‘The Walking Dead’ regular cast swells to 20 with four promotions

(top left, clockwise) Xander Berkeley (Gregory), Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Negan), Tom Payne (Jesus) and Austin Amelio (Dwight) CREDIT: AMC

(top left, clockwise) Xander Berkeley (Gregory), Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Negan), Tom Payne (Jesus) and Austin Amelio (Dwight) CREDIT: AMC

By RODNEY HO/ rho@ajc.com, originally filed Friday, July 8, 2016

The Hollywood Reporter said four of last season’s recurring characters have been officially promoted to “regular” status on “The Walking Dead.”

Of course, Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Rick’s nemesis Negan) is one of them. The others are Austin Amelio (his embittered, burned Savior buddy Dwight), Xander Berkeley (the annoying Hilltop leader Gregory) and Tom Payne (Rick ally Jesus from the Hilltop).

The current total is 20, the most ever on a show already over-stuffed with characters.

In most shows, when you are a “regular,” that means you will appear in all the episodes – or nearly all of them. “Recurring” means you’re only in a handful of shows.

But “The Walking Dead” is not a regular show, per se. Even the “regulars” don’t appear in every episode. So the difference between “recurring” and “regular” is a bit blurred to the viewer, though it probably means more contractually.

And the reality is anybody can be killed at any time – recurring or regular.

Of course, The Hollywood Reporter count  of 20 includes the person who Negan killed off at the end of last season. So the cast will quickly drop to 19 within the first seconds of season seven this fall.

Plus, the show likes to bring in new characters all the time so that number is perpetually shifting.

“The Walking Dead” is keeping secret which one of the 11 regular cast members were killed off. And so far, the show has successfully hidden the reveal from the public. The show even shot scenes in which each character dies just to throw off the crew.

You have to feel for the poor actor whose character has been killed off. Is “The Walking Dead” compensating them to make up for the fact they can’t really find other regular work until October?  Do they have to stay out of the public spotlight? Do they have to stay in Atlanta? What if they are seen spending inordinate amounts of time outside of Atlanta and TMZ catches them?

The other 16 regulars in general order of tenure: Andrew Lincoln (Rick), Lennie James (Morgan), Norman Reedus (Daryl), Steven Yeun (Glenn), Chandler Riggs (Carl), Melissa McBride (Carol), Lauren Cohan (Maggie), Danai Gurira (Michonne),  Sonequa Martin-Green (Sasha),   Alanna Masterson (Tara), Michael Cudlitz (Abraham),  Christian Serratos (Rosita), Josh McDermitt (Eugene), Seth Gilliam (Father Gabriel), Ross Marquand (Aaron) and Austin Nichols (Spencer).

The plethora of regular and recurring characters over the years has been a boon to the Walker Stalker conventions across the country. The organizers have so many people to choose from and actors can pocket bonus cash long after they’ve left the show. The October 28-30 Walker Stalker convention at the Georgia World Congress Center, as of today, has booked 11 of the 20 current regular cast members: James, Reedus, Riggs, Cudlitz, McDermitt, Gilliam, Marquand, Nichols, Martin-Green, Masterson and Serratos.

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