Walker Stalker Con: Tyler James Williams at WSC Boston 2015

Tyler James Williams at Walker Stalker Con Boston 2015 - Credit: Lauren Roberts, 2015
Tyler James Williams at Walker Stalker Con Boston 2015 - Credit: Lauren Roberts, 2015 /
Tyler James Williams
Tyler James Williams /

One of the many celebrity guests at this year’s

Walker Stalker Con

Boston was Tyler James Williams, known more commonly to fans of The Walking Dead as


. Towards the end of the weekend, fans who were so inclined had the chance to sit and listen to a “panel” discussion featuring the 22 year old actor.

This particular panel consisted solely of Williams, and featured a few rounds of a Walking Dead themed game of “Would You Rather?” The point of the game is to choose between two difficult options and give the reason why you would choose the way you did.

Question 1: Would you rather work for the Governor or Gareth?

Williams didn’t hesitate more than a second on this one before replying that he’d rather work for The Governor. The reason? “Gareth comes with the mandatory eating people thing.” He added that it simply wouldn’t go over well for him to be passing on human flesh and instead eating carrot sticks or another healthy snack.

Question 2: Would you rather have unlimited fuel or unlimited ammunition?

Again, this didn’t seem to be a difficult decision. Williams responded that he’d rather have unlimited ammo, “like Hershel.” This remark, of course, was referring to the season 3 finale, “Beside the Dying Fire,” in which Hershel seemed to fire on the walkers without ever reloading or running out of ammunition.

Williams said that when he watched that scene it reminded him of a video game, and that his thought at the time had been “Is this Call of Duty?” Besides, he said, fuel spoils eventually, and they’re getting to the point now where that would be happening.

Question 3: One of your limbs is bitten and has to be cut off. Would you prefer it to be an arm or a leg?

There was no doubt about the answer to this question either, as Williams replied quickly that it would have to be an arm. While it would undoubtedly be difficult, he said, you could find a way to deal with it. Without a leg in the zombie apocalypse… things wouldn’t go very well.

Besides playing “Would You Rather,” Williams also answered many questions about season 5. He said that he had originally been told that he would be in three episodes, which would have had him dying at Grady Memorial hospital. There were apparently several scenarios that the writers had considered.

Noah at hospital
Noah at hospital /

One of the possible Grady scenarios had Noah and Beth both die, another was a shootout that wounded one of them, but in the end the writers couldn’t decide which one it would be. Tyler said that normally they’re given notice that they’re going to die about three episodes ahead, but that they didn’t decide that he wouldn’t die at Grady until the day before the script was released.

Williams was asked why he thought Dawn demanded Noah back during the trade gone bad at Grady. He said that she had wanted to “give a big ‘screw you’ to the other group. It was a power thing.” Noah had been in favor of the more forceful, less diplomatic approach of going into the hospital shooting. I guess this shouldn’t be too surprising, since they had been holding him prisoner there for a long time.

Because he joined the show as a member of the group at Grady, the only main cast member he’d worked with for the first few episodes was Emily Kinney, who played Beth. Therefore, the first time Williams met the rest of the cast was the day they filmed the scene where Daryl carried Beth out of the hospital after she was shot. That’s almost as dramatic an introduction to the group for Tyler as it was for Noah!

Tara fist bump. /

According to Williams, when they met, Alanna Masterson (who plays Tara) immediately adopted him as a younger brother. She’s about four years older than he is, so they could have been siblings in terms of their ages.

He said that the two of them decided that though they didn’t have lines with each other, they were actually best friends. Therefore, they made sure that Tara and Noah stood near each other as often as possible in scenes where they were in the background. Sometimes, he said, they even swapped guns back and forth, though they didn’t speak to each other on camera.

Matching Outfits
Matching Outfits /

Not only did the two purposely stand close together, but they went so far as to coordinate their characters’ clothes from episode 509 (“What Happened and What’s Going On”) until his death scene in 514 (“Spend”). Tyler said that Eulyn Womble, The Walking Dead’s Costume Designer, would give them a selection of clothes to pick from for their scenes, so when Alanna wore a maroon shirt, he chose maroon pants.

