'Walking Dead' star Katelyn Nacon on whether Enid will be Season 8's newest heroine

Kimberly Potts
Writer, Yahoo Entertainment
Katelyn Nacon as Enid in The Walking Dead (Photo: Alan Clarke/AMC)

To celebrate the Oct. 22 Season 8 premiere of  The Walking Dead — the series’ 100th episode — Yahoo Entertainment will be posting a new TWD-related story every day through the season opener.

All Out War is afoot with The Walking Dead’s Season 8 premiere just a little more than two weeks away. Katelyn Nacon’s Enid is poised to join the series’ already deep bench of formidable apocalyptic heroines, as Alexandria and its sister communities plot to overthrow Negan and the Saviors.

Enid, a loner who operated under a “just survive somehow” motto before befriending Maggie and Glenn, has grown stronger and more actively involved within the Alexandria and Hilltop communities, especially since she stepped up to help Maggie after Glenn’s death.

Maggie and Enid have been taking care of each other, and while there’s definitely a mother-daughter vibe — not unlike the one the comic book version of Maggie had with orphaned Sophia — Maggie is also proving to be a spark for Enid to show her own potential as a leader.

Nacon, who was 15 when she joined the series and is now a college freshman, talked to Yahoo Entertainment about the evolution of her character, how she’ll contribute in a major way to Season 8’s action, and her thoughts on the big secret Enid may still be hiding.

Yahoo TV: Given how Enid has evolved, and how supportive she was of Maggie in Season 7, it really looks like she might be the junior Maggie, a leader in training.
Katelyn Nacon: Yeah, as Enid’s character has developed, she’s definitely [taken] a bigger role in the community and the group. She wants to take on that role. She wants to help out the people around her, which is very different from where we first saw her, when she was very closed off, and just kept up her wall, and only cared about getting herself through everything.

Which was understandable after the backstory that we saw for her, losing her parents the way she did and the crazy lengths she had to go through to survive. Just the fact that someone of that young age, experiencing this major loss, would be able to do that gave us a glimpse of who she was capable of becoming.
She has always been extremely strong, especially, as you said, being a young kid, losing both her parents and being left on her own to fend off zombies that want to eat you alive. It takes a really strong person, very strong-willed, and we’ve seen that strength come out more and more with each season, her becoming more sure in herself, more sure in her role in the group.

Katelyn Nacon as Enid and Lauren Cohan as Maggie in The Walking Dead (Photo: AMC)

Did you know from the beginning that this was the arc for Enid, that she was going to evolve in such a dramatic way?
I could tell from last season, she had a few moments here and there where she was trying … I mean, mostly last season was just, “Is Maggie OK? We need to make sure that she stays,” and everything. That was her main focus, but eventually that kind of started growing into her helping out Maggie, to finding a role for herself in her community at the Hilltop. You could see that she started wanting to really help, wanting to really be a part of the community.

Season 8 is about war, the groups going to battle against the Saviors, and Maggie is one of the main leaders of that. Can we assume, then, that Enid is a part of that as well?
Definitely. She has a very strong connection with Maggie. As I said before, we can see that, especially in last season, there was a little glimpse of her being more integrated into the working of the community. So I think next season, you could definitely see her growing even more as a person. Growing stronger, and getting more integrated into this fight, and into the plan.

One of the interesting things about her time at the Hilltop last season was that the other adults started looking to her for leadership. I’m thinking specifically of when the Saviors arrive, and Enid helps hide Maggie, and tries to help keep everyone calm. The Hilltop adults were following her lead as well as Maggie’s. They understand that, even as someone much younger than them, she’s had more experience in dealing with some of the harsher realities of this world.
Yeah, it’s definitely a big difference when you’ve experienced being out on your own, outside the safety of walls or anything, because a lot of the people in these communities like Hilltop and Alexandria, they haven’t really experienced the true horror of the outside world. Enid has been through that, and she’s been through that by herself, when she was fairly young, which has made her have to grow up very quickly. In many ways, she’s experienced more, and far worse things, than many of the adults in the community. I feel like people can see that, and see the strength in her. They can kind of rally behind that. I mean, I see a lot Maggie’s character growing within Enid’s character. I can see Maggie in Enid, as she becomes stronger and wants to be more a part of the fight.

The show is filled with these fierce, super-capable women. Are you ready to become the next action heroine?
Oh, heck, yeah! Are you kidding me? I always love a hardcore, badass woman character. That’s always the best, one that can fend for herself.

Katelyn Nacon as Enid in The Walking Dead (Photo: Gene Page/AMC)

Since we first met Enid, there’s always been this feeling that there was more of a story there, even beyond the backstory we found out about in “JSS.” There was that moment in Season 6 when the Wolves came, and she was in Carl’s house helping him protect Judith. It seemed like she was starting to say something to Carl about, “That’s how we…,” and then she cut herself off. What can you say about that? Is there more to Enid’s past than we’ve seen so far?
Well, I certainly hope so, because even for me, Enid’s past is still a bit of a mystery. I don’t know where her family was before we saw them, saw her parents get killed. We just knew that [the three of them] were on their own. So I don’t know much before her and her parents being on her own. I don’t know if it was always like that, or if they were part of a community before that. I honestly don’t know.

Is it something you’ve imagined for yourself, just to kind of flesh out her backstory, or just because you’re curious?
I mean, yeah. In my theory, I think that they probably could’ve been a part of a group, and then decided to branch off on their own. Whether if it was differences in leadership ideas, or what, I think eventually they had a falling out. Or maybe they just never trusted someone in the first place, and that’s kind of where her “Just survive somehow” came from. Her lack of trust was … maybe her parents always taught her, “Don’t trust anyone here. It’s not a good idea.” Or they could’ve always been on their own as well.

That’s one thing I’ve always loved about Enid, is how mysterious she is. She’s kind of stoic. And I think it kind of makes the audience more intrigued with her, just the lack of knowledge about her, and how she doesn’t really give anything away.

Katelyn Nacon as Enid and Chandler Riggs as Carl in The Walking Dead (Photo: Gene Page/AMC)

How has your experience on the show evolved?
That’s a good question. I feel like I’ve learned a lot from when I first came on the show, because this was my first really big break, I guess you could say. I feel like the more Enid develops, the more I develop as a person as well. Whether it’s acting skills or just personal, street knowledge, that kind of thing. It’s definitely strange. I’ve never been one for a lot of attention, which I know is ironic since this is a career where there’s a lot of attention put on yourself. But it was definitely a huge thing to get used to at the beginning. … I had never really experienced something like that, especially being the introverted person that I am. But as I’ve grown on, I’ve gotten more used to it, but it still feels like I’ve only been on the show for about a month. Each season I think I add on another week. [Laughs.] I’m still trying to figure everything out.

What is the one thing that you would tell viewers to get them excited about Season 8?
It’s a rollercoaster ride. There’s gonna be a lot of ups and downs throughout this season. One moment it will be action-packed, and you’ll barely be able to hold onto your seat because there’s just so much going on all at once. Then you’re gonna get some lows, where it’s gonna kind of be hard to get through them. It’s a crazy season, for sure.

The Walking Dead Season 8 premieres Oct. 22 at 9 p.m. on AMC.

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