Why 'The Walking Dead' Casts So Many Actors From HBO's Hit Show 'The Wire'


the walking dead rick tyreese chad coleman andrew lincoln

Gene Page/AMC

Rick (Andrew Lincoln), Tyreese (Chad Coleman), and Norman Reedus (Daryl) in an episode from "The Walking Dead."

"The Walking Dead" returns to TV Sunday on AMC.

When the fifth season premieres, we'll see a few new faces including "The Wire" alum Seth Gilliam. He's now the third actor from the hit HBO series to join "The Walking Dead" ensemble after Chad Coleman (Tyreese) and Lawrence Gilliard Jr. (Bob).

We caught up with series creator Robert Kirkman at New York Comic Con to ask what the show's obsession is with the popular HBO hit.

It's pretty simple. Kirkman is a big fan of the show.

"I love 'The Wire,'" Kirkman tells Business Insider. "I think that every actor that's been on 'The Wire' is absolutely fantastic.'"

There's a bit more to it than that. Sometimes Kirkman has a particular actor in mind for a role.

That was the case when "The Walking Dead" cast its first "Wire" alum, Chad Coleman as fan favorite Tyreese back in season three.

the walking dead tyreese

Gene Page / AMC

Chad Coleman as Tyreese on "The Walking Dead."

"I was always a fan of him," says Kirkman. "I always kind of saw him as Tyreese. We sought him out."

Now that three "Wire" actors have been cast on the series, Kirkman says he and the crew of "The Walking Dead" are aware that the show is starting to feel like a reunion party for the HBO show.

"It was funny, when Seth [Gilliam] came up in the casting of Gabriel [showrunner] Scott Gimple and I were like 'Do we really want to make this a thing? It's kind of becoming a bit of a joke. Do we really want to do this?'"

father gabriel the walking dead

Gene Page/AMC

Seth Gilliam will play Father Gabriel this season on "The Walking Dead."

Kirkman says at the end of the day, they couldn't see anyone else in the role of the priest this season.

"Seth was the absolute best guy for the role and so we weren't going to hold back just because we didn't want to get a label as hiring people from 'The Wire' so I think we're going to lean in to that and hire even more people from 'The Wire.'" But as long as they're the best actors for the job that's really all we're looking for.

We asked Kirkman whether that meant we could possibly see Idris Elba or Michael B. Jordan join the cast in the future.

'Definitely, definitely. Yes," said Kirkman. "We'll make that happen."