Looking back at their time on the series, the actor says they "made out like a bandit on the show."
"The Walking Dead" veered further away from its source material on Sunday night, in a shocking episode that ended with one character dead and a presumed good guy on Team Whisperer.
Avi Nash's Siddiq was killed by Dante, after discovering the man he believed to be his friend and assistant was actually a spy for Alpha -- and one of the people who held him down as she slaughtered his friends in front of him. It was a brutal death, as the infiltrator choked Siddiq until he let out his last breath.
While Nash's time is up on the show, he was "excited by the story" showrunner Angela Kang laid out for him when she revealed his fate. Though "bittersweet," the actor told TooFab he believes "the character is not better than the story" and he thinks Siddiq's death will really propel things forward.
The episode was directed by Michael Cudlitz, who got quite the memorable death himself when Negan bashed Abraham's head in. Keep reading to see what Nash told us about having the show alum around for his own sendoff, which scene was actually the last one he filmed and what he thinks about those fans who really wanted to see Siddiq and Dante hook up.
Sad, sad, news. We just finished watching the episode -- sad to see you go!
That's okay, man! Hopefully there's some good storytelling in there. That's all that matters.
It was a very powerful episode overall. When did you first learn about Siddiq's fate and this big Dante twist?
Angela Kang is a very gracious leader. She let me know when I was getting my clues as to what was going to happen. She said, "Unfortunately this is when 'The Walking Dead' title comes to truth." For me, it was bittersweet to know that this was going to be your final season on the show, but I was so excited by the story that she was trying to tell that ultimately, I was like, "Wow. He's going to go through PTSD, and he's dealing with survivor's guilt, and a new child," and all these meaty, complicated plots to sink my teeth into, that the fact he was going to die was sort of the least of my work.
And I always try and remember that the character is not bigger than the story. And so long as the character serves the story in the best way, then that's what's most important. It is an integral part of the season -- not just the first half of the season, but the season at large -- and the story that "The Walking Dead" is trying to tell. For me to have been part of the storytelling in such an important way from the moment that he comes into the show ... You've got Season 8, and what he's dealing with when Carl passes away, and trying to influence Rick to have mercy. And in Season 9, with Michonne and trying to bring the community back together, and in Season 10 when his death comes as a real truth of the war that's going on with the Whisperers. I made out like a bandit on the show, and I'm very grateful to Angela and Scott and all the writers for that.
Having read all the comics, they did a great job of making Siddiq's role bigger than it was in the source material. You really have been heavily involved.
Absolutely, I mean, this is an ensemble show, and it's a great show, and I've done great stuff on it. Hopefully the acting is okay!
The acting's excellent! Now when you go in to film your death scene, what do you do to prepare for it? And what's it like when you watch it back, have you seen it?
No, man, I refrain from watching. It's too scary for me. The preparation, I mean, this season we've filmed so much out of order that one day you're dead, and the next you're on the windmill with a baby. Stuff was flying all over the place. For me, the preparation was really just being present with the other actors. That meant working really intimately with Juan, a great addition to the show and a very, very committed and strong actor. And the death scene was a little bit of a dance, you know. We wanted that fight to come across very viscerally and very brutally. He had the bruises on his arm to prove it, and I had a sore jaw for a week from being choked out.
So what was your final scene? And what was it like when they called wrap on you?
The last scene I filmed in "The Walking Dead" universe was the scene in the episode where Rosita and Siddiq are in bed, and kind of the "What if?" scene. What if when they had gotten together, it had lasted, if they had both been ready for a relationship or whatever it might have been. For me, also, it was what if this isn't my last scene? What if I get to come back to work tomorrow? It was a very emotional day. Sometimes actors are lazy pieces of shit. They wanna just move on to the next scene. We all get like that. And for that scene, I didn't want to move on at all. I was hoping that every take, Cudlitz was going to be like, "Oh, we didn't get it! We gotta go again, you're doing some shitty acting, we need coverage from behind your head," because I didn't want it to end. And to have my final scene to be with Christian, who's become one of my very dear friends, you know, you just can't ask for better.
How was it being directed by someone who was also killed off the show?
I mean, he knew what I was going through, intimately! That guy is a gem of a man, and he is so talented. I mean, he's a polymath. You don't get to be an actor and a director, and be good at both. But he is. He's great at both. So for me, I knew that Siddiq was all over this episode and his journey -- not just in the season, but in this episode in particular -- needed the buildup from discovering that the water was the problem, to his own personal flashbacks, to the shame of what he thinks he's gone through. Siddiq believes that when [Alpha] lined them all up, he froze and watched them all die, and he couldn't do anything about it.
In fact, he recognizes at the end of the episode when he sees Dante, that he was held down and forced to watch. He didn't freeze. He wanted to fight back. And so, the tragedy of that is that he has this great shame that he's carried with him since the bar. He thinks he froze, and was stuck watching his loved ones die.
To answer your question, I could relinquish a lot of the control that sometimes, when you're scared, you try and put over your acting and kind of view what that journey of the character was, all the nuance and the complexity, and the varying levels of shame and the volume, and he could control the volume. That's a great gift to have, as an actor, because you can really do good work. And I haven't seen the episode yet, but God, I hope it's good work.
It is. Did you know there's a lot of people who wanted Siddiq and Dante to become a couple? I think they'll be shocked.
Yeah, you know what's interesting about that, there is in the language that Dante uses, a lot of homoerotic tension. There's something a little bit off there. And I think there's something really beautiful about the fact that Dante, who knows he's a spy this whole time, is not necessarily falling for Siddiq but he might be, I don't know. Maybe Dante does have strong romantic feelings toward Siddiq. But he definitely is building strong friendship feelings for Siddiq. That's for sure the case.
In that final moment, not only is there a tragedy from Siddiq's point of view, that this person that he's developing a really strong friendship with ends up being a spy and the Whisperer that held him down. But from Dante's point of view, it's also a tragedy. He is one way or another, I'm not sure which, falling for Siddiq. He does feel very close to him and he doesn't know he has to be reporting to Alpha what's going on, he might have to be causing chaos in Alexandria. I don't think he ultimately wants to have to kill Siddiq. And he does. And the way he sort of chokes him out and holds him into his chest, there's something very tender about that moment as well. And look, that is great storytelling.
Any final message to the fans out there who have been supporting the show and especially Siddiq?
I hope that they see that his time wasn't cut short prematurely on the show but that his character ... I hope they can let him stand shoulder to shoulder with some of the other characters that have left the show. You know, Glenn, Abraham, Sasha, all these people have come and gone. But they've left legacies on the show because their characters brought something new, perspective, and helped tell the story with a lot of compassion. So I hope they let Siddiq rest alongside some of those greats. And I want to thank them because I cannot put into words how incredible it is that this show has continued to influence and touch people around the world for a decade now. To be a part of something like that, for me, has been special and I will carry it with me forever forward.
"The Walking Dead" airs Sundays on AMC.