The Walking Dead star Ross Marquand appears on the new episode “Ghosts” as Aaron and Negan are teaming up for the first time. The unlikely pairing on this episode turned out good for the better and it further explored Aaron’s ability to make sure that Negan does not slip up and to see if he can trust him. I got the chance to speak to Ross Marquand about the episode as we break it down in this exclusive interview!
This is the first time that you and Jeffery Dean Morgan had extended scenes on an episode with eachother. How did it feel for both of you to team up in this episode?
Ross: “I love it. I don’t want to speak for Jeffrey, but I thought it was fantastic because this is the first time as you said that these two characters get a chance to really go toe to toe since the lineup or when Glenn and Abraham were killed. I think a lot of our audience members are gonna be happy to see this because they were hoping for an interaction like this for all of the characters who were in the lineup. Everyone who witnessed this horrific death wish they could have a moment with Jeffrey where they could say ‘hey Negan, you’ve done something absolutely unforgivable and I was trying my damnedest to forgive you. But what what can you do to prove to me that you’re not the same person’. I don’t think that Aaron is convinced that he is the same or has changed rather. I think he is very much convinced that this is the same person that he saw in the clearing all those years ago and it’s a moment of extreme emotional purging where Aaron feels like ‘you have never really fully answered for what you’ve done and this is my opportunity to to relate to you and tell you how much what your actions meant to me and the rest of the group'”.
Do you have any funny stories working with Jeffrey Dean Morgan on this episode?
Ross: “I mean, it was pretty tense. He was he was such a great sport. I felt bad when I kept tripping him and knocking him down because you never want to hurt anybody. But there were a few takes where I really laid into him with a leg and I thought I’d actually hurt him reaally bad. But he would pop up and be like “Nah man, i’m fine! It’s all good. Don’t worry you use it use it”. So he was he was a of sport and we tried to keep it pretty simple and pretty quiet for that because it was such a tense scene that we didn’t want to mess with that but yeah, I really feel like he just brings such a incredible characterisation of Negan to the screen. I mean he is really good at blending that like kind of controlled, smarmy, charm with this absolutely lethal stare. And it’s uncomfortable to act with because he’s channeling this diabolical character so well and he does a phenomenal job with it and I love working with him”.
Who came up with the idea for Aaron to have a mace on his prosthetic arm and were any other weapon choices avaliable if the mace was not a choice?
Ross: “Well I don’t know for certain if it was my idea or the writers, but I was in several interviews last year with different outlets and they asked me the same question: “if you would have any different attachments for your arm what would it be?”. And I just joke and said “I got to be really cool to have like a mace on a chain like a cat of nine tails sort of thing”. And I was just joking I really didn’t think that was ever going to happen. And then this year when I had my meeting, I was informed that there was going to be a mace and I thought Oh awesome .That’s so unique and cool but that’s literally exactly what I was talking about last year. I didn’t know if word got out or it spread to the higher ranks, but I was so happy when I learned that because there is nothing more satisfying than taking off my hand and then putting on this beast of a unwieldy weapon. It’s it’s fairly heavy but it looks so cool. And I’m just so pleased with how the props department put that together”.
What is the most difficult skill you had to learn while you were one-handed?
Ross: “Scratching my back probably! (Laughs). I think it’s a trick. I mean I really had a hard time at first because all the things that you were used to doing with two hands, all of a sudden you’re having to learn with one and one of the most practical ones is just going around at lunchtime and if we have a quick turnaround it don’t always take off the arm. So just loading up all of my meal using my fake arm as a balance beam essentially from my trays and put food into my mouth. It’s a learning curve and I think it’s a wonderful challenge to have for the character and I think it’s a wonderful representation of all that he’s lost both physical and mental. Emotionally speaking from Eric, to Jesus, to Tara, every person that he’s lost is a truly felt by t this character I mean he really feels the weight of their loss. And I think losing the arm is a wonderful physical manifestation of that”.
We see that Negan has watched over Aaron all night. Do you believe that Aaron is starting to trust Negan after everything that happened the previous night into the morning?
Ross: “I think that they recognized that if Negan actually killed Aaron in that moment, Negan probably would have had to answer a lot of questions and that would’ve been a search party for Aaron and it probably would’ve ended really poorly for him. So I don’t know if it’s so much that Aaron trusts him anymore as these two men both know who they are. They’re not really convinced that the other one has much faith in the other, but they’ve got a nice understanding now and I think that’s where you can build forgiveness and that’s where you can build open communication after that. But at this point, I still don’t believe that Aaron trusts or forgives Negan one bit”.
You mentioned about losing some of the other characters such as Eric during All Out War, and Jesus at the graveyard in Season 9. Who do you think between those two affected Aaron the most?
Ross: “I think Eric. Eric was a long longstanding boyfriend and lover and they knew each other before the apocalypse even began. So they were arguably the longest running relationship the show has ever known. So it affected him greatly to lose Eric. I think the loss of Jesus was also affected. It’s affected them only because they formed such a camaraderie and they were they were they were such a tight unit. And then to lose him in such a horrific and surprising way, that affected them on a mental level so much more as opposed to Eric was more of an emotional level. Jesus was just such a huge shock to the system and it just came out of nowhere literally. And I think that that would be the distinction between the two”.
The sword that Aaron used on 10×01 while he was clearing the walkers, was it the same sword that Jesus used to own?
Ross: “It is and I think it’s sort of a ceremonial sword for him. Angela and I both discussed it and I said I don’t think that he would just retire that sword. I think he would use that sword especially in very very important battles not only as a way of honoring Jesus and everything that he taught Aaron, but also because it’s a way of connecting the past the future. I think he held a great deal of reverence and friendship for Jesus and that sword is a wonderful way of him continuing that tradition.