The Walking Dead‘s Eugene has always been a little socially awkward, but now star Josh McDermitt has gone a step further and confirmed his character is actually a virgin. Based on Robert Kirkman’s popular comic of the same name, The Walking Dead first aired in 2010 on AMC and the show has since premiered its 11th and final season, which is set to conclude at some point next year.
Audiences first met Eugene, a timid but intelligent survivor of the zombie apocalypse, in the show’s fourth season. Eugene was being escorted to Washington D.C. by fellow survivors Rosita and Abraham, who believed Eugene was a scientist with information crucial to developing a cure for the zombie outbreak. Eugene’s bending of the truth has become a theme of subsequent seasons and has continued in the show’s latest episode, “Acheron: Part II.” In the episode, Eugene is undergoing intense questioning by Mercer, leader of the Commonwealth military, who is responsible for deciding whether Eugene and his friends will gain access to his community. In a tearful monologue, Eugene lets slip that, among other things, he is still a virgin and is eventually able to convince Mercer to grant them access to the Commonwealth.
While it is unclear in the episode itself whether Eugene is telling the truth about being a virgin or if it’s just part of yet another lie to elicit sympathy from Mercer, Eugene actor Josh McDermitt has revealed the truth in a recent interview with EW. In the interview, McDermitt is asked about Eugene’s claim to be a virgin to which he replies: “That is absolutely true. Yeah.” It seems, however, that Eugene’s sexual status has been discussed behind the scenes since as early as season 8. McDermitt reveals that a deleted scene from season 8 featured a sex scene between Eugene and Laura, a Savior, which prompted a discussion about Eugene’s potential virginity between himself and Walking Dead Chief Content Officer Scott Gimple. McDermitt recalls:
“I remember saying to Scott Gimple, ‘Man, this is like a huge deal for Eugene. I think he’s a virgin. And Gimple said, ‘No, he’s not a virgin.’ And I was like, ‘Scott, he’s a virgin!’ And I don’t know if that conversation changed things, but I’m glad it did, because then we got this beautiful moment here in season 11.”
While knowing Eugene’s virginity status isn’t necessarily integral to understanding the series, it does add an interesting element to a character who is largely absent from the show’s frequent forays into romantic relationships between survivors. McDermitt seems to agree and, speaking of the deleted sex scene from season 8, says: “I’m glad that didn’t make it to air. I don’t know why it was edited out. I don’t care. It gave us a better moment, in my opinion, for this.”
The reveal, while funny, does help to contextualize past events in the series. In season 5, Eugene secretly watches as Rosita and Abraham have sex, claiming to “appreciate the female form.” Eugene is similarly caught spying on Laura flirting with Spencer in season 8, speaking to his general unfamiliarity with and curiosity regarding romantic relationships. In a show that so frequently kills off main characters, it’s surprising that a character like Eugene has lasted this long, but the reveal that he’s a virgin has somehow made him even more likable. A spin-off series focused on Daryl and Carol has been announced but there has been no word yet on whether Eugene will make an appearance, suggesting there’s a chance he doesn’t survive The Walking Dead‘s final season.