How Brandenn and Jill Met and Making Sense of Rick Grimes’ The Walking Dead DeathSuzanne Bowen
The Walking Dead cosplayer Brandenn Orban-Griggs (half of Richonne) and Brea Lombard discuss how he met Jill Robi (the other half of Richonne) while cosplaying Rick Grimes and Michonne respectively and trying to make some sense of The Walking Dead killing off the highly popular Rick Grimes character.
Duration of video is 19:46.
Moderator: [At the Suzahdi cosplay leather jacket booth at Walker Stalker Con] Atlanta… we have Brandenn!
Brandenn: I am Brandenn Orban-Griggs. I am being videoed by a wonderful maker of my jacket right now.
And we have Brea. We will talk about what everyone wants to hear … here at Walker Stalker Con Atlanta 2018.
Brea: So I started watching the show “The Walking Dead” just for you two [Richonne]. Like I didn’t actually start watching the show until I read the comic books. That’s what got me into it.
Brandenn: I actually didn’t even read the comic books. I didn’t even know comic books existed, so I have been going to Comic Cons since forever. I saw a huge banner like 10 years ago. I looked at it and I was like, that is the most awful idea for a television show ever. It’s definitely gonna fail, I refused to watch it, and I just thought it sounded really dumb… [The Walking Dead.]
Brea: 28 days later… (chuckles)
Brandenn: That was a great movie though. I mean, they wanted to do zombies. They were just infected people. They were like a raging virus.
Brea: But that’s the same concept that The Walking Dead uses.
Brandenn: Well kind of, I don’t know, anyway, so. I actually thought It was a terrible idea, and I didn’t actually watch the show for years. I didn’t watch it until my best friends told me like over and over again, “Like no, seriously, it’s really good.” I was like, “Shut up. You are stupid.”
I kind of like stumbled upon it one day while channel surfing, and I was like this is actually pretty good. I studied film for a while, so I am really critical. I tend to be rotten-tomatoes critical and stuff. I was shocked that I thought it was good, and so it prompted me to go watch the pilot. It was like an episode in Season 3 or something and I went back and watched the pilot and I was like it is actually a good show and I got into it. I binge-watched the first 3 seasons. Then, I decided to dress up because so many people were like [doing that.]
One of my friends made this meme where Andrew Lincoln’s face was on top and mine on bottom. He super-imposed my face onto the screenshot of the show. I was like… ok, now I have to dress up [cosplay] and I was doing that for like two years. Then I entered my email randomly to get tickets to the Season 7 Premier in Hollywood. I lived two hours away from there, and I was like no way I am going to get tickets… whatever. You were allowed to enter once every day for two weeks, and I put my email address in two days in a row, and the 2nd day I won tickets. It was like the next day that I had to go! I asked all my friends, and nobody could go on such short notice, so I said, “Ok I’ll just bring my mom.”
So me and my mom went to the Season 7 Premier in Hollywood, and that’s where I met Jill.
Brea: You met her at the Season 7 Premier?
Brandenn: I met her at the Season 7 Premier. I was wandering around with my mom. The security was super tight, and they were like “Everybody sit down. Anybody who’s seen with their phones out is gonna get kicked out,” and we just sat down
This Andrea cosplayer comes over to me and is like you have to take a photo with this awesome Michonne cosplayer, like on the other side of the cemetery. We were in a cemetery, and it’s like super weird, and I was like thinking that the security just said to sit down and I don’t wanna get up. I was freaking being kicked out, and so I was like whatever and she like begged me.
I followed her over there and that’s how I met Jill. She was the cosplayer on the other side of the cemetery. So as I was like walking across the cemetery, people started cheering and all that stuff because she had been taking photos with all these people for a while. I was trying to watch the episode, and like a line formed to take photos with us. I just met her like seconds ago and I told her I was like…the security did come and said, “Sit the f~$k down,” I was like sorry. I just told her that I will find you later. I went back down and watched the episode, watched Glenn get his face bashed in and cried, and then after the episode, I looked for Jill outside.
I didn’t even know her number and I had lost track of where she was. So, I walked out with my mom to the front. There were 2,000 people packed in the cemetery. It’s really weird, that they turned Hollywood Forever Cemetery into a movie theatre once in a while. They did that for the Premier, so we were actually sitting on the ground watching the episodes, and it was raining that night. You guys saw the episode of “Talking Dead” where they have the umbrellas and stuff? I was in the audience; that’s what happened.
