Walker Stalker Con: Karl Makinen talks fandom, food, and finding Richard

Lennie James as Morgan Jones, Karl Makinen as Richard - The Walking Dead _ Season 7, Episode 13 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC
Lennie James as Morgan Jones, Karl Makinen as Richard - The Walking Dead _ Season 7, Episode 13 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC /

The very first panel at Walker Stalker Con Nashville was with Karl Makinen who played the Kingdom’s Richard on The Walking Dead. Karl had plenty to share about himself and his time on the show.

Karl Makinen is charming, thoughtful, and has a great sense of humor. Fans really seemed to enjoy his time on the main panel stage. Karl’s panel was moderated by Jason Cabasi, host of The Walking Dead ‘Cast, a popular podcast with fans.


Walker Stalker Con Nashville was Karl Makinen’s first time as a guest at the popular convention. He shared that he was blown away with all the fans who came out to the convention and were there listening to his panel.

When not doing participating in the panel or doing photo ops, Karl could be found at his autograph booth, which was situated next to Cooper Andrews who plays Richard’s comrade Jerry on The Walking Dead.

Karl talked about how the fans were none too pleased when his character threatened the very popular character Carol. Someone on set even warned him that there could be a backlash. But Karl appeared to be a very good sport about it all.

It was clear that Karl is also a fan of the show in his own right. He marveled at the acting ability of scene partner Lennie James (Morgan Jones) and talked about forming a great friendship with Khary Payton (King Ezekiel).

Karl did not see the scene where King Ezekiel dropped his guard with Carol until it aired. He was amazed at Khary Payton’s performance. He also talked about how Lennie James can reveal so much just when he is listening on-screen.

Jason asked Karl if he had asked his castmates who are still alive on The Walking Dead about what was coming up. As a true fan, he said no. He wants to see it unfold as it happens.


Fans also had the opportunity to line up at the microphone in each aisle to ask Karl a question. I took advantage of this opportunity to pose a question.

Karl owns and operates two locations of his restaurant The Local Peasant in the Los Angeles area. I brought up how Atlanta (where I live) has become home to so much filming. I asked if he were to begin working in the area again, might he consider opening a restaurant location in Atlanta?

Karl got a kick out of the question and joked that he would not want to compete with Nic and Norman’s, the popular restaurant owned by Greg Nicotero and Norman Reedus in Senoia, GA.

But in all seriousness, he said he did not think he would be able to manage acting and operating restaurants on opposite coasts, but if he did he would place it right next to Nic and Norman’s. Jason then suggested that he call the restaurant “The Kingdom”. Sounds fun to me!

Logan Miller as Benjamin, Karl Makinen as Richard - The Walking Dead _ Season 7, Episode 10 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC
Logan Miller as Benjamin, Karl Makinen as Richard – The Walking Dead _ Season 7, Episode 10 – Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC /

Finding Richard

Karl talked about how he made up his own backstory for Richard. And it turned out that show runner Scott Gimple had something very similar in mind.

When asked about how he tapped into the character of Richard, Karl explained that some of his own personal experiences helped him relate to Richard. Karl has kids so that helped since Richard was also a father. And, sadly, Karl could also relate to great loss, having lost a dear family member himself.

When Karl took the part, he was told he would be in five episodes or more. When the fifth one rolled around, before he saw the script, he received a call from Mr. Gimple. Karl asked if his character was going to die. It sounds like Scott made no bones about saying “yes”. But Karl was so impressed with the script for his final episode.

Fun fan question

A young man came to the microphone to ask Karl who his favorite character was on the show besides Richard. Karl responded with “Norman” who, of course, plays the very popular Daryl Dixon on The Walking Dead. He commended Reedus on his acting and for just being a great guy.

When the moderator turned the tables on the young fan asking who his favorite was, the young man shared that it would probably be Carl Grimes.

Related Story: Meet The Walking Dead actor Josh Mikel who plays Jared

It’s official! Karl is now a Walker Stalker Con pro, having his first panel under his belt. Plus, he commanded the stage and engaged the audience as a solo guest.

Panels often include multiple cast members. However, current cast members were not allowed to participate in panels in Nashville because the show is currently filming and not on air.

Karl later joined host Dave Solo on the Walker Stalker Con live stage as well. I hope we will continue to see Karl Makinen on the convention circuit in the future.

Next stop for Walker Stalker Con is Portland, Oregon on June 24th and 25th.