A talk with Ross Marquand, Aaron on ‘The Walking Dead’

Ross Marquand as Aaron - The Walking Dead _ Season 6, Episode 5 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

Ross Marquand as Aaron – The Walking Dead _ Season 6, Episode 5 – Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

By RODNEY HO/ rho@ajc.com, originally filed Thursday, November 4, 2015

Actor Ross Marquand tried out twice for roles on “The Walking Dead” but didn’t get them. But a third time was the charm last season when he won the role of Aaron, a recruiter for Alexandria.

Last season, Aaron brought Rick Grimes’ crew into the walled neighborhood with the purpose to strengthen their numbers with people who knew how to survive outside.  He convinced popular character Daryl Dixon to join him on runs seeking more people.

So far, this season, we haven’t seen much of him. But Aaron will get plenty of airtime this Sunday as he grapples with the awful feeling he was responsible for the Wolves finding Alexandria and attacking them. During last season’s finale, he had fallen for the Wolves’ trap, thinking he would find supplies in a truck. Instead, he and Daryl confronted a raft of walkers and only escaped because of Morgan.

But Aaron left his backpack behind. The Wolves found his photos of Alexandria and traced them back. With Rick & Co. trying to lead the quarry walkers away from Alexandria, the Wolves ambushed the remaining Alexandrians and killed about 20 of them. (Carol and Morgan prevented many more.)

After the carnage, Aaron found his backpack on one of the dead Wolves and realized what had happened.

“Aaron is a guy who is good to a tee,” Marquand said in an interview this week, “almost to his detriment. He is the person who wants to make amends for anything and everything even if it means putting him in danger. That’s the guilt.”

Without getting into details about what happens Sunday, Aaron tries to alleviate his guilt by being helpful and his storyline has a connection with Glenn. (That’s as far of a tease as I’m going to go! I’ll provide more of the interview once the episode airs.)

He hopes Aaron can eventually get past his feelings of remorse “by good acts, by simply leading the Alexandrians to a new stage and security. I think that’s the only way he can diminish his guilt.”

Before the zombie apocalypse, Aaron had worked for a non-government organization in Africa dealing with warlords and providing relief supplies. “To get punched in the face by Rick was par for the course,” he said. “I really feel like his training and experience in Africa was so shocking and horrible, the apocalypse was like a return to normalcy.”

He and his partner Eric had killed plenty of walkers and live beings. “They were keenly aware of the threats outside the walls,” he said. But they clearly didn’t prepare enough Alexandrians for what was to come.

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