‘The Walking Dead’: Austin Amelio talks season 8 premiere


dwight walking dead season 8

Dwight better sleep with one eye open — if he doesn’t
already — for the next few episodes of “The Walking


Warning: There are
spoilers ahead if you have not watched “The Walking Dead” season
8 premiere.

The Walking
” season eight premiere kicked off Sunday night, and the
season wasted little time with Rick, Maggie, and Ezekiel bringing their
communities to go to war
with the bat-wielding

One of the main players
in this “All Out War” is Dwight (Austin Amelio), one of
Negan’s high-ranking Saviors, who appeared to switch sides
at the end of season seven. Right now, he’s working
undercover for Rick, Daryl, and the gang to give them the inside
scoop on the Sanctuary. 

INSIDER spoke with

about his
allegiances in the war this season, what he thinks of Rick as a
leader, and how his relationship with frenemy Eugene may
fare this season now that Dwight’s working for the
other side. 

Kirsten Acuna:
There are so many great little interactions in the episode. One
of the moments that got to me was seeing you and Daryl
interacting via arrow notes. You guys were like pen pals.

dwight tomorrow note

now know it’s Daryl who is corresponding with Dwight. We see
Dwight scrawl a note back to Daryl and send it


Austin Amelio:
[Laughing] Yeah, old classic pen pals relationship.

Acuna: It
seems like Daryl doesn’t totally trust Dwight. After Daryl
grabbed the arrow from you he didn’t give a little nod, like the
ones he’ll give to Rick or an ally. It seems like you guys maybe
still have a little ways to go.

Amelio: Yeah,
I’d say we do.

Acuna: Maybe for
those dog food sandwiches that Dwight was feeding him in season

dwight daryl dog food season 7 the walking dead

Could you really become
fast friends with someone who shot you and made you eat dog


Amelio: Yeah, I
mean that’s the thing with his relationship. In season seven,
[Daryl] comes in and he gets a little bit of an understanding of
my world and [sees] kind of what I’m fighting for and what I’m
going through. But we’re also on two different sides of the
spectrum and it’s going to take a while to bridge that gap. It’s
not going to happen right off the bat.

Acuna: Of
course. I want to go back to the season seven finale real quick.
Dwight left Daryl a little note on a sculpture. How did Dwight
know someone would find that chess piece he left behind? And, of
all people to find it, it was Daryl. Was he banking on

walking dead dwight didnt know

Dwight left behind one of his carvings for Daryl to
find in the season seven finale.


Amelio: I think
Daryl got a glimpse into his room in season seven or actually
when I came on in season six [Daryl] knows that’s like one of the
first things we introduce — the little chess piece.

He was banking on that. I think
it was a very smart move on Dwight’s part. I don’t know how Daryl
ended up finding that. You know, some movie magic involved there.
That’s kind of the beauty of that.

Acuna: Their
relationship, as you said, it goes back to those chess pieces.
One of their first interactions, I think Daryl says to Dwight,
“What is that thing there? Give it to me.” And you explained that
you carved those with your grandfather. It totally made sense why
you left that behind. At the end of the day, I guess it’s Dwight
hoping that Daryl would be the one to find it.

dwight wood carving

Daryl takes Dwight’s carving from him way back in
season six before


Amelio: No one
else would catch on to that. If it came across to Rick or anyone
else, they’d just f—ing toss it. There’s got to be some sort of
chance that Daryl walks past that and notices it.

Acuna: Yeah, it
was a sweet moment in the season seven finale to see. Going back
to the season eight premiere, it seems pretty safe to say that
Dwight is Team Rick or at least team Daryl at this point. From my
understanding in the episode, you gave Daryl a note with the
locations of Negan’s men to take out. Or am I wrong?

Amelio: It’s a
good assumption. I like that.

Acuna: OK. So
when Rick show’s up at the Sanctuary and Negan asks what he can
do for Rick, he immediately yells out Dwight’s name. For a split
second while watching the episode, I thought Rick was going to
sell you out. Did you have that feeling at all either while
reading the script or …

Amelio: Yeah,
absolutely. Absolutely. For that split second, my heart sank. And
that’s how, I think, they wanted it to play, where it’s like,
‘DWIGHT!’ And then it’s like, ‘Oh, f—.’ But then all of a
sudden [Rick] moves on. I love that part.

rick walking dead season 8

Rick didn’t sell out Dwight, but he probably wouldn’t
hesitate if Dwight showed signs of crossing


Acuna: And Rick,
he’s very aggressive in this episode when it comes to the
Saviors. He’s not taking any crap. He’s interrupting Negan.
Dwight’s really never seen Rick in full-on Ricktatorship mode —
ripping people’s throats out and stuff — what is it like for
Dwight to see Rick in action here as opposed to him pretty much
being the opposite in the season seven premiere?

Amelio: Dwight’s
sort of assessing the whole situation out. Where we left off in
season seven, he’s going back and forth. He’s really wearing his
heart on his sleeve and he’s … I don’t want to give anything
away, but he has to make some high-stake decisions.

It’s definitely weighing on
Dwight to see this sort of leader take charge and stand up for
his group. It’s definitely something Dwight is putting on the
backburner in his mind and considering. I think it’s going to
help him further his decision-making process, if that makes any

dwight walking dead season 7

Maybe Dwight’s just better off hitting the road and not
dealing with either group.


