MATTHIAS CLAMER for EW
Dalton Ross
October 11, 2016 AT 04:33 PM EDT

Sergeant Abraham Ford will be reporting for duty in The Walking Dead season premiere on Oct. 23. After that, however, things get a bit murky seeing as how Abe is one of the 11 potential victims in Negan’s lineup of death.

But regardless of whether Abraham is alive to see it or not, the man who plays him says that what happens after the premiere should make the big cliffhanger reveal viewers’ “least concern.” We spoke to Michael Cudlitz to get his take on the big cliffhanger and what comes next.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Let’s start with how things ended last season. What’s it like for Abraham —  a proud guy and a soldier — when he has to get down on his knees?

MICHAEL CUDLITZ: Oh, that’s probably the weakest moment for everyone. This whole group has made a series of terrible choices that culminate in this. I mean, a lot of people blame Rick for completely underestimating, and I think that Rick blames Rick, and we are in a completely helpless situation at this moment. And from there, it’s just sort of [let’s] see what can be done. Is there a moment when we’re going to be able to… because the show can’t end like this. I mean, there has to be at some point some fight back, some push back in some way with what happens after.

So that’s what I’m curious to see is how that dynamic plays out and how the audience gets to see how we get to the next step — how these characters move forward from that moment on because there is going to be loss, there is going to be a power shift, then how do we go? How does the group stay together? Does the group stay together as we know it? And it’s going to be really cool to watch the audience react to how we all react to what happens.

How emotionally draining was it having to go through that entire scene again for the start of season 7?

Well, the cool thing for me was sort of thinking about this as we were coming back and going, okay, we’ve got to get to this place again. For me, the cool thing was when we all sort of dropped down on our knees, back into position, it was as if we had never left. The weight of that moment was so real and so palpable and so immediately there, it didn’t have to be found. We knew where it was, and it was this group — in this moment in time, on our knees — that brought back the emotion and everything has to do with that.

You know, that being said, as an actor, I was just very proud of the people I was working with. There’s some amazing, amazing work that is done that everyone hasn’t seen yet, and to share that with everyone in that space, knowing that the dynamic and the group was going to change from this point forward, I was really proud to see how everyone handled it.

How would you describe what’s in store for us?

I find it interesting that what seems to be lost in all these discussions — we talk about the loss in the show and where these journeys are taking all these characters —I think it’s interesting how little is being discussed, almost like nothing, about what happens after this episode. Because there is so much stuff that goes down after this first episode and the continuation through this next season that it’s going to make people’s heads spin. I mean, it’s like, trust me, your least concern at this moment should be the season opener.

For more Walking Dead scoop, follow Dalton on Twitter @DaltonRoss.

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