UPDATE: During the 2014 Comic-Con panel on July 25, it was confirmed that Seth Gilliam is joining the show as a TV version of Father Gabriel Stokes. We all called this one!
Father Gabriel Stokes, is that you?
The Walking Dead Season 5 officially started filming today (May 5), and Deadline helpfully provided intel on a new series regular: Another former star of The Wire, Seth Gilliam, was cast as a character now being called "Michael Todd," but that is apparently not the guy's real name.
The character is described as "having two sides, displaying a friendly, puckish humor but also having a haunted side stemming from a dark secret."
Even Deadline thinks they might be trying to avoid saying he's a TV version of Gabriel Stokes, from the comics. If he isn't a Gabriel remix, well, we'll have to figure out what he's doing later, when more information is shared. But we have been waiting for Gabriel to arrive, since this is exactly the right time for him in the comic book storyline.
In the books, Gabriel is a preacher whom Rick's group comes across on the road to Washington, D.C. We've been wondering if the TV version of Gabriel might've been the one to kidnap Beth Greene in Season 4. Maybe he was staying in that funeral home, and drove the car with the cross?
The TV show likes to change comic book characters sometimes (Bob Stookey of TV is almost nothing like the Bob of the graphic novels) but sometimes they play it pretty close (like Abraham and company).
In the books, Gabriel is an African-American preacher around his late 30s, which would fit with Seth, if they follow that. Also, the haunting from a dark secret could be tied to Gabriel saving himself at the expense of his parishioneers when he locked the church doors and allowed his people to be killed by walkers.
Seth, 45, played detective Ellis Carver on The Wire, but he's also known from Oz, Starship Troopers, Courage Under Fire, Nurse Jackie, CSI: Miami and Teen Wolf.
Are you excited to see him on the show? Do you think he's our Gabriel, or are The Powers That Be leading us astray?
The Walking Dead Season 5 premieres in October on AMC.