The Walking Dead actress Nadine Marissa talked with Undead Walking about Nabila following Ezekiel’s lead in the midseason finale and life at The Kingdom.
The midseason finale of The Walking Dead had a lot going on but one of the bigger moments in the episode was when Kingdom resident Nabila, played by Nadine Marissa, deftly used the opening King Ezekiel made to overpower a Savior and take his gun. She channeled her inner Carol and led the rest of The Kingdom survivors to safety.
Recently we had the chance to speak with Nadine Marissa, who plays Nabila, about life at The Kingdom and how King Ezekiel has managed to inspire such loyalty and create a haven in The Kingdom.
Like several other of the actors on The Walking Dead Nadine started acting in the theater when she was just a child. She loves doing theater work because stage work allows the actor to really follow the evolution arc of a character. But she has also done other TV work too. Before The Walking Dead, she was on the hit AMC show Better Call Saul.
She was a fan of The Walking Dead before being cast as Nabila. But she said that now that she’s had the experience of working on the show going back now and re-watching past seasons gives her a deeper understanding of the characters.
How Did Nabila Get To The Kingdom?
Even though Nabila doesn’t have an “official” backstory Nadine has her own theory about what Nabila’s life was like during the fall of the society and how she ended up in The Kingdom. She thinks that Nabila doesn’t have a particularly tragic past. She may have lost people she cared about but it’s not really in her nature to dwell on the loss. Nabila’s very much a pragmatist who lives in the moment.
She probably was searching for some source of safety and security after the fall, like everyone was, and ended in up in the large group of survivors who fell in with King Ezekiel. With her gardening skills, she became a valuable member of The Kingdom working to get food growing and keep people fed. Nabila has fully embraced that the members of The Kingdom are her family now and she is very protective of them.
Life At The Kingdom
From the outside, it seems like life in The Kingdom is pretty consistent. The Kingdom seems to be the least chaotic of the communities, partly because of the deal that Ezekiel made with The Saviors to keep them out of The Kingdom. Nadine agreed with that assessment and that life at The Kingdom is very similar to living in a small town. It’s kind of sheltered from the brutality of the world outside.
King Ezekiel is a good leader and everyone knows their function. People do their work and the community prospers. Nabila enjoys her job within The Kingdom and finds it rewarding to help out by maintaining the plants and crops that are providing food for everyone.
Faith In The Apocalypse
Faith is something that is in relatively short supply in The Walking Dead world. Even Father Gabriel has lost and found his faith a few times. But according to Nadine Nabila’s faith is so intrinsic to who she is that it would take more than the end of the world to shake her faith. She still wears a hijab as an outward sign of her faith. Most of her strength and ability to live in the moment comes from her faith. She accepts things as they come and acts accordingly.
Will King Ezekiel Bounce Back From His Losses?
Even though Nabila wasn’t a huge fan of Shiva’s she and the other residents of The Kingdom were devastated for Ezekiel after Shiva died and they were grieved by the loss of so many Kingdom soldiers. But they never doubted their king. And when Ezekiel came through for the group in a big way during The Walking Dead mid-season finale Nabila wasn’t surprised.
Nadine said that Ezekiel has won the love and devotion of his people not just by creating the peaceful sanctuary they have at The Kingdom but also by treating every member of The Kingdom as a valued and important part of the community. Everyone has different jobs in The Kingdom but no one is more important than anyone else. The community thrives because of the efforts of all.
She told me that Ezekiel is a great leader because he empowers his people. And that’s what led to Nabila seizing the opportunity that Ezekiel created and taking charge of the situation with The Saviors in the mid-season finale. The residents of The Kingdom fully support Ezekiel still.
And Nadine said that Khary Payton, who plays Ezekiel, brings the same spirit that King Ezekiel has to the set. His kindness and support of the other actors have really created the same type of supportive community on set and that comes through in The Kingdom scenes. The Kingdom is a family and they will stand by each other and King Ezekiel no matter what happens.
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The King’s Deal With The Saviors
When asked if Nabila would approve of King Ezekiel’s decision to work with The Saviors by making tribute drops to them outside of The Kingdom and keeping the residents of The Kingdom in the dark about that deal Nadine said that Nabila already knew something was going on. As the person in charge of growing so much of their food, she would absolutely have noticed that items were disappearing and that the harvest wasn’t matching up with the food on hand.
Her opinion was that the residents of The Kingdom won’t have any issues with Ezekiel keeping that deal quiet. They have absolute faith in Ezekiel and trust him to do what is right for the people who are relying on him. She thinks they will continue to follow Ezekiel and trust him to lead them into a future that will allow real growth and prosperity working with the other communities.
The Walking Dead Family
Nadine said that she has been thrilled with how fans have embraced Nabila and it’s very exciting to be part of such a hugely supportive community. As a fan of the show as well as being part of The Kingdom she shares the fans enthusiasm for the world of The Walking Dead and is grateful to be part of it.
She is working on several projects that aren’t ready to be shared just yet but in the meantime, fans can follow her on Twitter @NadineMarissa. She is excited to interact more with fans and would love to some cons to get the chance to meet with fans so be sure to let your favorite cons know that you want them to invite her to future cons!
Huge thanks to Nadine Marissa for taking the time to talk with us! It was such a pleasure to find out more about Nabila and what life is like in The Kingdom on The Walking Dead.