UPDATE: It was confirmed at Comic-Con that Seth Gilliam is indeed joining Season 5 as Father Gabriel.
How much trouble could a priest really cause? (Don’t answer that.)
The Walking Dead Season 5 is adding a bunch of new characters, including at least one potentially from the comic books written by Robert Kirkman. Actor Seth Gilliam has been revealed to be a new series regular, and even though no one has officially introduced him as Father Gabriel Stokes — a priest in the comics — that seems to be the character he’s playing. After all, Seth was seen on set, dressed as a priest, so…
The Hollywood Reporter just had a nice chat with Robert Kirkman and they asked him some pretty candid, spoiler-aware questions. Here’s one: “Seth Gilliam has joined the cast and, judging from photos from the set, it seems like he's playing Father Gabriel. What does he really bring to the cast?” Boom!
RK replied, “Every season we try to bring in new characters that add something in their own way to the cast, much in the way that Abraham (Michael Cudlitz), Eugene (Josh McDermitt) and Rosita (Christian Serratos) brought a new narrative and more character dynamics to the show. Seth Gilliam's character -- whoever it may be -- brings a lot of conflict and really cool character traits to the mix.”
Conflict! Cool character traits! Even if Seth is playing a TV version of Father Gabriel, he’ll be different from the books, partly because the TV show is now packed with people who were not in the comic book story at this point. One of those non-book people is Beth Greene (Emily Kinney), and a running theory connects Beth’s storyline to Father Gabriel/Seth. What’s the conflict, though?
Seth’s character was introduced in the initial casting report as “Michael Todd,” but it was acknowledged then that that was not his real name. The character was described as "having two sides, displaying a friendly, puckish humor but also having a haunted side stemming from a dark secret."
So we’ll have to see what they do with the character, whether he’s called Father Gabriel or not. Any theories on the conflict he brings?
The Walking Dead Season 5 premieres in October on AMC.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter