The Walking Dead Ultimate Fan winners talk about season 8

Photo courtesy of Jill Robi; Talking Dead; AMC; Jill Robi and Brandenn Orban-Griggs
Photo courtesy of Jill Robi; Talking Dead; AMC; Jill Robi and Brandenn Orban-Griggs /

Talking Dead’s Ultimate Fan contest winners Jill Robi and Brandenn Orban-Griggs talked to us about season 8 of The Walking Dead and much more.

The Walking Dead is closing out season 8 with the end of All Out War so we thought we’d talk to last season’s Talking Dead Ultimate Fan contest winners Jill Robi and Brandenn Orban-Griggs, the Living Richonne, and get their thoughts on the season so far and what might be coming up in the season 8 finale.

The end of All Out War has been a long time coming. At two and a half seasons the conflict between Rick’s alliance forces and Negan and The Saviors has been the longest continuous conflict arc on the show. But it’s all come down to Sunday night’s season finale when either Rick or Negan will come out victorious. And nothing will be the same after that.

Jill and Brandenn are a real life couple who met when they were cosplaying Rick and Michonne at The Walking Dead season 7 premiere. They have probably one of the best real life “meet cute”s – they met when an Andrea cosplayer brought them together to take photos.

Photo courtesy of Jill Robi; Jill Robi as Michonne and Brandenn Orban-Griggs as Rick Grimes
Photo courtesy of Jill Robi; Jill Robi as Michonne and Brandenn Orban-Griggs as Rick Grimes /

They have a YouTube channel where they post their reactions to the episodes each week. They won the Talking Dead Ultimate Fan contest and appeared on Talking Dead at the end of the previous season of The Walking Dead. Jill is also a die-hard fangirl and the author of several books. Jill’s most recent book The Good Soldier is available now on Amazon.

Let’s Talk About The Walking Dead

“Ultimate Fan” is a pretty big title to wear – were you a fan of show from the beginning?

"Jill: I didn’t watch from the beginning as it aired. I binged seasons 1-2 together but I was caught up by season 3 and of course have been a fan ever since.Brandenn: I saw the advertising for the show at SDCC before season 1 came out and I wasn’t interested at all. I was a total hater throughout seasons 1-2 but a friend of mine made a meme of me as Rick, because we looked similar, and he posted it online. It was funny but it also got my attention and so I started watching."

What was it like appearing on Talking Dead?

"Brandenn: It was intense. It was a lot of pressure. But it was a fantastic experience. Lauren Cohan and Alanna Masterson were giving us advice and reassuring us. It was great.Jill: It was amazing! But terrifying at first. But I would most definitely do it again."

Photo courtesy of Jill Robi; Jill Robi as Michonne; Brandenn Orban-Griggs as Rick Grimes
Photo courtesy of Jill Robi; Jill Robi as Michonne; Brandenn Orban-Griggs as Rick Grimes /


How did you get into cosplaying? Do you cosplay other characters besides Rick and Michonne?

"Jill: My first cosplay was an anime Wonder Woman. I do dress up as some other characters, and have been to cons like Wizard World and Wonder Con. I’ve actually not been to a Walker Stalker Con yet, which I need to do, cosplaying as Michonne. I had never dressed up as Michonne until right before season 7 for Hall H at SDCC. At the season 7 premiere I actually dressed up as Michonne hoping it would help me get in. And it did.Brandenn: I had done some cosplaying as a kid for SDCC. I’ve been going to SDCC for most of my life. But I had never done a character like Rick. I only started cosplaying as Rick after my friend made that meme and I thought that we really did look similar. And that at the season 7 premiere an Andrea cosplayer that I didn’t even know grabbed me out of my chair to take photos with her. And she did the same to Jill and that’s how we met. So really cosplay brought us together.More from Undead WalkingWalking Dead alum Jayson Warner Smith promotes new film, Chipper, watch it nowWalking Dead actor Chandler Riggs filming new movie in Tampa BayWhy is there no season 12 of The Walking Dead?Will Morgan Jones find Rick Grimes in The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live spinoff?Watch Tales of TWD actress Jillian Bell in Prime Video’s Candy Cane Lane"

Carl’s Death

Carl’s death was a shock for the entire fandom. What did you think about the decision to kill Carl?

"Jill: As a writer I get it. I understand the decision from the narrative point of view. But really for the show having so much source material is a double-edged sword. If they stray too far from the comic, like they did here, it upsets the fans. But if they had just copied the comic and included every detail of the comic people would complain that it was boring. So I think even though it was a shock it could be good. It opens up the world a lot and allows them to take the story into new directions.Brandenn: I think it will do great things for the story. It makes the show more interesting. Everyone always had their dirty little secret list of who they believed would always be safe. But now that one of the mains is gone, it puts us all in a sense of unease, making us feel that no one is truly safe.Jill: Except for probably Rick until the last ep.Brandenn: Yeah, Rick’s still good, obviously."

Photo courtesy of Jill Robi; Jill Robi as Michonne; Brandenn Orban-Griggs as Rick Grimes
Photo courtesy of Jill Robi; Jill Robi as Michonne; Brandenn Orban-Griggs as Rick Grimes /

All Out War

Alright let’s get into it- what are your thoughts on All Out War? Can there be peace like Carl wanted?

"Jill: I’m glad it’s winding down. It’s been a long arc and it’s time for this to wrap up. I’ve been kind of disappointed in Rick after his murder stint with those Hilltop POW Saviors. Maggie’s still trying to satiate her bloodlust, so I don’t think there can really be peace. Not just yet anyway.Brandenn: Rick is totally cold right now. He’s not going to be in a place to make peace. Not now."

Which side has the upper hand?

"Jill: The Saviors have the advantage right now. They have more people. Even though they’ve lost a of people they still have huge numbers. And they have a bullet maker and the resources to make bullets. That’s a huge advantage.Brandenn: It’s hard to say…. but I think Simon’s bad leadership cost The Saviors a little. I’m giving it to Rick because his people are all united and fighting for one purpose."

What do you think about The Walking Dead and Fear The Walking Dead crossover?

"Jill: I’m a little bit sad about it. They should just pause Carol and Morgan; their storyline isn’t done yet.  They need to finish up the relationship between those two. And I hope he’s not walking all the way to Texas!Brandenn: I’m very hopeful about it. Season 3 of Fear was great, I loved it. So I’m hopeful that this season is going to be even better and I’m interested to see how Morgan fits into that show."

Next: Other characters that could cross over into Fear the Walking Dead

Be sure to watch their YouTube channel  to get their reactions to The Walking Dead season 8 finale and the Fear The Walking Dead season 4 premiere! You can also follow them on social media:

The Living Richonne

On Facebook  or on Twitter @LivingRichonne and on Instagram @RLRichonne and you can keep up with Jill’s current writing projects on Facebook  and on Twitter @JillRobiFangirl.

Huge thanks to both Jill and Brandenn from all of us at UW!