The name Mercer is well-known to cinema-lovers and cinema historians – as the name of the director of such movies as “The Princess Bride”, “The Fisher King”, “Single White Female”, “The Stepfather”, “I Shot Andy Warhol”, “Sleepy Hollow”, “Maverick” and “Blackhawk Down”.
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Finally, after a painfully slow decline that saw it going from one of the best tv shows around to an excruciatingly boring and unimaginative one, The Walking Dead reaches its final season, set to start this August. In the trailer, we can already see one of the new main characters, set to debut during the fifth episode Out of the Ashes: Mercer, who will be portrayed by Michael James Shaw. As you can guess from his body armor, he’s the warrior type, and he’ll be the leader of the Commonwealth Army. In the comics, he undergoes quite an evolution from his first appearance to the end of the series, and hopefully there will be time enough to deepen his character as well… in case there is not, feel free to take a look at our bio here.
Mercer, first name unknown, was born somewhere in the Eastern United States, and lived a life of service. As a young man, he served in the US Marines, and earnt quite a reputation for himself. Despite his training and his battle experience, however, there was nothing that could have prepared him from what was coming, and he had it rough like everybody else when the Outbreak started: Mercer was on a leave the moment the dead started coming out to eat the flesh of the living, and he wasn’t immediately deployed against the growing number of zombies… and that’s what probably saved his life. Society collapsed faster than expected, and institutions simply disappeared. Mercer was a soldier without an army, and he started moving around like everybody else, joining small communities to survive the best they could… until he found the Commonwealth, in Ohio. The Commonwealth was a coalition of several communities, a network administered by a self-proclaimed Governor, Pamela Milton, a former politician who was slowly but steadily rebuilding the old world. With his skills and resume, Mercer was a talent the Commonwealth could use, so he was welcomed with open arms, and found stability and even a certain degree of safety for the first time after the beginning of the Apocalypse. He joined the Commonwealth Army, the first and possibly only regular army in the post-apocalyptic world, and he was strong, capable and determined enough to become Chief Officer in a short time. He was so skilled and trusted that Governor Milton even appointed him with a much more personal task, making him the personal bodyguard of both herself and her son, Sebastian, a young man who needed constant vigilance, considering how he tended to abuse his position (or rather, his mother’s position) to do what he wanted within the Commonwealth. Suddenly, Mercer found himself turned from warrior to babysitter.
If things weren’t humiliating enough, both Pamela and Sebastian constantly belittled and diminished Mercer, treating him more like a lapdog than a soldier, showing him no respect. Sebastian went as far as having Mercer scolded by his mother for “ruining his date” with Kayla, after Mercer saved both kids from zombies while they were outside the Commonwealth’s walls unsupervised. Frustration grew to the point that once, speaking with one of his officers, George, Mercer even said it was time to overthrow the Miltons, especially on account of the several power abuses from the Governor when covering up her son’s crimes… but the two were overheard by Siddiq, a visitor from another community, Alexandria. Mercer talked to Siddiq and convinced him that he was only blowing off some steam, and asked him not to say anything of what he had heard… but he also warned him to stay away from Sebastian, who was indeed a dangerous overspoiled brat. The warning went unheard though, as Sebastian soon started a fight with the people from Alexandria, even slapping one of them, Elodie, and ordering them all to be sent away when the others answered to his violence. Mercer intervened, disarmed Juanita, and scolded Sebastian for provoking people with no reason… only to be slapped by him as well. A murderous glance was enough to drive the boy off, but Mercer was sick and tired of him. He didn’t have time to do anything about it anyway, as Governor Milton was invited to visit Alexandria, to examine if the community was fit to join the Commonwealth, and Mercer of course had to accompany her. During their trip, Mercer noticed some potentially useful people, like the scientist Eugene, but still didn’t trust Alexandria enough to express an opinion. He quickly formed one when he had a chance to speak with Rick Grimes, the leader of Alexandria, who told him how his community was run much differently from the Commonwealth, as they didn’t adopt a class system: nobody was bound to their previous role in society, and everyone contributed in every task needed. Maybe, Mercer had just found the perfect candidate for the new leader of the Commonwealth…
Mercer is a strong and loyal soldier, proud to serve his community… but not as proud to serve a woman who, from her strong view on social hierarchy, constantly berates him and treats him like an expendable tool. Trained with the US Marines, Mercer is an extremely proficient combatant, skilled with firearms and bladed weapons alike, usually preferring to fight with his axe or his knives; he’s also a skilled tactician and a charismatic leader. A warrior turned into babysitter, chauffeur and errand boy, Mercer has his pride constantly humiliated and hurt by a leader he used to respect, but who has eroded his patience with her wannabe queen act: more loyal to the people than to the Governor, Mercer looks for a way to better serve the community, with or without Milton.