Seth Gilliam’s Father Gabriel Is “Very Integral to the Future of The Walking Dead”
UPDATE: It was confirmed at Comic-Con that Seth is indeed playing TV's version of Father Gabriel, so there's no need to guess/assume anymore. Yay!
*Walking Dead spoilers ahead! Retreat immediately if you don’t like comic book spoilers*
How hilarious will it be if The Walking DeadSeason 5 premieres and Seth Gilliam shows up as a regular guy named Mike and the spoiler photos of him dressed as a priest were just to mess with fans? But that’s probably not the case. TWD is always a remix of the comic books and most of the people on screen have a counterpart in the comics, even if they are very different in looks and/or personality.
In Robert Kirkman’s comics, there’s a preacher named Gabriel Stokes who enters the picture during the child killer story (look at the flowers, kids!) and right as The Hunters/cannibals story begins. Rick Grimes and company take shelter in Gabriel’s church for a while, and Dale is kidnapped by The Hunters, then returned to the church to use as bait to draw out Rick’s group. (Glenn is also shot in the leg by The Hunters at this point, so maybe the TV show will remix both the Dale/Glenn roles.) Rick and crew ultimately exact revenge on The Hunters in a brutal massacre.
When actor Seth Gilliam was cast as a new series regular in Season 5, speculation turned to the idea that he'd be playing TV's version of Gabriel. Seth's character was described as "having two sides, displaying a friendly, puckish humor but also having a haunted side stemming from a dark secret." Wonderful. Then Seth was seen on the Season 5 set, clear as a spring morn, dressed as a priest. And we’ve seen a few church location references at this point.
In a previous interview, Robert Kirkman told The Hollywood Reporter, "Seth Gilliam's character -- whoever it may be -- brings a lot of conflict and really cool character traits to the mix."
RK refuses to confirm that Seth is playing any kind of version of Gabriel, but Entertainment Weekly tried again. They referenced the fan photos of Seth on set in a priest collar. RK said he hadn't seen the photos [cue Governor whisper: "Liar..."] but he did add this Seth tease: "He’s playing a character that’s very integral to the future of The Walking Dead. Who he is is possibly a very large hint to where the story is gonna go, if you’ve read the comic book series. So, we are playing that as close to the vest as the spy photos will allow, but all will be revealed very soon."
RK added to EW that “There’s a lot of new stuff coming,” including “a lot of new characters” — some adapted from the comic books and some brand new just for TV. “There’s going to be some big changes ahead, and it’s gonna all be cool stuff.” We’re guessing some of those big changes involve the Alexandria Safe-Zone, which is where the group (including Gabriel) ends up after The Hunters storyline, and after Eugene is revealed to be less than he appeared.
Do you think Seth is definitely Gabriel? A previous theory tied him to Beth Greene, and her disappearance, since she was abducted via a car with a cross on the back. Do you still hold that theory or are you iffy on it?
The Walking Dead Season 5 premieres in October on AMC.