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(SPOILERS) The Walking Dead Q&A — Nadia Hilker (Magna)

Nadia Hilker, who plays Magna on AMC’s The Walking Dead, talks about exploring her character’s roots and how Magna is learning to find her place within the group. 

Q: What was it like going into Season 10? Is it any different for you personally in your second year on the show?

A: It was very different. It definitely felt like after a summer break when you go back to school, but without teachers and only friends and family – seeing people who grew on you and who you bonded with. Character-wise, also, for sure. I was hoping that this season would give me a backstory for me to be able to find out more about Magna and Yumiko and the group. On both levels, for Nadia and for Magna, it was very exciting for me to come back.

Q: Have you noticed any changes in your character since we first met her last season? 

A: It’s just been Magna and her group on the road by themselves. It’s been such a major change – now [she’s] with way more people than just [her] group. Different circumstances and that bring out new sides of people. I learned a lot about my own group that I couldn’t have learned in the circumstances that we were in. In my opinion, Magna has a hard time in community. She feels safer on the road with her people. I think she’s still struggling to find her place… Unlike Yumiko, who seems to be in her element, Magna definitely doesn’t feel that way and has not found her spot yet.

Get a Look at the Final Episodes of Season 10 With the Cast and Creators:

Q: You’ve talked before about wanting to explore Magna’s backstory on the show, and knowing that her attitude had to come from somewhere. What was it like diving into that?

A: I felt like it was necessary and it was definitely a relief when I read her backstory. Magna is pretty grump at times and has a very strong energy. Sometimes, the audience and even myself and my colleagues are like, “What’s her story? What’s her deal?” It was scary because when you’re making up your own backstory, you can only hope that whatever you’re portraying is somewhat close. I was very relieved. I loved the fact that she killed out of justice. I didn’t like the fact that she killed, but she wasn’t just some crazy woman. She had her reasoning for that.

Q: Magna and Yumiko have been an undeniable pair since we met them. How did you enjoy exploring the rifts in their dynamic? What was it like playing with Eleanor Matsuura to shake it up?

A: There were definitely a lot of moments where we both didn’t know how we felt about each other as characters. It was confusing and passionate and emotional. I am very lucky I got to explore all of that with Eleanor because I trust her. That made it much easier. We always had each other’s backs. She’s someone I love being around.

Q: From your character’s perspective, what is it like for Magna to be trapped in such a dire situation, given that she and Yumiko last parted on such bad terms?

A: That was the worst thing to happen to Magna. I relate to that because my mother always told my brother, our father and I to never leave the house without saying goodbye properly – especially after a fight. We always had to say “I love you” and kiss goodbye. You never know when or if you’re going to return. Magna felt betrayed and was very upset with Yumiko, but still… the idea of never seeing her again or not getting closure – that made her very restless down there. She didn’t even want to think that that could be a possibility. It was also the fact that Connie and Kelly were down there.

Go Inside Alpha’s Caves:

Q: Can you share some behind-the-scenes bits from filming this Season 10 Mid-Season premiere? Poor Jerry!

A: [Laughs] Oh my God. He was my favorite part of the episode. It was the most intense of all the episodes I’ve done on the show. The stage design was mind-blowing. We were shooting in there the entire episode. It was mainly dark and that definitely did something to us. We all kind of lost it. You know when you’re up too late and there’s no daylight? We were all being very, very silly. It was a really fun dynamic, but very intense. We were all happy when it was over. It was a dream come true, paired with a fun nightmare!

Read an interview with Eleanor Matsuura,who plays Yumiko.

Stream episodes of The Walking Dead Season 10 now on amc.com and the AMC apps.

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