Laughing, he said that he wouldn’t even know where to find maroon pants now, so he didn’t know how Noah would have ended up with them in a zombie apocalypse.

Now that I know what to look for, I’m definitely going to have to go back and look for the Tara and Noah standing together, switching guns in their matching outfits the next time I re-watch the second half of season 5!

Apparently Tara wasn’t the only character than we may not have realized that Noah was close to. Williams also talked about a scene between Noah and Sasha that didn’t make it to the show, after Tyreese’s death, when the group is on their way to the barn during the storm.

Tyler said that in that scene, Noah sits down in a puddle and gives up, wanting the storm to take him, and that Sasha forces him to continue. He apologizes to her for what happened to Tyreese, and she walks away without acknowledging it. This scene that we never saw, he said, is part of the reason why Noah’s death hits Sasha as hard as it does, which may not have been clear to the viewers from the way the show plays without it.

It seemed that it wasn’t bad enough that Tyreese had died because of the trip to look for Noah’s family, at the hands of a walker that had been one of Noah’s brothers. To add insult to injury as far as Sasha was concerned, Noah had come to the group without a weapon, but, as Tyler pointed out, after Tyreese’s death Noah was given Tyreese’s gun. He said that Noah and Sasha consciously avoided each other for the rest of season 5.

Noah. Walking Dead. AMC /

Williams laughed about the reaction from fans to episode 509, which was the episode when Tyreese died. He said he had been watching people’s comments online during the show, and that it had been funny to see people go from feeling bad for Noah because they hated to see him cry, to twenty minutes later when those same people were virtually yelling “f*&% you!” at him, because the group’s ill-fated search for Noah’s family led to Tyreese’s death.

He said that it was also funny that some people would post things about Noah such as “Why won’t you die already?” and then only a few episodes later, when Noah did die, those same people were saying “He was gone too soon!” To me, this says a few different things. First, Tyler has a great sense of humor about the whole thing, and secondly, he’s paying more attention to what people post about Noah than some people may have realized.

Looking back, Williams said that there were several things that ultimately jinxed Noah on the show. First, he wasn’t exactly a good luck charm. As he put it, “Anyone with a scene with Noah seemed to die.” While that wasn’t quite true, there were several major deaths that came shortly after his arrival in the group, so you can see how it may have seemed related. Then again, people die pretty consistently on the show, so it can be argued that it’s just a coincidence.

Second, he said, being put on the team in charge of going on runs when you’re not physically able to run is less than ideal. However, he also pointed out that in episode 509 “he was Usain Bolt and outran everybody.”

Tyler James Williams as Noah - The Walking Dead _ Season 5, Episode 6 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC
Tyler James Williams as Noah – The Walking Dead _ Season 5, Episode 6 – Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC /

When asked if he watched the show, and if it was weird to see himself on it, he replied that while he usually doesn’t watch the things that he’s in, but that he does watch The Walking Dead. The reason for this is because he was a fan of the show before he was on it. And yes, he said, watching his episodes for the first time is always weird.

He joked that he had been in Dallas [at Walker Stalker Con] on the weekend when the episode in which Noah died (“Spend”) had first aired, and that the cast members at the con had been “overly hugging each other,” which he said made everyone just assume that they were all very affectionate with each other. In reality, they had been a little extra emotional because of his character’s death.

Noah in Revolving Door
Noah in Revolving Door /

Regarding the question of whether he’s wary of revolving doors after the gruesome way that his character died in one, he replied, “I’m good…


.” However, he said that from the time they shot that episode in November last year until it aired this past March, he had avoided them, which his friends had found extremely weird. I can completely understand why he’d avoid them. To this day, they make


nervous. If I were him, I’d probably avoid them forever!

An audience member asked Tyler what he would do if he got stuck in a revolving door, to which he replied that he would break the glass and do whatever he had to do to get out. This isn’t surprising, considering that he also said they filmed several even more gruesome parts of his death scene that what we saw on the show.

What we didn’t get to see, he said, was the part in which a walker was supposed to pop one of his eyes out of its socket and then peel off his forehead! Apparently the FCC said they couldn’t show that (Thank you, FCC!). In Williams’ words, that scene “was much worse” than what we saw.

