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This New Walking Dead Character Might Have The Most Comics-Accurate Costume Ever

Comic fans know that most of the time, the journey from page to screen involves a certain muting of styles. 

The colors and the contrasts of long-established costumes play differently when you stick an actual person in them. From the black leather outfits and yellow spandex joke in 2000's "X-Men" to the winking Halloween get-ups in "WandaVision," the creative teams haven't been shy about acknowledging that what works in one medium can be tricky to pull off in the other. Now thanks to new photos from the production of "The Walking Dead," fans of that series and its source material know they have nothing to worry about when it comes to one of Season 11's big new characters. 

Fans already had a rough idea of how the character of Mercer would look in Season 11. The casting of actor Michael James Shaw was rumored back in January, and confirmed in March. Shaw had previously provided the voice and motion-capture work for Thanos' Black Order lieutenant Corvus Glaive in "Avengers: Infinity War" and "Avengers: Endgame," and also appeared in human form on the CBS adventure series "Blood & Treasure." He was, by all accounts, a pretty good fit for the part, but now that fans have actually seen him in costume, the excitement has reached a whole new level. 

"Omg, this casting was insanely good," one fan wrote on Twitter.

Michael James Shaw's Mercer looks straight out of The Walking Dead comic book

Photos posted by The Walking Dead World fan account on Twitter show Shaw on set in Mercer's full armor with the same details and the same bright red coloring displayed on the cover of "The Walking Dead" #177. It's a rare canonically colored example of the character, since all the interior panels of "TWD" are black and white. In both versions, the man looks striking and dangerous, which fits the character. 

Mercer is a key figure in the Commonwealth's military, the personal bodyguard of its leader, Pamela Milton, and her son, Sebastian. The symbolism is pretty clear to anyone who has seen "Star Wars: Episode VI — Return of the Jedi": Mercer's red armor is to the ordinary Commonwealth soldiers' white armor as the red robes of the Emperor's Royal Guard are to ordinary Stormtrooper duds. 

In the comics, Mercer is far more than a fascistic flunky. After years of service to the Commonwealth, he's grown disenchanted with Pamela's leadership, Sebastian's entitled attitude, and the Commonwealth's rigid, class-based society. He considers the possibility of revolution, but when it becomes apparent that he isn't the type of leader the people will follow, he tries to convince Rick Grimes to replace Pamela instead. On the show, that outcome is unlikely, barring a surprising return from actor Andrew Lincoln as Grimes. But be prepared for Mercer's loyalty to the Commonwealth to be tested in Season 11, particularly if, as in the comic, he finds himself drawn into a relationship with the free-spirited Princess (Paola Lázaro). Wherever his loyalties end up, expect Mercer to look good doing it. 

The first block of episodes from Season 11 of "The Walking Dead" is expected to premiere August 22, 2021.