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‘Fear the Walking Dead’: Alycia Debnam-Carey on Becoming a Leader in Midseason Return

When “Fear the Walking Dead” rolled the credits on its midseason finale back in May, the show’s dynamic was much different. Up to that point, “Fear” had been largely a family affair. Now the group has been split into three separated factions, each struggling to survive in the burgeoning zombie apocalypse. Star Alycia Debnam-Carey, who plays Alicia Clark, says this new structure opens the show up to further explore the individual characters in the back half of Season 2.

“What was nice is it gave us a little bit more of an opportunity to feel the characters individually as opposed to a group,” she tells Variety. “While working in a group is great, on-set especially, it means you just don’t get to see the characters one-on-one. We finally get to see these characters grow on their own a little more.”

Debnam-Carey says fans can expect to see Alicia become more assertive in latter half of the season — likely a welcome evolution for fans of Lexa, the hardened warrior queen that Debnam-Carey played on “The 100,” which proved to be a breakout role for the 23-year-old thesp.

“She’s the one person that hasn’t lost as much as everyone else,” she says of Alicia’s position in Season 2. “It’s the first time she’s been able to step into that leadership role. She’s putting down the role of daughter, the role of the child, and proving herself as an equal.”

Despite the potential similarities in her characters’ post-apocalyptic circumstances, however, Denbam-Carey is hoping to keep Lexa and Alicia separate.

“I’ve tried to steer clear of any sort of parallels,” she says. “Lexa is an amazing warrior character and I adore her, but I definitely don’t want that to seep in because that’s not what Alicia is.”

According to the Aussie actress, Alicia wants to focus on what’s ahead, which leads to more tension with her mom Madison (played by Kim Dickens) who wants to go back and look for the rest of her family — especially Alicia’s troubled brother, Nick (Frank Dillane).

“Alicia starts to take control and think what’s important is what’s in front of you,” Debnam-Carey says. “Their dynamic has been filled with tension for a long time, because of the fact that Nick has been running off, and fueled by Travis becoming part of the family, and the two of them finally come head-to-head.”

She adds, “They’re both focusing on different things. For Madison it’s for everyone to be together and be safe while Alicia [is] adapting to this new world and it’s about how to actually survive with what’s in front of them and with what they have … They’re both strong characters, and it leads to a lot of tension.”

Fear the Walking Dead” returns with its midseason premiere Sunday, Aug. 21 at 9 p.m. on AMC.

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