It was like pouring rain. We were all soaked and I was like we gotta go back. We walked outside. She was waiting outside and I started talking to her, and it was a really weird thing because I had gone to the hotel room with my mom because we didn’t want to drive back in the rain, and so I was like talking to her. It was weird because my mom was there. Basically my mom, me and her when I met her [Jill], and so we talked. I asked her if she wanted to go for a drink… we could go to Hollywood Boulevard, and I needed to get out of my gear anyways. I had all my [cosplay] stuff on. I had to figure out a way of going and changing, but without losing her, so I was like if you are ok with it, you can come back and Uber with us. But I was thinking… where will I change? It didn’t make sense.
Moderator: What an odd situation.
Brandenn: Well yeah, it didn’t make sense me saying I was gonna take an Uber back when she had to take an Uber back too. You know what I mean? But it also felt really weird to invite a girl who I just met and to get into an Uber with me and my mom. It was like the weirdest way to meet a woman. I was like if you are comfortable and she said to me that it was fine. So me and my mom and her all get in an Uber and go back to the hotel where we stay. It was so weird and I went upstairs and took my belt off and dumped everything on the floor and went downstairs and we hung out for the rest of the night. That’s how I met her.
Brea : Kiss me…(chuckles)
Brandenn: Yeah, exactly.
Moderator: Yeaa! She’s probably thinking he’s a decent family guy.
Brandenn: It probably worked to my advantage, but it was just weird.
Brea: They tell women growing up, they tell us as girls, always look at how a man treats his mom. You had your mom with you.
Brandenn: I was thinking, oh my god, this girl is going to think I’m the biggest dork because he took his mom to the Hollywood Premier and he couldn’t even get a date and his +1 is his mom. What a dork, that’s what I was thinking. This so so weird like she was in the Uber with me. I would have thought that she would have been paranoid, that I would kill her or something, but I guess because the fact my mom was there, she’s like well there’s no way he’s a killer. The mom wouldn’t be with him right, so that’s how I met her.
Moderator: Wow, I have watched a bunch of your Youtube videos, discussions about The Walking Dead and all and in one episode you both have on the same black socks. (Laughing…)
Brandenn: Those are my socks, yea, those are my socks. She steals my socks like all the time. So the whole
“Talking Dead” show thing… that was by accident actually, because she already had [The Living Richonne] Facebook page, and I think it was my mom who suggested that we apply to go on “Talking Dead”. I was like whatever, and we made this terrible video that we submitted. You get like 30 seconds or whatever and you just submit it and it goes off. The next day the producer contacted us, and he was like I really like you guys. I was like …no way, seriously? Then the guy kept talking to us about the stuff and it just sort of snowballed. It just happened like a really weird chain of events to where we are now.
The guy that was the producer… we were supposed to be one of the finalists on “Talking Dead” like two or three weeks before they announce the winner, and Norman Reedus was supposed to be on the show that night. Well, they announced the winner, and we were doing connection checks the whole day to make sure that our signal was good and we were totally ready and waiting in cosplay and there were two minutes before we were supposed to go live, and then my Internet went out. I still didn’t think that we were gonna win. We had been doing connection checks for hours and everything was fine and then like two minutes to go like you know the connection thing starts flashing. I am like no, no, no and trying to log out and log in. The producer is calling me, and I am like I don’t know what happened.
If you go back and watch that episode, you can see Chris thought he was about to go to another segment and then he’s like looking offscreen, and he just goes to the next thing. We were supposed to be right there and because it cut off, we couldn’t be on the show.
Brandenn: I was like… we lost. They are gonna think that we are totally unreliable. This guy can’t even like get his Internet to work. What a moron! I took my hat off I was so depressed. He called us and said, “Don’t worry about it. You guys are still one of the favorites. You are still in the running. I kind of felt better after that, but I was like out of all the times the Internet had to go out right then. Two to three weeks later he asked us to do the same thing with connection tests. He announced that we were the winners live. We didn’t know we were the winners.
Brea: That is just awesome.
Brandenn: Waiting to see because the way it is, if you see this person’s face on it, that means they won. So his face like popped up saying like Jill Robi and Brandenn Griggs and I was like… oh my god.
Moderator: Getting ready for the talk, the big talk.
Brea: So… going dead was hard for me too.
Brandenn: I don’t like that episode.
Brea: When I got to the part in the comic book, it is six pages long of different frames. I handed it to my old man and he had to like filter through it for me because I couldn’t. It was hard.
Brandenn: I just wished they hadn’t thrown it out. It’s like fine they want it to be accurate like the comics, but I just feel like that scene didn’t work well in live action. I didn’t like the fact that his last words were pinned like brain damage. That bothered me. I wish that Negan showed some knife first, and Glen steps out of line and says, “No she is pregnant,” and that’s the reason why he takes her place, and he could have seen it coming which means he could have said I will find you like before he gets hit, so that brain damage and all that blabbering would have made more sense, because his death had like no purpose. Die because Darryl’s a dumbass. That is just so unsatisfying for me. It’s all Darryl’s fault.
