The Walking Dead Season 9 has featured a bunch of great new characters, and none on the good guys' side have made as much of an impact as Connie, the deaf survivor played by Lauren Ridloff. In a short time, Connie has made herself invaluable at Hilltop thanks to her bravery and willingness to do the right thing, best typified by the time she rescued a baby the Whisperers left to be eaten by walkers. She also has some definite chemistry with Daryl (Norman Reedus), who turns from a hardened warrior into something like a teenager with a crush when he's around her.
TV Guide asked Ridloff about Connie's relationship with Daryl on the red carpet for The Walking Dead's PaleyFest event last week. Is it going to develop into a full-fledged romance? "I don't know," Ridloff said through an ASL translator. "I can say that they definitely have a lot in common. They both don't really speak that much. And they both are very strong leaders. They both are very loyal. They will do anything to protect the people that they care about. So I think they definitely have those things in common. Friends or more than that? Who knows! You'll just have to keep watching."
Episode 15 also hinted at a tragic backstory, with Connie suggesting that she rescued the baby because of unresolved feelings about something that happened to her. Ridloff can't say if we'll learn more about the child Connie presumably lost, but she's excited to learn more about Connie in Season 10. The show's interpretation of Connie has already been greatly expanded from what's in the comics (where Connie is simply described as "a little on the quiet side"), and Ridloff is "intrigued to see where they're actually going to go with my character."
Another thing she's looking forward to in Season 10 is hopefully getting to work with Lauren Cohan, who departed the show — at least temporarily — right as Ridloff arrived. Ridloff is a fan of Cohan's work on the show, and she hopes Maggie returns so Connie can have some scenes with her.
Becoming a cast member on one of the biggest shows on television inevitably changes an actor's life, and Ridloff says the biggest change in her life so far is getting to play a deaf woman of color to an audience of millions. "Just having a huge platform like The Walking Dead and to be able to actually represent people like myself, I think that's probably the biggest thing that's changed thus far," Ridloff said.
The Walking Dead's Season 9 finale airs Sunday, March 31 at 9/8c on AMC.
Additional reporting by Lindsay MacDonald