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(SPOILERS) The Walking Dead Q&A — Alanna Masterson (Tara)

Alanna Masterson, who plays Tara on AMC’s The Walking Dead, talks about working with unlikely allies, Rick’s surprising decision in the Season 8 Finale and what’s on the horizon. 

Q: After all of the fights and battles that made up this war, what was it like shooting the finale?

A: It was awesome. I wish I had gotten to film with everybody in the field, but I was holding down Hilltop, which was really fun. It was also nice that Oceanside showed up in the end and we all got to reunite. Tara smiles because she’s excited that they joined the fight, whether it was Aaron who got them there or a combination of the two of them. I think she was just happy that they came to aid them. They really needed help.

Q: When Hilltop is under attack, a few of the Saviors being held hostage offer to help defend the community. What’s that like for Tara to hear? 

A: If people want to help and they’re saying they want to help, she’s willing for them to try. At this point, she doesn’t have the luxury to pick and choose who gets to help. They’re under attack. When Alden says that he’s going to help, she doesn’t have the time to assess if they’ll actually do it. She just has to trust blindly and sometimes when you put blind faith in people, they rise to the occasion. She does give Dwight a chance once she realizes he saved her.

Q: Does her own history with the Governor’s group play into any of this?

A: I think it’s a little bit different because she was with the Governor for a week and she didn’t know anybody at the prison. She was convinced by the Governor of what they needed to do. The second she got there and realizes they can actually all live together, she didn’t fight or shoot a bullet. Glenn took her in, which is why she’s with the group now. Dwight, for example, has been with the Saviors for quite a long time and has done a lot of Negan’s bidding. He also shot Daryl and he killed her girlfriend. I think that’s a pretty reasonable explanation for why she had a grudge against him.

Q: Were you surprised that Rick keeps Negan alive?  How do you imagine Carl’s legacy and dying wish will continue to permeate throughout this “new world”?

A: I was definitely surprised. I thought he was going to kill him, but maybe this is the impetus to a new type of change. I feel like Rick’s decision not to kill Negan is the start. That’s what Carl was trying to leave behind – that we don’t have to live like this and we don’t have to be these kinds of people. With Rick showing a bit of restraint, maybe this is a change. Maybe the world can rebuild and it can be how Carl envisioned it in the future.

Q: What was it like for you to film at the Sanctuary with the Saviors as potential allies now?

A: Everyone is just an astounding professional on our set, whether they’re on the “good side” or “bad side.” Steven Ogg and I get along so well and so do Austin Amelio and Jeffrey [Dean Morgan] and I. No one on set really looks at anybody on any other team other than the singular team of The Walking Dead, and we just want to make the best show possible. It wasn’t different for me. It was just awesome and very exciting.

Q: What are you most looking forward to exploring in Season 9?

A: I’m excited for what’s to come in Season 9. I feel like it might be such a different equation. It might not just be war. Maybe there’s something else in store. That sounds exciting to play. Maybe instead of constantly fighting for survival, there’ll be some rebuilding and normality. I don’t know, but I’m excited to see if that could possibly happen!

Read an interview with Pollyanna McIntosh, who plays Jadis.

Watch full episodes of The Walking Dead on amc.com and AMC apps for mobile, Fire TV, Xbox One, Apple TV, Roku and Chromecast.

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