‘Fear The Walking Dead’ Series Finale: Colman Domingo On Victor Strand’s Journey, Spinoffs & Finding The Right Way To Say Goodbye
“At first it was written to be very, flowery and beautiful and wonderful hugs and loving,” reveals Colman Domingo of the final partings in tonight’s Fear the Walking Dead series finale. “That’s just not the truth of our characters,” the Emmy-winning actor adds of why that was not the ending viewers saw with his often devious Victor Strand, Kim Dickens’ Madison Clark or Rubén Blades’ Daniel Salazar.
“We were very strong, very strong-willed characters, and we should end in a very complex way.”
After eight seasons, a real-life global pandemic that made the TWD spinoff seem almost documentary in tone, and a vast expansion of the zombie apocalypse universe on AMC, the Robert Kirkman and Dave Erickson-created series certainly concluded in a very emotionally complex way Sunday. After final reckoning with Troy, his gang and a herd of boat-arriving Walkers, the “Fighting Like You” and “The Road Ahead” find the core cast of Domingo, Dickens, Blades’ characters, plus Madison’s avenging daughter Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey), the scarred Dwight (Austin Amelio), June (Jennifer Elfman) and Luciana (Danay García) go their separate ways – with some not sure if the others are even alive or mere myths now.
In many ways, it is a return to where it all began, literally and figuratively.
In other ways, maybe more so for Domingo who had the civil rights icon biopic Rustin launch on Netflix on November 17, it is one path opening as several others present themselves. As Dickens’ Madison says of her intent to return to Los Angeles to Alicia and now adopted gun-firing granddaughter Tracy (Antonella Rose ): ”It’s never going to be what be what it was, but doesn’t mean we can’t start over.”
As Domingo made clear in our chat, where we touched on the finale, how he got there and what could be next and that starting over and finding of true voice is what it’s all about.
DEADLINE: There is a great bookending, a coming full circle in the Fear series finale, Madison and Victor separately with their own crews thinking about going back to the West Coast, to LA. What has that literal and figurative journey been like for you?
DOMINGO: I love the way Victor has finished his journey, which is a bit more hopeful, and I think peaceful. I think especially after like becoming the Uber bad villain in Season 7, I thought where can we go? Where can we go in the end? First of all, I asked the producers: Can we can we find love? He needs something to live for. And I think that’s been Victor’s problem the whole time. He’s had nobody, you know? So I feel like I wanted to end with that.
DEADLINE: It is a very quiet end, with Madison, Alicia and Tracy off to the side unbeknownst to everyone…
DOMINGO: Yes, it’s about leaving. Putting Madison and Alicia and Tracy in his rear-view Tracy, like really in the rear-view. Okay, that’s one journey. Now it’s time for the next. That’s even in the writing. I was specific when the team said where’s he going I said no. No one needs to know that, because we can just go off into the unknown. That’s the beautiful part of it. Let them go off somewhere and let them rebuild, and remake and again.
DEADLINE: You know that has spinoff written all over it, in giant neon lights, right?
DOMINGO: (LAUGHS) It could. It all depends.
DEADLINE: How do you mean?
DOMINGO: I feel like if the writing is good, maybe, But, it has to be something that is going to challenge me.
DEADLINE: What would that be?
DOMINGO: Coming on Fear the Walking Dead, remember this was something I’d never done before. I’d never done a genre show like that. It challenged me in every way with visible work and character work and all that stuff. I’ve done so much with the Victor Strand for eight seasons, to do more, it has to be ‘we got to one-up it in some way.’ Like put me on the moon or I don’t know or you know put me in a different country, different circumstances, if I were to do it again. But, now, I feel very happy that that’s this is the end of the journey together.
DEADLINE: You noted how you had never done anything like Fear the Walking Dead before you were cast. In fact, I think you were just coming off-Broadway and The Scottsboro Boys before Fear, which was so different. Now you have Rustin, your first time as the lead, you had the Emmy win for Euphoria. So what has this zombie apocalypse journey been like for Colman Domingo?
DOMINIGO: Fear the Walking Dead kept me in this business. I was actually going to leave the business. I’m dead ass serious.
DOMINGO: I was performing the Scottsboro Boys and I thought that that was the greatest I can do in the theater. Because I came back, and I was getting these bullshit auditions for these roles that I felt like were demeaning or things that didn’t have purpose. So, I thought, I think I’ve done was supposed to do, I’ll do something else.
DEADLINE: What happened?
DOMINGO: Then I changed agencies for I thought it was going be like six months, and my new managers and Fear was the first audition. I actually I booked this and I booked The Get Down on the same day, and I had to make a choice. It’s funny, one was shooting in New York and Fear wasn’t, but I thought, I’ve never done anything like this. Let me see what doors it opens
I owe so much to Fear the Walking Dead because it gave me something where I felt like it was purposeful. It was really looking at our humanity. It took me around the world, whether it’s shooting or doing publicity and promotion, and it really was the gift that kept on giving you know. I really owe a lot to Fear the Walking Dead and AMC. I really value them as partners and friends. It really gave me a lot.
DEADLINE: Interesting you say that now, because watching these last episodes, especially the two-episode finale, it felt like you, Kim, Rubén and others – that these were your voices in the characters, really coming through…
DOMINGO: Because they were. We got into the rewrites. We had to make it feel like ‘what is the end of our journey?’ Between myself, Kim Dickens Rubén Blades, we were in on these scripts. We’re like ‘no, we have to make sense for our characters,’
People can say whatever they want about any show going on eight seasons, it has ups and downs, ups and downs. Sometimes you’re like, I don’t know what we’re making anymore. But, at some point, I want to make sure I’m responsible for Victor’s ending. Kim and Rubén felt the same. We wanted to make sure that like we don’t have just clean clear-cut endings and beautiful moments. Kim Dickens and I’s ending is really fractured. Rubén Blades and I, at the end, we’re like we just sort of like we see each other. Okay. Be well. Keep going. At first, it was written to be very, flowery and beautiful and wonderful hugs and loving. That’s just not the truth of our characters. We were very strong, very strong-willed characters, and we should end in a very complex way.
DEADLINE: You mention that scene with Victor and Daniel at the end, a benign face-off, and an acknowledgement at the same time. Also, at the same time, a very theatrical scene, by which I mean the way the two of you played it…
DOMINGO: We rewrote, we were very much involved. We worked over that scene with the writers like 10 times. It’s still not right, it’s still not right. Victor fells like he’s changed in his arc, but Daniel’s still holding on to an old idea of him. So, it’s like, cool. That’s where it’s going to have to be, and we just wanted to do it just like that. Just standing. Just looking at each other, being very simple and walking away from each other.
DEADLINE: In terms of walking away, fans never want a show to end. Spinoff or no spinoff, over eight seasons what has that relationship with the Fear fans been like?
DOMINGO: Aww, that’s it, isn’t it? Yeah, man, I wanted to say to the fans, thank you so much for being on the journey with us. The attempt was to make some really compelling, interesting characters and story about world-building, about examining who you are when the shit hits the fan. We’ve had these moments to explore that, especially with the pandemic, so thank you. It was quite the ride.