***The following interview contains major spoilers for 7.14***
On tonight’s all-new episode of Fear the Walking Dead
, things came to a head when Strand (Colman Domingo) brought Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey), who was ready to fight, into the tower to talk. However, when Alicia made him aware that she was dying, he changed his plans and agreed to work with her. Wes, played by Colby Hollman, who recently left Luciana (Danay Garcia) to come to the tower after she lied, had stood by Strand and was not happy with his decision and turned against the two of them. In the end of the episode, Strand stabs and kills Wes, not wanting Alicia to have to do it.
Hollman knew since they started filming the back half of the season that Wes was a goner. “What Ian [Goldberg] and Andrew [Chambliss] would do,” explained the actor to SciFi Vision during a recent exclusive, “is [with] every one of us, they’d give us a call before we started filming, and they’d tell us the arc of our character episode by episode, what was going to be happening…So, I was prepared for it.”
The actor feels that they honored Wes with the death. “I feel like this was just kind of his time to go. He really had nothing else to live for. He came off killing his brother and then [being] betrayed by somebody that he loved so dearly in Luciana, and [he was] not seeing Alicia anymore…So, it's kind of like, ‘what else does he have to live for?’…So, the ending of the tower, it seems to be right that it is also the ending for Wes.”
What was it that brought him to the point he could try to kill Alicia of all people? “Just seeing everything crumbling before his eyes, all of Strand’s hopes and dreams in his tower,” said Hollman, “he kind of made Strand’s hopes and dreams his own, because he had no other hopes and dreams. So, when he came over to the tower, he was looking for something to cling to, and that was the tower for him. That was his last thing that he could hope and dream for. So, him justifying that was like, ‘this person is coming in as an enemy. This is war. Alicia’s coming in to destroy what we've built here, the last thing I believe in.’ So, it was the last thing he believed in versus the enemy. There're casualties in war, and she was going to be one of them.”
For more from Hollman, from Wes’s motivations, to acting out fanfic growing up, and everything in between, read the full transcript below, and be sure to watch Fear the Walking Dead
Sundays on AMC and AMC+.
SCIFI VISION: I'm sorry to see you leave the show. So, when did you first find out that you were going to leave the show, that you were done?
They gave me the call before we started filming 7B. What Ian [Goldberg] and Andrew [Chambliss] would do, is every one of us, they’d give us a call before we started filming, and they’d tell us the arc of our character episode by episode, what was going to be happening. They're going [through] episode 709, 710, 711, 712, 713, and 714, and they're like, “Yeah, and so this is it pretty much [it].” I was like, “Thank you, thank you for letting me know.” So, I was prepared for it. Were you - I don't necessarily want to say satisfied with your death, because, obviously, you didn't want to leave, but I mean, it was kind of, I think, an emotional ending for your character. Did you like how they did it, and were you surprised how they did it?
I think they did it justice and [honored] Wes’s arc. They did him good. So, it was definitely an ending for him. I feel like that was the exit ramp. I used to use to do improv when I was younger, and we always talked about taking the exit ramp, and not beating a dead horse. I feel like this was just kind of his time to go. He really had nothing else to live for. He came off killing his brother and then [being] betrayed by somebody that he loved so dearly in Luciana, and not seeing Alicia anymore, and Strand’s away. So, it's kind of like, “what else does he have to live for?” And no, this was it. So, the ending of the tower, it seems to be right that it is also the ending for Wes.
Previously at the roundtable, you had said how to Wes, it was like at least Strand’s telling the truth when Luciana was lying and everything, and that was important to him. But did he think that through all the way? Strand isn't just “telling the truth.” Strand is also killing people and throwing them off the roof and all that. Did he completely think it through? And if Strand had started having him do things to the extent Howard did, do you think that he would have done it? Just kind of your own opinion.
I mean, we watch Strand throw people off roofs and things, but he's not lying to him about it. He looks them in the face, like “You're done, and this is why you're done.” So, if he's going to end up throwing me off the roof, at least I would know why, but I'm not going to lie or do anything against Strand to make him want to do that. So, I'm thinking that as long as I keep being a straight shooter with him, he'll be a straight shooter with me. I prefer that I'm able to trust anybody surrounding me [than] looking over my shoulder all the time. I'd rather live with ease of knowing when my time is coming, or if my time is coming, than not knowing at all and being blindsided.
Right. But if Strand said to you, “You have to throw these people off the roof, because I said, so,” do you think he would have been willing to do that for Strand still? That's obviously a little bit beyond what he had to do. I'm just curious if you think that he would have done it.
I think if Wes could justify to himself killing Alicia, than he could justify to himself killing some other people.
That's a good point. And that was kind of the other thing I wanted to talk to you about. What do you think, I guess, brought him to that point? Like what was the breaking point that he was willing to kill her of all people?
Just seeing everything crumbling before his eyes, all of Strand’s hopes and dreams in his tower. He kind of made Strand’s hopes and dreams his own, because he had no other hopes and dreams. So, when he came over to the tower, he was looking for something to cling to, and that was the tower for him. That was his last thing that he could hope and dream for. So, him justifying that was like, “this person is coming in as an enemy. This is war. Alicia’s coming in to destroy what we've built here, the last thing I believe in.” So, it was the last thing he believed in versus the enemy. Like, there’re casualties in war, and she was going to be one of them. Can you talk a bit about filming the death scene, just sort of logistically and also in general?
