Seth GilliamWe have breaking news from the Walking Dead front, zombie fans! Somebody in the casting department must really like Baltimore drug crime dramas, because the third Wire alum has joined the cast (Chad L. Coleman, who plays Tyreese, and Larry Gilliard Jr., who plays Bob, were both on The Wire). Our newest Walking Dead cast member is Seth Gilliam, who played Sgt. Ellis Carver on the HBO show, and also starred in Starship Troopers as the extremely attractive Sugar Watkins.

Gilliam has been added as a series regular for season 5, and while there hasn't been much information released about his character yet, it sounds like he may be playing someone based on Gabriel Stokes from the comics. Here's what we know so far about Gilliam's casting -- and some backstory on "Father Gabriel."

(Potential story spoilers ahead!)

Gilliam will play a character listed as Michael Todd, although his real name is being kept under wraps. Deadline gives us this about the character:

Michael is described as having two sides, displaying a friendly, puckish humor but also having a haunted side stemming from a dark secret.

I'm guessing he'll be the show version of Father Gabriel, based on the "dark secret" hint and the fact that the timing's right to introduce this character. In the books, Rick's group meets a preacher named Gabriel Stokes on their way to Washington, D.C., in the location where most of The Hunters story takes place. Since it really seems like Terminus is the TV take on the cannibalistic Hunters, it makes sense that they would introduce Father Gabriel in the first half of season 5.

Here's a look at Gabriel from the books:

In the comics storyline, Gabriel hid in his church during the outbreak and ended up turning away all survivors who sought shelter with him. He eventually confessed to Rick that he was tormented by his cowardice:

The next morning, they started coming. Neighbors, friends ... members of my congregation ... Not many at first, then more as the days went on. They wanted a safe place to stay -- a sanctuary. I turned them all away. I only had so much food -- I needed to be sure I could survive long enough to be rescued. I couldn't have those people in -- I'd starve. I chose my life over theirs. Most of them stayed outside the church -- yelling -- screaming for me to let them in. They never left -- they didn't stop -- until the dead came in. Woman ... children ... entire families. I heard their screams of agony as they were torn apart ... some of them calling out my name -- damning me to hell.

Gabriel ended up joining Rick's group on the road and made it to the the Alexandria Safe-Zone with them, but of course who knows what will happen in the show. Sometimes they really change up the characters and their stories (Andrea, for instance), and sometimes they keep them very close to the original creations.

Here's another interesting possibility posed by Wetpaint: maybe it's Gabriel who took Beth:

In the books, (Gabriel) admits he was a coward who locked the church doors toward the start of the outbreak to protect himself, at the expense of some of his parishioners. What if some of those parishioners were the walkers whom Daryl Dixon unwittingly let in the funeral home? It looked like they were set up, pushed out of the home, possibly by whoever was living there. Beth already said whoever lived there took care of the dead, remembering that they used to be people.

So it’s possible the car with the cross on the back belonged to a preacher, and maybe he “abducted” Beth with the mind to help her. If it’s a version of Gabriel, he may have been intimidated by Daryl’s weapon, figuring he could help save Beth from the walkers but leave Daryl to his own crossbow.

Say, that's not a bad theory. I'd forgotten there was a cross in the back window of the car that took Beth:

At any rate, it's always exciting to hear about new Walking Dead cast members and speculate about how they'll affect the story. Come on, season 5!

What's your call, do you think Seth Gilliam is Gabriel? And do you think it's possible he's the one who kidnapped Beth?


Image via Wikia.com