How do you keep audiences hooked after a whopping 10 seasons?
There are many factors that can contribute to a show’s sustained success after over a decade on the air, whether that’s gripping storylines or shocking revelations.
Ultimately, one of the best ways to remain fresh and keep your viewership intrigued is by introducing new faces into the fold. They can significantly reinvigorate a series, presenting the familiar characters with new obstacles or aid.
Like all shows, The Walking Dead certainly isn’t without its vocal detractors, but there are still many who were left utterly captivated by its triumphant return on Sunday, August 22nd 2021.
Season 11 is officially in full swing, offering many a memorable moment throughout ‘Acheron: Part I’. One of the greatest takeaways from the installment came courtesy of 34-year-old American actor Michael James Shaw, but Who is Mercer in The Walking Dead?
Who is Mercer in The Walking Dead?
Mercer is a commander of the Commonwealth Military and protector of the Commonwealth elite. The character first appeared in the comics, debuting in Issue 177 of The Walking Dead.
When appearing in Issue 177, The Walking Dead Fandom suggests that he was in his late 30s or early 40s.
In the AMC series, audiences are introduced to him when Eugene (Josh McDermitt), Ezekiel (Khary Payton), Yumiko (Eleanor Matsuura), and Princess (Paola Lazaro) are taken to a Commonwealth outpost. The group was escorted by soldiers donning white armour in the previous season.
While we’re likely to learn much more about Mercer and his role within the season’s narrative as it progresses, Michael has already given fans some insight during a The Walking Dead Season 11 Preview Special:
“General Mercer is the head of the military at the Commonwealth, and with that, he also has to act as security detail for the elite. He is a West Point graduate, and former Marine, and pretty badass.”
Staying faithful to the source material and offering parallels for comic book enthusiasts, Mercer serves as personal security to a member of the higher Commonwealth, Sebastian Milton. He was appointed to this duty by Pamela Milton, Sebastian’s mother and Governor of the Commonwealth.
Reflecting upon the character’s history, Mercer already had a military background when he encountered the Commonwealth, meaning he swiftly joined their army and just as efficiently rose through the ranks to protect its most important and central components.
He could easily become a fan favourite of many viewers and showrunner Angela Kang has paramount confidence in Michael’s abilities to translate the fascinating character from print to screen: “A lot of incredible actors auditioned for this role, but there was just something about Michael’s audition that kind of caught all of our imaginations. He just made such interesting choices as an actor.”
She added: “That’s always exciting when there’s a piece of writing and you’re like, ‘Oh, I didn’t think the actor was going to do it that way,’ and then, ‘It’s so much better than I could have imagined the read could be.’”
Michael James Shaw: From the MCU to AMC
While some may believe that The Walking Dead serves as their introduction to Michael’s talents, they’d likely be mistaken.
He has starred in the biggest blockbuster of all time, reprising the role of Corvus Glaive in 2019’s Avengers: Endgame after making his mark on the beloved cinematic universe in Avengers: Infinity War a year prior.
Looking further back, the NYC-born performer popped up in a 2008 episode of The Wire (he played Homeless Man), going on to star in such subsequent TV projects as Constantine (Papa Midnite) and Limitless (Agent), earning bigger parts.
More recent TV roles additionally include Roots (Marcellus), Blue Bloods (Ronald Lloyds), Bull (Rick Jarvis), The Enemy Within, and Blood & Treasure (Aiden Shaw).
Film fans may also have seen him in Desire in New York (Jay) and Wiener-Dog (Fantasy).
Follow him on Instagram
If you’re excited to follow Mercer’s TWD journey and check out Michael’s social media along the way then it may be worth following him on Instagram.
You can find him over at mjshawnuff; he currently has 10.9k followers.
There are plenty of posts related to his latest role to scroll through, as well as some other cool snaps.