Brea: In the show, it is Darryl’s fault, but in the comic books it’s just Negan who wants to do it.
Brandenn: But that’s the thing, he would have only chosen one… he wouldn’t have chosen another one if Darryl would have stood up and punched him in the face. Like clearly, he was done after he killed Abraham.
Brea: He was content.
Brandenn: He was done, but Darryl had to be a hero. I dunno what he thought he was going to do like he’s surrounded by guns and he thought he was gonna punch Negan. It was the worst plan ever. So that kind of bothered me. I think my version is better.
Moderator: People could not stomach that, and right around the corner there’s a t-shirt it says “I love my husband but I need some Darryl.” I am listening to you and I am thinking about that t-shirt. Kinda crazy.
Brandenn: I liked Darryl up until Season 6, and then he just started acting like a total retard.
Brea: I haven’t liked him at all. I love Norman Reedus
Brandenn: It started with him like going off the woods alone to go and try to kill Dwight without telling anyone where he was going. What actually led to the whole lineup in the first place… all went out to the forest to try and rescue him. I mean like, he kind of caused a lot of that stuff and ever since then… one bad decision after bad decision which is why I don’t understand how he’s in the show anymore. That’s what the rumor is that he’s going to be the leader of the show. That’s like totally impossible because he is so dumb.
Brea: He jumps before he thinks it out.
Brandenn: I don’t see him as the leader of the show. I just don’t see him.
Brea: You think Michonne is going to carry it on?
Brandenn: I mean I like Michonne, but I don’t think she going to be a leader. I don’t think any other character besides Rick is really plausible as a leader of the show.
Brea: Not even Maggie now?
Brea: Too emotional?
Brandenn: Well, she is unlikeable, too. She is going against Rick. It’s like how is the audience is going to side with somebody who is going against Rick, that one person who nobody wants to leave? That doesn’t make any sense.
Moderator: Maybe they just have to look at, like for example the transition from one Doctor Who to the next. It’s a total different concept but what I am saying is that figure out a way how people end up liking the new guy, the new woman in this case for this time around.
Brandenn: I don’t think the show is going to survive if Rick is dead. It’s like it’s ambiguous if he does or not because that leaves room for a comeback. I think if he dies definitively, I think the show is not gonna last.
Moderator: Could he have a twin?
Brandenn: In the comics, he has like a brother, a twin or something, right?
Moderator: You could come in to do that.
Brandenn: I am not an actor.
Moderator: Ok, well, wishful thinking.
Brandenn: I am not an actor. I don’t know. I hope that it works. I don’t have a lot of confidence to be honest. I just don’t think that the fans are going to accept The Walking Dead without Rick Grimes.
Moderator: I don’t think that we do. I read in the Metro UK newspaper regarding The Walking Dead that actually a lot of newspapers are saying this that Andy Lincoln actually said himself that he doesn’t want them to kill Rick Grimes off just because he’s leaving.
Brandenn: There have been rumors that a movie is going to happen at some point. I don’t know if that’s true, but I do see that if they do make his death ambiguous that would leave room for either… I think there are one or two options. I don’t think they are going to kill him, like my theory. I think he’s going to die and then something happens. It could be like the helicopter. I think they put a lot of stress on the helicopter. In the last episode, they gave an A and B effect. Rick was locked up in a canister that was marked A in Season 7, so now they are saying the A and B thing again and then there was a whole thing on the walkie talkie about A and B. I think they have put a lot of stress on that concept.
Moderator: There are some hints of what’s to come. That’s a good observation of yours.
Brandenn: I think the helicopter has something to do with what happens. I think, I hope. If he does leave, and he is not dead for sure, that leaves room for him to come back and save the day in the last episode of the whole show because I don’t think the ratings will be good, if he is gone off the show. I don’t think most people are going to watch it without Rick Grimes.
Brea: Did you hear the fan theory that Carl was supposed to be the one who writes all of this? Like everything that we are watching is Carl keeping history of it.
Brandenn: Well, it can’t be true if he’s dead. He wouldn’t write if he’s dead.
Moderator: But they only killed him off because he wanted to go to college.
Brandenn: I don’t think that makes sense. I mean that has been done by so many other movies. There’s another theory that the whole thing is a dream and Rick wakes up, I mean like that would just piss off so many people if it wasn’t any real, that’s just stupid. I don’t think they are going to do that. I think it’s much more realistic that you don’t know what happens to him and he comes back to deal with whatever main problem there is at the end of the show. It’s like for a couple of years they don’t know because there is a time gap, time travel like five years coming up to the show, so it would be plausible if you don’t see his death for sure now. He can heal or whatever and like come back in five years somehow. That would make more sense, and I think the audience would accept that. I don’t think the audience would accept if he dies. I just don’t think it’s going to work.