Why Diversity In The Walking Dead Is So Important, According To One Star

Aaron in The Walking Dead with his sniper rifle

While most TV shows have debuted their fall premiers and entered a new season, a few shows are still keeping us waiting. One of them is AMC's massively popular series The Walking Dead, which will premiere its eighth season at the end of the month. Aside from the non-stop action and horrifying character deaths, TWD is noted for its inclusive and diverse starring cast. The survivors of the apocalypse are ethnically diverse, and there are plenty of LBGTQ characters in the main storyline as well. Actor Ross Marquand plays Alexandria's Aaron, and he recently spoke to the important of the show's diversity, saying:

Someone asked when I first got on the show if there was any talk of Aaron's sexuality being changed, and I have no idea if that was ever being discussed but it would have sent a really terrible message, especially to people who were fans of the comics. I'm very grateful that AMC and Scott and Robert have done such a good job of maintaining the vision of those original comics, because I think it's a really wonderful kind of metaphor for how we can all bind together in times of real struggle and real chaos. No matter where you're from, no matter what walk of life you come from, or whatever your background, your sexual orientation, we can all come together and find goodness in each other. I think it's great.

Now isn't that sweet? Because while The Walking Dead is a consistently bleak and heartbreaking series, the flip side is a tale of survival. And with so few living people in the show's current headlines, you need to work together in order to survive. In many ways, TWD is a story of people finding each other, and leaning on one another in order to make it.

Ross Marquand's comments to Comic Book also point out just how seriously fans of The Walking Dead comic series take the TV show. The adaptation of Robert Kirkman's graphic novels has been fairly loyal, although the show has made a bevy of changes from the source material. And these changes are met with various levels of approval from the fandom, depending on how successful the show pulls it off. For instance, Andrea's death in Season 3 shocked the fans, as the character has a very long life in the comics. And Eugene's recent betrayal of the group on the show has been met with similar criticism, with actor Josh McDermitt having to quit social media after death threats.

Changing Aaron's sexuality would have no doubt been a major controversy, as he and his husband Eric are fairly popular characters in the comics. Ross Marquand is similarly beloved for his performance, although smart money says Eric might bite the bullet in the upcoming eighth season.

The Walking Dead will return for Season 8 October 22nd on AMC. In the meantime, check out our fall premiere list to plan your next binge watch.

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Double majored in theater and literature during undergrad. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid.