As exclusively shown by Entertainment Weekly, here’s your first look at actor Seth Gilliam in the role of Father Gabriel Stokes in the upcoming fifth season of The Walking Dead. In The Walking Dead comics, Father Gabriel “offers the survivors shelter in his church as he attempts to atone for past sins,” but it is still unclear how he will be introduced into the AMC zombie drama once season five premieres.
In addition to providing the exclusive photo, Entertainment Weekly also talked with Gilliam about how he landed the role of Father Gabriel. Funny story: he didn’t even know he was auditioning for the part.
“I actually did not realize I was reading for the role of Father Gabriel during the casting process,” Gilliam tells EW’s Dalton Ross. “The sides were for a school guidance counselor named Michael, who had an issue with a couple of his students. I had not seen the show before I was cast on the show. So I just thought, Okay, I guess they’ve discovered some guy who’s holed up at a school or something like that and was carrying around this horrible exchange that he had with his students.”
Gilliam also opened up about how welcoming the cast of The Walking Dead was. He specifically singled out series lead Andrew Lincoln, who play Rick Grimes, as having “a heart the size of the Grinch at the end of the Dr. Seuss story where it just grows and grows and grows,” which helped since he was “pretty intimidated…by the immensity of the show, the popularity of it, and also the depth of it.”
Gilliam’s impressive TV credits include The Wire, Homeland, The Good Wife, and MTV’s Teen Wolf. You can check out the full version of the photo below and see Gilliam’s Father Gabriel in the season five premiere of The Walking Dead, which airs on Sunday, Oct. 12 on AMC.
Photo credit: AMC via Entertainment Weekly