Getting a job on The Walking Dead is definitely a reason for an actor to celebrate, but it's not at all a reason to assume the job will be anything resembling permanent. The AMC drama has a penchant for taking out major characters with the quickness, which Chad L. Coleman learned in the Season 5 mid-year premiere when his fan favorite character Tyreese died of a walker bite. It's been almost two years since that episode aired, meaning it's been longer since Coleman was on the set, and the actor shared what he misses most about working on The Walking Dead.
The interaction with the cast and crew and the production team. It's like being on a great basketball team where everyone's so passionate about what we do and we're all smart and funny. So whatever's going on in the real world, you have a bunch of folks that are opinionated about it with a wicked sense of humor. They're extraordinary people. Just being around them and being able to create with them, that's what I miss most.
The way Chad L. Coleman is talking, it sounds like arriving on The Walking Dead's Georgia-set production is akin to showing up for summer camp. (They play basketball at some summer camps, so it fits.) His description is full of words like "funny" and "humor," which don't automatically come to mind when thinking about the show's scenes come together. I mean, Tyreese's death episode was particularly brutal, since it brought back other dead characters (and thus former actors) for Tyreese to hallucinate as he's on his way to death's door.
I suppose one has to put a lot of energy into being funny and upbeat when filming isn't happening, to combat all the dark and dour emotions that have been scripted for the characters to imbue. It's like they'd have to keep a stand-up comedian around to pepper everybody up between takes. Otherwise, it's just wide-eyed shock and dismay all day, all night.
It makes a ton of sense that Coleman, as well as other Walking Dead stars that were killed off, feel such things about working on the show. It has one of the biggest ensemble casts ever, with not only a ton of regulars, but also supporting actors and extras. And that's not even taking the crew into account. There is no shortage of intelligent and talented people to share stories with and learn from, which is sometimes the best part of any job.
In his interview with Blastr, Chad L. Coleman said he definitely still talks to several other actors from the show, both those who are still around, such as Norman Reedus and Andrew Lincoln, and those that aren't, like Lawrence Gilliard, one of Coleman's former co-stars on The Wire. And though he misses everyone, he clearly doesn't have any resentment towards Robert Kirkman or showrunner Scott Gimple, as he still talks to them both. He even went on to call his death episode, "What Happened and What's Going On," one of the series' top five installments, along with "The Grove." You know, the one where Carol took Lizzie and Mika to Disney World. (That is definitely not what happened in that episode.)
Coleman has definitely kept busy in the years since he left The Walking Dead. He is a regular in Syfy's wildly good space drama The Expanse, he had a big role in the first half of Arrow's current season as a villain, and he's one of the adult stars of Hulu's recent horror Freakish, which has a cast made up mostly of social media entertainers. Our fingers are always crossed that a flashback or dream sequence brings Tyreese back to The Walking Dead, but we're not holding our breath.