In the wake of a pilot order for the long-discussed Walking Dead companion series, TV Line has released some early info on the most crucial part of the show, besides the occasional zombie: the main characters, whose personalities make it all the easier to root for them to be eaten. And as the casting breakdown reveals, this maybe-sort-of-prequel may take place in another stretch of the Walking Dead world, but people are basically the same all over. They’re parents struggling to take care of their petulant kids. They’re petulant kids who make it difficult for their struggling parents. They’re people with an “edge.” They’re people named “Andrea.” Let’s meet them.
SEAN CABRERA | A Latino male in his early 40s, Sean is a good man trying to do right by everyone in his life.
The Walking Dead’s huge Hispanic fanbase will at last have a character to call its own, besides that one guy from the first season no one remembers. Sean’s attempts to “do right by everyone”—such as not pushing them into the nearest zombie maw—will no doubt be complicated by
CODY CABRERA | Sean’s whip-smart and rebellious teenage son. Known as the angriest kid in town.
“Here comes Cody, The Angriest Kid In Town,” the locals whisper, as the younger Cabrera saunters down the thoroughfare, solving geometric proofs and punching babies. Cody’s bad attitude and failure to live up to the potential of his whip-smarts should provide endless opportunity for fatherly discussion about whether that’s helping, now that everyone has to rely on each other. Still, perhaps he just needs a mother figure, in which case maybe he can turn to
NANCY TOMPKINS | A thirtysomething single mom to two kids, Nancy looks like the girl next door, but there’s an edge to her.
Fulfilling the requisite “single mother” role so crucial to any apocalypse drama, Nancy attracts many a zombie with her wholesome, girl-next-door looks, as they secretly fantasize about eating that girl next door. However, they’ll be surprised to learn that she has an “edge”—like maybe she carries a switchblade and listens to the Stray Cats. Or maybe she’s just really short-tempered, after years of dealing with her kids and their respective housing quandaries:
NICK TOMPKINS | Nancy’s screwed up teenage son. He’s too old to stay home, too scared to flee.
ASHLEY TOMPKINS | Nancy’s mostly level-headed teenage daughter. Her ambition is in direct proportion to her older brother’s failures. She loves her mom but it’s time to get out of Dodge.
Yes, it seems The Walking Dead: The College Years will have triple the adolescent angst, as Cody, Nick, and Ashley try to figure out their lives, all while dealing with the peer pressure to become a zombie. (It’s a metaphor!) But while the companion series seems to be skewing younger—possibly in keeping with its being a prequel set during the early days of the epidemic, when people still had “ambition” beyond not dying—at least it will have the familiar presence of an Andrea who sounds unlikable:
ANDREA CHAPMAN | A somewhat wilted flower child, fortysomething Andrea — yep, another Andrea! — has retreated to the outskirts of the city to recover after a horrible marriage.
Indeed, this fortysomething woman from the free love, Flower Power era of the mid-1980s may soon require you to specify which Andrea from Walking Dead you found annoying. Of course, none of this has been officially confirmed by AMC yet, so there’s still time for these characters to change or for new ones to join. There’s currently no crusty old man who acts as the nagging voice of moral authority, for example. And without that, a Walking Dead spinoff would just seem cheap and unnecessary.