As The Walking Dead wraps up its 11-season run, fans are sweating Mercer’s fate on the show. “Mercer better not die, one viewer tweeted on March 20. “I really like him.”
Of course, Walking Dead spoilers are scarce, but the comic book series that inspired the TV show could provide a clue about whether Mercer lives or dies. Here’s what we know about actor Michael James Shaw, his Walking Dead character, and his future on the show.
Showrunner Angela Kang is a big fan of the character.
In one reason to be optimistic about Mercer’s safety on the show, The Walking Dead showrunner Angela Kang praised both the character and his portrayer in an interview with Entertainment Weekly last year.
“Mercer is a really great character from the books who is the head of the Commonwealth army,” Angela said at the time. “I’ll say that Michael James Shaw is an absolute pleasure to have as part of the cast. I love the work he’s doing. There’s a real sense of toughness, but also a tenderness there, too. He can play so many different colors, and it’s a lot of fun to watch him do his work.”
Michael James Shaw says the show has started to peel Mercer open “like an onion, almost.”
In a subsequent interview with EW, Michael reflected on his character’s intimidating persona. “We’re tough at the Commonwealth, but I don’t think we’re here to hurt you. We just want to assist and make sure the people we’re allowing into our civilization are going to be fruitful members of the community, and also assess what liabilities we’re taking on as we’re bringing them in.”
The actor also said that Walking Dead viewers were seeing new shades of Mercer: “I think we started to peel him open, like an onion, almost. There are a lot of sides to this guy besides politician. There’s the sergeant, the general, the brother, the lover, and a lot of those get to be explored in future episodes.”
Michael has dreams of starring in other big film and TV franchises.
The 35-year-old also hyped up the prospect of appearing in a Star Wars property. “I would love to be a Jedi,” he revealed to the magazine. “Or a Sith would be cool also.”
Of the high-profile acting gigs he’s gotten recently, Michael said, “Keep ‘em coming!”
There’s no indication Mercer will die on the TV show, and he survives in the comic books.
The good news is, we’ve seen no sign that Mercer will die in The Walking Dead’s last batch of episodes. On IMDb, Michael’s Walking Dead credits extend through Season 11, Episode 24, the series finale. And Michael was also one of the cast members to mark The Walking Dead’s final days of shooting last week, writing, “F—k! I’m going to miss this.”
And in Robert Kirkman’s comic book series, Mercer is alive and well in the final issue, Issue 193, living a peaceful existence with girlfriend Juanita, who is played on the show by Paola Lázaro. Of course, Carl Grimes, who died on the TV show, is also alive in that issue, so you never really know…
The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET.