The Walking Dead’s Khary Payton, Lauren Ridloff, & Paola Lázaro

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The road to the finish line continues on The Walking Dead Season 11 Part II, premiering on February 20 on AMC.

TV Fanatic got the chance to catch up with Khary Payton (Ezekiel), Lauren Ridloff (Connie), and Paola Lázaro (Princess) about what’s ahead as the long-running drama prepares for the end.

The Walking Dead Season 11 Episode 8 wrapped with Alexandria in peril due to bad weather and an influx of walkers.

Ezekiel on Season 11 - The Walking Dead

When the show returns, things will shift considerably thanks to the increased prominence of The Commonwealth.

“It’s funny how the Commonwealth incorporates people into things,” Khary shared, adding that the characters essentially go back to the way life was pre-apocalypse.

“They negate anything that you learned in the apocalypse. They want you to kind of forget the lessons that you’ve learned in how to survive,” Khary continues.

“Ezekiel goes back to a remedial animal control job,” Payton continues, adding that it’s more of a petting zoo for the kids.

Ezekiel Returns - The Walking Dead Season 11 Episode 7

“My first thought was that they’re really missing a great deal of Ezekiel’s experience just distilling him down to a guy who works with animals, but it’s an interesting way to go, and something I wasn’t expecting.”

If you watch The Walking Dead online, you know Ezekiel’s health has been declining, and Khary says Ezekiel thinks he has limited time left and will be trying to enjoy however long he has left.

“You have to weigh the enjoying and feeling precious about the time you have, and at the same time saying you know what, everyone else’s life can go further. So maybe my life is better served giving it away, and there’s a push and pull and a tug back and forth.”

Khary shared that his father fought cancer for many years and said that it’s difficult to understand the pain, “not just physical, but emotionally and psychologically of not knowing how long you truly have.”

Ezekiel Makes a Plan - The Walking Dead Season 10 Episode 20

“With cancer, you’re going along fine, and three weeks later, it’s all over, and living with that kind of uncertainty is tiring that you just don’t understand.”

Khary said that he didn’t understand it for a lot of time.

Princess, meanwhile, has found herself immersed in the world of the Commonwealth, and after spending so much time away from civilization, Paola is ready for this new spin on things.

“The biggest thing about the Commonwealth for Princess is finally fitting into a society,” Paola teased.

Princess Has a New Look - The Walking Dead

“She finally fits into this group of people who welcomed her. She feels included. You can even see it in how she’s acting.”

“Her hair is different. She’s really trying to become part of a society, which she hasn’t been a part of for many years,” the actress continues.

Paola shared that Princess has a new job and has a positive outlook on things.

“I think she really feels like she found the place, but I think deep down, she’s still kind of sketchy about it and kind of I’m like taken back by it a little bit.”

Princess and Eugene - The Walking Dead

Would this be The Walking Dead without sketchy characters? Consider us intrigued.

As for Connie, Lauren is excited to show fans a very different side to her as she makes her way to the Commonwealth.

“It’s almost like there are moments when you have those real fond memories of very specific places and very specific experiences that you’ve had, and then when you repeat those and when you actually revisit fond memories, It’s never exactly the way you quite remember it to be, or maybe it is, but actually it’s not as significant as you thought it was.”

“So I think that this is what Connie is now experiencing. After so many years of going back to the basics, so to speak and, you know, in survival mode to then find what really is so important at the end of the day is she just has to put on her old shoes and her old uniform from before the apocalypse.”

Connie on Season 11 - The Walking Dead

“I think she actually finds out that it’s not exactly the same fit anymore. It’s a really interesting season, and I can’t wait for you to actually see what it’s like because I do feel like it parallels with what’s happening with our current living situation, you know, pre and post-pandemic,” Lauren added.

“We’re not even out of the pandemic yet, and I think what was normal in the past it’s not quite the same. Now we’re forever changed,” the star added.

Lauren also said that everything that happened during the time in the wilderness would remain with Connie for the foreseeable future.

“It’s a part of her. And I think what we will see is Connie as a stronger person, but also a little more vulnerable at times.”

Connie in Danger - The Walking Dead Season 11 Episode 8

Return to TV Fanatic for more The Walking Dead interviews ahead of the premiere.

Check out the trailer for the new episodes below.

Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.

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