The Saviors may be the group that essentially rules all the others but Austin Amelio, the actor who plays Dwight, says it’s not easy.

The first glimpse we ever got of Negan and his group, The Saviors, came during The Walking Dead‘s Season 6. Daryl was kidnapped by Dwight, his wife Sherry, and her sister, Tina. The trio was on the run from Negan, but after Tina was killed, Dwight and Sherry reject Daryl’s offer to help. They leave with Daryl’s crossbow and motorcycle.

The next time we see Dwight he is back with The Saviors, with half of his face burned, presumably in retaliation for leaving.

Now we’ve come full circle. After Negan killed Abraham in the season premiere, Daryl jumped up to punch him in the face. Dwight immediately reacted, holding Daryl’s own crossbow against his head, but Negan declined to kill Daryl. In this week’s episode, ‘The Cell’, we’ll see more of Dwight’s story.

Life With Negan

Norman Reedus and Austin Amelio as Daryl and Dwight on The Walking DeadImage Credit: AMC

Austin Amelio, who plays Dwight, talked to CNN about the role. First of all, even though they may rule over the surrounding communities, it’s not all fun and games for the Saviors. “It’s still very ‘survival of the fittest,’” said Amelio. “It’s not easy for them at all.”

Dwight is clearly not just any Savior, though. Much like Simon, he is one of Negan’s right-hand men. That privilege comes with its perks, but there is still a price to be paid. “I think it absolutely weighs on him,” Amelio said. “Being under Negan’s rule is not all what it’s cracked up to be…I have to swallow my pride.”

In ‘The Cell’, Daryl is still riddled with guilt. He takes responsibility for Glenn’s death and his spirit is broken. It’s Dwight who takes upon himself the joy of further tormenting Daryl at the Saviors’ home, the Sanctuary. “It was not fun, not easy to do,” Amelio said. “Norman is one of my good buddies, so it totally sucked to see him in that emotional state.”

A Complicated Personality

It’s easy to think of Dwight as a villain but as is this case with any great character, there’s much more going on beneath the surface. “It’s great because this season the layers of the onion are starting to peel off a little bit,” Amelio said. “Dwight is a complex character and hopefully the audience members will get a better understanding of why he lives this way and the choices he makes and hopefully have a little more empathy for the character, which would be nice.

“I see [Dwight] as a guy who has to act one way and be a leader among all these Saviors and then I see another Dwight that has a lot of humanity. So that’s been a great lens for me to look through when I’m reading the scripts and as we go further in the season.”

In The Walking Dead comic book, Dwight becomes a very important figure. Angered over Negan’s treatment of Sherry and himself, he betrays the Saviors. He gives vital information to Rick and Ezekiel before they launch an all-out assault on Negan. When Negan is finally defeated, Dwight even becomes the new leader of the Saviors.