There are just seven episodes remaining in Season 4 of "The Walking Dead" (including this week's "Inmates"). And with so many questions still unanswered about the characters we already know and love — Is Judith really dead? Who was feeding rats to the walkers? Where's Carol? Who were those voices on the car radio? — when are viewers going to be introduced to Abraham Ford, the comic book favorite who will be played by "Southland" alum Michael Cudlitz? And his friends, Eugene and Rosita?
The answer: soon. And the answer comes courtesy of two authorities on the matter: "TWD" creator Robert Kirkman, and Cudlitz himself.
"People excited for the introduction of these characters won't have to wait very long," Kirkman told Entertainment Weekly. "I don't want to reveal exactly when they'll be introduced, but it won't be too terribly late in the season, so get your hopes up."
And earlier this week, Cudlitz tweeted, "Stick to the mission … #AbrahamsArmy … En'route."
Stick to the mission ........ #AbrahamsArmy ...... En'route.— Michael Cudlitz (@Cudlitz) February 12, 2014
The "Army" reference, for "TWD" TV series fans who haven't delved into the comics, is about Abraham's pre-apocalypse life, when he was a sergeant in the U.S. Army. In the walker-filled world, Abraham lost his ex-wife and two children to zombies, and showed himself to be capable of some truly brutal acts of violence. He isn't totally at peace with some of the things he's done to survive, but he is, as Daryl would say, one tough summnab---h.
After losing his family, Abraham met up with Dr. Eugene Porter (played by "Retired at 35" star Josh McDermitt) and Rosita Espinosa (played by Christian Serratos of the "Twilight" franchise), who became his companions.
Eugene, in the comics, insists he knows the reason for the zombie outbreak, and Rosita and Abraham become a couple. Also in the comic series, Abraham and his friends meet Rick Grimes and his friends at Hershel's farm, so we know that will be a major difference on the show.
But Kirkman hinted that, unlike the TV version of Bob, another new Season 4 character who's a completely different age and race from his comic book origins, the TV versions of Abraham and friends will have a lot in common with the graphic novels version of the characters.
"[They] are going to be extremely similar to who they were in the comics, and I'm really excited about that," the "Walking Dead" daddy told EW. "The visuals and costuming for them has been absolutely amazing. These people really do look like they were torn out of the comic page."
Kirkman also told The Hollywood Reporter that Abraham, Eugene, and Rosita will be catalysts for a major change in the rest of the season that follows their arrival.
"[They] enter into the series with a mission," Kirkman said. "[They] change the stories that we tell because of that … these three characters more than any other characters are going to change the kind of stories that we tell and change the narrative drive of the series. There's going to be some big changes afoot mainly because of these characters."
"The Walking Dead" airs Sunday at 9 p.m. on AMC.
Cudlitz takes "The Yo Show" on a behind-the-scenes tour "Southland":