While The Walking Dead fans are still reeling from Beth's brutal death in Sunday's midseason finale, AMC is making big moves on the TWD spinoff series. Actor Cliff Curtis — best known to TV viewers for his roles in Trauma, Gang Related, and Missing — has been cast as Sean Cabrera, the character who will act as the companion series' version of TWD leader Rick Grimes.
New Zealand native Curtis, 46, also has an eclectic movie résumé, including Three Kings, Bringing Out the Dead, The Insider, Training Day, Whale Rider, Live Free or Die Hard, Push, The Last Airbender, and Blow, in which he played Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar.
The spinoff series, which will be set in the same postapocalyptic world Rick Grimes and friends are maneuvering through, albeit in a different location, has no official title yet, but The Hollywood Reporter and Deadline report that Curtis's Sean is a divorced teacher who is "a good man trying to do right by everyone in his life."
AMC will not confirm character or storyline details (or the show's working title, Cobalt), but The Hollywood Reporter reports that Sean has a son with his ex-wife, Andrea, and that his female counterpart in the series is a character named Nancy Tomkins, a guidance counselor at the school where Sean was a teacher.
The Nancy role has not yet been cast, but her children have: British actor Frank Dillane (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and In the Heart of the Sea) will play Nick, who has dealt with drug problems, and Australian actress Alycia Debnam Carey will play Ashley, described as Nancy's "ambitious" daughter. Carey also had a role in Galyntine, the Greg Nicotero-directed sci-fi drama pilot that AMC passed on earlier this year.
TVLine.com reported in September that the Cobalt cast will also include Sean's son Cody, a rebel "known as the angriest kid in town," and a 40-something "somewhat wilted flower child" named Andrea Chapman, who is still reeling from a bad marriage (and who sounds a little like a mash-up of TWD characters Carol and Andrea).
Other speculation about the spinoff includes the suggestion that the story will be set in the early days of the apocalypse, before walkers overran the world.
Does that mean there's a chance Sean's group and Rick's group could meet up eventually?
The companion series pilot, co-written and executive produced by TWD universe creator Robert Kirkman and former Sons of Anarchy (and current Marco Polo) producer Dave Erickson, will also count TWD executive producers Gale Anne Hurd and David Alpert as executive producers, with Erickson as the showrunner.