Still, when he had been in the van with the bust that had been made of him, on the way to film his death scene, he had felt uncomfortable even looking at it, and only slightly less weird afterwards. Being the jokesters that they are, he said that many cast members still randomly send him pictures of and selfies with the bust of Noah (post-death), which he does not appreciate.

When it came time for his death call from Scott Gimple, Williams said that he had one request. He said that Noah had been tripping on things a lot, and he didn’t want Noah’s death to be his own fault because he’d been clumsy. Whether or not it was because he requested this, he certainly got his wish. He’s not remembered for falling over, though people do still ask him daily if they can put their hands in his mouth to mimic the way Noah did die. His response? “NO!”

Tyler James Williams as Noah, Seth Gilliam as Father Gabriel, Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon, Alanna Masterson as Tara Chambler, Melissa McBride as Carol Peletier, Josh McDermitt as Dr. Eugene Porter, Danai Gurira as Michonne, Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes, Steven Yeun as Glenn Rhee, Lauren Cohan as Maggie Greene, Sonequa Martin-Green as Sasha, Christian Serratos as Rosita Espinosa, Michael Cudlitz as Abraham and Chandler Riggs as Carl Grimes - The Walking Dead _ Season 5, Episode 10 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC
Tyler James Williams as Noah, Seth Gilliam as Father Gabriel, Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon, Alanna Masterson as Tara Chambler, Melissa McBride as Carol Peletier, Josh McDermitt as Dr. Eugene Porter, Danai Gurira as Michonne, Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes, Steven Yeun as Glenn Rhee, Lauren Cohan as Maggie Greene, Sonequa Martin-Green as Sasha, Christian Serratos as Rosita Espinosa, Michael Cudlitz as Abraham and Chandler Riggs as Carl Grimes – The Walking Dead _ Season 5, Episode 10 – Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC /

As much as he loved being on the show, Tyler said that he doesn’t wish that Noah had lasted longer than he did. This is because he loved what Noah’s death did for the other characters. “It was time,” he said simply. Not every actor can say this about parts that they have played, but in that respect it probably helps that he was a fan of the show first.

When asked if he was excited about the new show, “Fear the Walking Dead,” he said that yes, he was excited to see “how it all jumped off.” In his opinion, LA is the worst place for a zombie apocalypse to happen because it’s full of people who had gone there to act instead of making adult decisions. He said that in LA, they wouldn’t even survive a long power outage, much less something worse.

A woman who said she was a nurse asked what Tyler thought would be a good place to survive a zombie apocalypse. He told her with alarm that her place of employment would be one of the worst places, because of the exposure to diseases and the possibility for mutations. Instead, he said that he would choose a prison, because they’re built to contain people. (Obviously, prisons become less safe when The Governor is around, of course.) His second idea was an island.

Toward the end of the session, a woman stepped up to the microphone and said she was a teacher whose students had discovered that she loved The Walking Dead. She told the room that after the students discovered this, they had spent Mondays discussing the show. She asked Tyler if he thought that the show would make a good topic for a higher level or college class. He said that yes, he could see a Sociology class based on The Walking Dead.

Among other things, he said, the show deals a lot with the stages of grief, and how everyone deals with things differently. Maggie would make a great case study, he mused, because she had lost everyone in her family within a short time. Or Daryl – who is he and where did he come from?

He added that the show is based on making decisions that you’re not prepared for, in the heat of the moment, when there is no right choice. The characters on the show had survived so far, against all odds, but what questionable things have they done to survive?

After Tyler had answered the question about a possible Walking Dead 101, it came out that the woman who’d asked it taught eighth grade. At that point, Tyler looked somewhat horrified, probably picturing those eighth graders taking a class about the show, and shook his head, saying “I take it all back.”

This was one of the last panels of Walker Stalker Con Boston, and it was thoroughly enjoyable. Tyler James Williams was extremely funny and personable, and provided a lot of insight into the show to which fans would otherwise not have access. We can all watch him (with or without his death scene) over and over as we re-watch season 5, looking out for all the subtle things we now know about him and about Noah, as we wait for season 6. The season 5 DVDs are now available.

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