Acuna: Yeah.
Also, you’re seeing two different leadership styles. Is Dwight
questioning at all whether or not Rick may be a little crazy or
as crazy as Negan? 

Amelio: Crazy in
this world … There are so many things involved. I don’t even
know where to start off. [Dwight’s] taking everything in. He has
some really, really interesting decision-making that he has to do
to figure out what he’s going to do.

Dwight, he said at the end of
season seven that he hates Negan. He hates him. So, it’s good to
see another leader and see what they’re about.

dwight negan

What’s not to hate about a guy who burns off half your
face and steals your wife?


Acuna: Well,
when we last spoke you said Dwight was kind of putting — to
mention the chess pieces again — he was putting his chess pieces
in place to come up with some bigger plan to help take Negan out
at some point.


Acuna: Now,
Rick’s plan doesn’t totally go according to plan. Negan gets away
or Rick let’s him get away. I have to imagine Dwight isn’t too
pleased because Negan’s still alive. Isn’t Dwight at all
concerned that Negan may suspect him of spying or
double-crossing? Dwight’s not looking for that iron to the other
half of his face.

[Laughter] No, no. I mean, yeah, in this season you see him
[Dwight] put everything on the line. He’s fighting out of love
for his wife and hate for Negan. When you put those two together,
you’re going to make some seriously crazy decisions and hope that
he [Dwight] goes for the best.

Acuna: I was
thinking, even if Negan does find out Dwight is working with
Rick, or if Negan suspects him at all, would Dwight throw someone
else under the bus to save his own skin?

Amelio: He’s got
a backup plan. No doubt about that.

Acuna: Dwight
did feel bad about getting Dr. Carson getting tossed into the
oven though last season.

carson negan season 7 TWD
tosses Carson into the oven when he believes the doctor is the
reason Dwight’s ex-wife Sherry left the


Amelio: Yeah, I
mean of course. None of that stuff goes without some sort of
human emotion. You’re not just completely numb to it even though
you’re in that world unless you’re an absolute monster and I
don’t think Dwight is.

Acuna: I don’t
think so either. You’re helping Rick and the group try to take
out Negan.

Considering who’s sticking to their values and their morals and
trying to be honest? Dwight kind of covers all of that. He really
wants to do well. He’s just stuck in a sh—y spot.

Acuna: Exactly.
The decisions everyone has made on the show has brought them to
the points they’re at now. I want to ask a little bit about
Eugene. Does Dwight know or suspect that Eugene had anything to
do with Sasha becoming a walker? Or does he even care?

sasha eugene season 7 finale

Eugene gave Sasha a cyanide pill at the end of season
seven behind Negan’s back.


Amelio: No, I
don’t think he knows that. That was it’s own circumstance and
situation. There’s so much going on, but I think he definitely
suspects … Their whole relationship is sort of walking on
eggshells around each other. Suspect? Sure. They do suspect each
other of something, for sure.

Can we be advantageous for each
other for something? That’s really Dwight and Eugene’s
relationship wrapped up. What the f— can I use this guy for?
Dwight knows he’s smart. He’s coming in, he’s already making
moves. He’s calling shots. I’ve been through a lot of sh– in
order to get where I’m at — climbing the ladder. Here he is just
already up there with me. I think Dwight has a problem with that,
you know?

Acuna: Yeah.
Eugene seems super comfortable listening to the song Easy Street.
In contrast, Daryl’s like, get that away from me.

Amelio: Right,
right. I loved how they used it. It’s kind of a double meaning.
[Eugene] kind of uses it to get pumped up or amped. To me, that
song is just absolutely tortuous. It was part of something
[Dwight] didn’t want to do. Daryl had to listen to that song. I
love the way they use it. It’s really interesting.

Acuna: And now
everyone knows that song. On the flip side, does Eugene know
you’re helping out Rick? You mentioned that he’s smart. Maybe
that’s something down the line we’ll see play out in the

eugene dwight bts twd season 7

Eugene and Dwight may have some tension on screen, but
that’s not the case when the cameras aren’t


Amelio: Yeah, I
can’t answer any of that, but he would be the first one to sniff
it out. I think.

Acuna: I
absolutely agree.

Amelio: He
definitely puts things together really quickly and he is around
me a bunch. We’re in the same vicinity a lot so, yeah, we’ll see
what happens.

Acuna: We see a
few new characters interact for the first time in this episode
like Enid and Jerry. Are there any characters Dwight hasn’t met
yet that he would like to interact with?

Amelio: It would
be nice to interact with Carol.

Acuna: Why’s

Amelio: Just because I haven’t yet and I like
Melissa [McBride] as a person. I want to act with her. She’s kind
of a lone wolf as well. I feel like they may have something to
say to each other.

carol daryl the walking dead

Something tells us Daryl wouldn’t be too fond of Dwight
and Carol interacting.


Acuna: I think
that they definitely have some stuff in common with losing people
they love, but I don’t know how Daryl would feel about

Amelio: Yeah,
he’d probably get a little mad. But that’s all right.

This interview has been
shortened and edited for clarity.

You can follow along with
all of our
coverage of “The Walking Dead” here

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