With AMC's The Walking Dead having unleashed its tenth season finale "A Certain Doom" upon TWD universe, fans are left with a whole lot to process. From the return of Maggie (Lauren Cohan) along with her ass-kicking metal-masked friends to what the deal is with the trendy stormtroopers surrounding Yumiko (Eleanor Matsuura), Eugene (Josh McDermitt), Ezekiel (Khary Payton), and Princess (Paola Lázaro) to how David Byrne and Talking Heads helped save our heroes. Thankfully, EW had a chance to speak with series showrunner and EP Angela Kang for some intel on all three topics.
To say that the team was excited to have Cohan back would be a major understatement. "Lauren and I have always bonded, and Maggie is such a great character. And she's so lovely and so fun to work with. She just brings such energy and optimism and positivity to our set. So we'd been trying to work out, 'How and when can you come back?'," Kang explained.
"And so we were all really thrilled to have her back with us. It just felt like we hadn't missed a beat. And she was just right back in and she did a wonderful job. We'd had her for a little bit before that because she came and shadowed a director that season, so it was just fun having her ease in, in a different way. And she was just hanging with us for a while and going to all the meetings with the director. And then she just stepped on set and it was like no time had passed at all. So it was really great."
Without spoiling anything for those who haven't read the comics yet, let's just say that if you found that group with the paramilitary uniforms to have something in COMMON with an aspect of the comics, then you are just a WEALTH of knowledge. Kang feels the same way we do when it comes to giving too much away about our new players. "For people who are comic book readers, they'll obviously recognize the guys in the outfits, but I don't want to spoil too much for the fans going forward. We definitely have our own way into the story. I'll just say that this group does play a very important role going forward for our characters," teased Kang. "We're working on pre-production on an episode that picks up with that story and I think there's some cool stuff that comes into that. Who are these people? What are they about? We will start to learn that over time and unpeel those layers of the onion."
Finally, while we knew that Luke (Dan Fogler) had a plan that involved a mechanized "Pied Piper" that would lead Beta's (Ryan Hurst) walker horde away from our heroes, we didn't know that 1983 Talking Heads classic "Burning Down the House" would be the key to a new civilization's survival. So why that song? "There's just a lot of fans of the Talking Heads on the show," Kang explained. But unlike most songs that are written into the script, the 80s classic was a decision made late in the editing process. "I think that that was actually a choice by our editor," said Kang. "That was how it came about. It was not one of the ones that was written into the script, because sometimes we do write queues into a script, and either it has to do with the lyrics or the vibe of the music and we're trying to get something across. But, in this case, it was just like, 'Okay, they're blasting something that's loud rock music.' And the editor picked this, and then we were listening to it in the edit and we're like, 'Okay, well, this song is perfect.'"
For Kang, having the song just made sense considering the themes that were in play during the season finale "It just feels like they're in this place where they're like, 'All right, these are impossible odds. If we've got to burn down the house, let's do it. Let's go out and style.' And it felt like the right match for whatever reason," she explained. That said, apparently, the Talking Heads didn't come cheap so a passing-of-the-hate needed to happen. "The song was expensive," revealed Kang. "So there was a point where we're like, 'We might have to change the song because it's kind of pricey.' But we tried out different options and none of them ever felt right. So we were like, 'Okay, let's just scrape up the money from, we'll do this and we'll cut that.' It just feels like it's the right song. There was no deep, scripted meaning to this one. It just felt so right once it was in the cut and I love it. So I was glad we were able to put that one in."