The Walking Dead

How Eternals Impacted Connie’s Role In The Walking Dead

Producer Nate Moore explains how the filming of Marvel Studios' Eternals impacted Lauren Ridloff’s role as Connie in AMC's The Walking Dead.

Producer Nate Moore has explained how the filming of Eternals impacted Lauren Ridloff’s role as Connie in The Walking Dead. Midway through season 10 of AMC’s post-apocalyptic series, Connie and Magna got stuck in a cave, and Magna returned alone a few episodes later, leaving Connie’s fate in limbo. Connie returned late in season 10 via a sub-plot that was recently wrapped up in The Walking Dead season 11, episode 5. The series’ showrunner, Angela Kang, confirmed that this storyline was a result of Ridloff’s upcoming role in Eternals.

Ridloff will play the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s first deaf hero and speedster, Makkari, in director Chloé Zhao’s Eternals. The Phase 4 film will introduce its eponymous group of immortals, each with their own unique set of cosmic abilities, who were created by the Celestials and sent to Earth 7,000 years ago. As addressed in previous Eternals trailers, the group was instructed not to interfere with human conflicts unless it involves Deviants, the monstrous cousins of the Eternals. This is ultimately why the Eternals didn’t help try to defeat Thanos during the events of Avengers: Infinity War. In addition to Ridloff, Eternals features a star-studded cast including Gemma Chan, Kumail Nanjiani, Salma Hayek, Richard Madden, Barry Keoghan, Don Lee, Lia McHugh, Brian Tyree Henry, Kit Harrington, and Angelina Jolie.

During Screen Rant’s visit to the set of Eternals last year, producer Nate Moore explained how Ridloff’s involvement in Eternals impacted Connie’s role in The Walking Dead. He admitted that her starring role in the upcoming Marvel movie affected her appearance on the show, saying the actress is “definitely in less” of the series as a result. Moore also said that the Eternals team “learned a lot” from the actress in terms of positive on-screen representation for deaf actors. Read his comments below:

“She’s definitely in less of The Walking Dead because she’s on a movie for a long time. And we learned a lot of lessons from Lauren because you have an idea of introducing a deaf character in a way that’s really cool. And then you actually get to deal with somebody from the deaf community whose husband also is deaf.”

Marvel Studios has been making major strides towards improving representation within the MCU. For example, this year finally saw Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) lead Black Widow, her solo film as the first female Avenger, and brought audiences their first Asian superhero in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. Eternals will further this more diverse representation through Brian Tyree Henry as the MCU’s first LGBTQ+ superhero, Phastos, and Ridloff as the universe’s first deaf superhero. Ridloff and her husband, Douglas Ridloff, have two sons who are also deaf, and the actress has previously spoken about how her role will help pave the way for her children to grow up in a world where they can look up to superheroes like them.

Ridloff has had to overcome a plethora of obstacles to become an Eternal, and the role is obviously important to her and her community. Given the behind-the-scenes logistics, Connie’s The Walking Dead disappearance doesn’t come as much of a surprise and only speaks to the strength and integrity of the show’s creative team, as well as Ridloff’s talent, which is clearly in high demand. Many actors have departed The Walking Dead temporarily for personal and professional reasons. Aside from Ridloff, the biggest examples of this include Lauren Cohan, Andrew Lincoln, and Danai Gurira, the latter of which also stars in the MCU as Black Panther’s Okoye. But with The Walking Dead soon to wrap up for good, it’s very doubtful that Eternals will be the last that fans see of Lauren Ridloff.

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