Yeah. We walked in, and we were in that room for half a day doing that, and there were a couple of different versions of what was going to happen to Wes. We ultimately landed on him being ran through with a knife, and that was cool getting to be pushed back into the wall. And they're super safe. So, me being pushed into the wall, they wanted to put a back pad on me and knee pads, butt pads, and all that. I’m like, “I don't need all this; I'm young and spry.” But after fifteen takes of boom, boom, boom, you start getting bruised up a little bit.
It was cool. It was like, these are my best friend's…and we got to sit and just kind of like send off my character together. They welcomed me together, and it was really full circle. There was a lot of love in the room. And Colman took a moment out to stop the set for a second and be like, “I just want us to give respect to what we're doing here today. We are sending off a character that we do love in not only the character, but a friend.” And he just kind of gave that the moment of respect that I really appreciated. There was a lot of love in that room that day.
Do you enjoy doing the more physical scenes, the action stuff?
Yes, that was one of my favorite parts of being on the show, and I was always trying to put more and more in there. The way the story just kind of panned out, I didn't really get much of that, but I do remember, in season six, there was a moment where I hopped over a table or something, and I got to kill a zombie. When I first did that, everyone was like, “Whoa, you can do that?” I was like “Yeah.” I was a cheerleader when I was younger; I did every sport you could imagine, so my body is ready for it. I was kind of really hoping for more, but I'm glad about the stuff I got to do.
When you first got on the show, were you a fan of the show or a fan of the comics or anything? Or was it new to you?
Yeah, I wasn't a fan of the show. I have two best friends growing up, and they had actually like a fan fiction of the show, a little diary of The Walking Dead
, growing up. They used to have dueling parties that I never went, and these are my best friends. So, I definitely wasn't. But they put me into the fanfiction, and so we would sometimes have to act out their missions or whatever that they had in the diary. I had never watched it. So, how has your life changed since you started working on the show?
Well, I do get more DMs now [laughs]
on Instagram. I mean, some people recognize me when I'm out, and they're really sweet about it. If I go to a Spanish speaking country, especially, they recognize me. So, yeah, that's been cool. I mean, obviously, financially it’s done done me well. I've got to explore and adventure in ways that I wasn't able to beforehand. Also, I've made some some really, really beautiful friendships from this experience…I mean, you watch them on TV, as actors or whatever, and I feel like there's a lot of love for them, but they got there for a reason. None of these people are jerks. They're all so interesting and also beautiful. So, I get to call them my friends, and that's such a privilege. Were you either given anything or did you take anything as a memory from the show?
I have the seat back. You know, we have our little cast chairs or whatever. Yeah, I got to keep the back of my my seat for Wes, which was cool. That’s cool. Do you have any other projects coming up after this that you know of yet?
I'll just say, “stay tuned.” I'm working on finding something that interests me and beckons me, and it's all about timing too, because projects are being made all the time, but whether that's something that I want to be part of or not, or if they want me to be a part of it or not, you know, it's a back and forth with auditioning and finding the right moment and the right project. So, I am working on that. I just haven't had anything pull through yet. Is there something specific you usually look for when you take a role, or does it just kind of depend?
I mean, this right here was my first professional TV/ film gig in a way, so that was cool to get my feet wet. But now…I'm looking into the writing. I'm really reading through all the scripts and making sure that like this is something that I want to be a part of and making sure that the writing is good, and, honestly, there's a lot of projects being made for the money, and sometimes, a lot of times, the writing is lacking. So, finding something with good writing is always a nice little gem…So, I'm looking for those. Cool. This is really kind of a big show to get for one of your first ones. What did you find the most difficult just overall, coming into this?
The most difficult for this show was just the filming conditions. I mean, it's out here in Texas, and it’s hot, and we’re out here wearing layers upon layers, especially this season. You see us covered up in masks and all that jazz, and we're doing this in the heat of the summer. We're doing this, and it's hot. So, I feel like that was pretty difficult. It’s long shooting hours, longer than I thought, and just having to be in these harsh filming conditions sometimes was pretty difficult, but everything else is pretty seamless.
All right. Now I’m going to ask you the silly question I usually ask. If the zombie apocalypse was real, how do you think that you would do? Do you think you would survive? And if you could take one character from the whole The Walking Dead universe with you to help you, who would it be?
I feel like I would survive. I'm like a little MacGyver. I'm pretty handy. People call me a problem solver. I'm always really quick to come up with a really good solution and have it work. So, I feel like in the apocalypse…[my] best foot forward would be me and what I would bring to the group. I'm a really good mediator, naturally, so I feel like people would love to have me in groups. Actually, when I was younger, we used to do a little LARPing, live action role playing. We used to reenact [things], and Hunger Games
was our big thing. We put on like a live Hunger Games
. We’d have competitions, and I was always the one [who was] just like really stacking up the numbers of the kills that I was getting. So, I feel like I'm pretty adept at that. I've done sword fighting and hand to hand combat and stuff like that. That would treat me well. Now if I could bring somebody from the apocalypse with me. Let's see. I think I would bring Alicia, because she's hot. [laughs]