Flicks And The City caught up with The Walking Dead’s Oscar, actor Vincent M Ward, at London Film and Comic Con. Vincent chatted to us about what it was like joining a show as big as The Walking Dead, being killed off so quickly, and black characters on TWD.
On being a part of such a huge show, Vincent said, “As an actor, you’re happy to be working, for one. Two – I didn’t even know what The Walking Dead was! I had no clue about the comic books, about the show – nothing. But now I’ve been a part of it, meeting people at different conventions, I’m very grateful to be a part of The Walking Dead family, and to hear so many people say they wish my character didn’t get killed off, and they felt as if he shouldn’t have got killed off, so that makes me feel good that my character was well-respected.”
Season 3 of The Walking Dead saw Rick Grimes, Daryl Dixon and the rest of the survivors arrive at, and take over, a prison. This provided their base for the entire season and half of Season 4, but they weren’t the only people there when they arrived. The small group of prisoners there – Oscar, Axel, Big Tiny and Tomas – didn’t get to stick around as long as many fans wanted, being killed off one by one during the third season.
“The season was definitely about the prison. It was never about the prisoners. Of course I wish I was around a lot longer, but I don’t control those type of things,” Vincent told us.
Oscar died whilst saving Glenn’s life, but Vincent said of his death, “I don’t care about that ‘brave’ crap – I wanted to stay on the show! I think he would have definitely had a huge impact on the show as far as his strength, his loyalty, his charisma. With Lew Temple around we also brought some comedy. I definitely think he would have been a huge help to the group.”
As Oscar was killed not long after meeting the group, despite surviving in the prison before encountering them, we asked whether Oscar would have been better off never having met the group.
“He would have survived in there,” said Vincent. “He wasn’t a trouble-maker. The character reminds me a lot of myself, that’s why it wasn’t that hard to play the character when it comes to him as a person. I’m loyal. I’m not too far from being Oscar in real life.”
So, how did he feel about the way Oscar was killed?
“I would have been happy if it was somebody that was significant to the show,” Vincent told us. “To get killed by an hallucination, or a bearded Shane? I thought that was a little whack. I thought Oscar deserved a better death. I don’t care about the whole ‘being a hero’ thing, I thought he did enough to be around longer than he was!”
Fans of the show have noted what seems like a revolving door of one black character on The Walking Dead. T-Dog (IronE Singleton) was killed off when the prisoners came into the show. The prisoners were all dispatched fairly quickly, with Oscar dying in the very episode Tyreese (Chad Coleman) was introduced. On this, Vincent said, “Why does it have to be the black guy that always has to be the hero and then die? One leaves and then another comes? Somebody said to me on Twitter that the episode when they introduced Tyreese, he knew I was gonna die. It’s sad that it’s like that.”
“If Tyreese or Bob [Lawrence Gilliard Jr] dies and another black guy comes, I’m gonna say something about it. It’s a running joke, but at the same breath, it’s not funny. Why does it always have to be like that?”
“I don’t care about the heroic stuff, I hear so much through Twitter and Facebook, and it’s things I hadn’t even thought about. When I start truly paying attention, I get a little upset. Why wasn’t my character invited to The Talking Dead? People who hadn’t even been on the show had been on one or two episodes [of it] … Oscar can’t get invited to The Talking Dead?”
“If somebody is being treated unfairly, I’m gonna be the first to say something about it.”
“I’m grateful for the time I was on the show, but I’m gonna be the biggest star that ever left The Walking Dead. My loyalty, not having an ego – nobody on the show has an ego – but me being patient, staying in my lane, waiting my time, is gonna get me to not just the next level, but the next-next level.”
We’ll next see Vincent in supernatural horror movie Live-Evil, with Tony Todd.