it. I fully believe that it will be a befitting end. 

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As far as the ending is concerned, I felt really sad when I got the call, but I think there’s something to be said about good things coming to an end. I feel like 10 is a boring number, it would have been obvious, but 11 is a nice place to end. I am so proud to be a part of the last season of such an extraordinary show. You know, I wasn’t there when the show started, but I am really happy that I am there when the show is ending.

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Q) Your character, Alden, is not in the comics and people are still waiting to see what would be the fate of your character after that deadly encounter with The Reapers in Episode 3. However, when we went to social media, we read all kinds of crazy theories about what will happen to your character? Did you ever go to social media and read some of these theories feeling how do they know this?

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Callan: Yes (laughs). I have read quite different ones. They are extremely varied and some of them are really funny. But there are some that were really close to the actual ending of my character, but I haven’t read them all. But some of the theories I have seen are pretty decent and I am proud of everyone. However, no one has gotten right quite yet. 

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Q) We have seen a new villain emerging in the final season of ‘TWD’. They have been terrorizing everyone. According to you, how different the reapers have been from the previous villains that we have seen on the show?

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Callan: The immediately previous ones, The Whisperers, struck me as a kind of monster. Even though they were humans, but they had such a terrifying presence that it was difficult to see them until they were humanized by some of the other characters. But these reapers, unfortunately, speak to a more common facet of the human condition. There is a darkness that we are all familiar with. We have seen enough horror movies. These guys are not just terrifying, but there’s real human intelligence and a dark competence to them that makes them even scarier than all the previous villains we had. The humanity in them is quite clear and there’s a lot to be said for the scariness of these guys. 

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Q) Any moment during the filming that you won’t be able to forget?

Callan: One of my favorite memories was back in Season 8. I was in the cage for most of the season and there was something charming about being stuck in a room with a bunch of other actors because you become such close friends. That was the time when I got to have such lovely exchanges with some of the regulars from the show. So, from the cage, as a prisoner, I got to interact with Andrew Lincoln and other stars. It was a strange reflection of my actual situation as a new cast member. At the start, you don’t fully feel a part of the family yet even though they have welcomed you in. It’s hard not to feel like things have existed so long before you. So, there I was in the cage, talking to these series regulars and it was a kind of reflection of how one can’t help but feel when they are on the show that’s already well established.

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The reason that’s so memorable is that they made me feel so welcomed even through those bars and it was such a joy. I’ll always remember those cage days.


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Q) We have been going through a lot in the last 2 years due to the pandemic. The entertainment industry has suffered a lot in these times. So, how difficult it has been for everyone to shoot during the pandemic, and what kind of changes you have seen while filming the final season?

Callan: A film set or a television set is a very tight environment with many people working closely together and you can imagine if we do take precautions while shooting then the entire set will be like a petri-dish for the virus. ‘The Walking Dead’ took care of everything. I am really terrified to learn how much money was spent on virus prevention. They have been extremely diligent and constant e-mails, constant reminders come on-set and off-set. People are wearing the appropriate PPE kits and people don’t just have masks, but they have these face shields. Everyone got vaccinated whenever they could.

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Unfortunately, the pandemic era has added one more hurdle for lower-budget productions. I did a film in October 2020, which had a low budget and we needed to have every safety option as well. It is really expensive, but they care so much about the art that they are willing to do anything and make sure that it’s safe for everyone.

Q) Who inspired you to take up acting?

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Callan: It all happened accidentally when I was a kid. But if I have to pick someone then it would probably be Johnny Depp in ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’. He always has a special place in my heart. Recently, Joel Edgerton has also been an idol for me with the types of roles that he has been taking. There’s no shortage of inspirations in the industry.

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Q) Can you give us some kind of spoilers for the upcoming episodes?

Callan: I can’t give away anything because they’ll fire me (laughs). I can just say that for the upcoming episodes, fans would just need to watch them with lights on. 

Q) Any upcoming projects that fans should be excited about?

Callan: Yes, there is a movie that I am doing and it’s called ‘The Duel’. The title might change and it will be coming out next year. Early next year. It’s really wonderful and I am really excited about it. 

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The final season of 'The Walking Dead' will return with a new set of episodes in February 2022.