Z Nation season 4 exclusive: Russell Hodgkinson on time jump and that epic beard!

Z Nation DocSeason 3 of Z Nation left us with the cliffhanger of all cliffhangers (literally people were going over a cliff!), so it felt like an even longer wait then usual to see if our crew was going to make it out of this situation alive. The Z Nation season 4 premiere did not waste any time giving us answers (which we appreciate) and not only did we have our cast back together again (after a two year time jump) we also had a chance to catch up with everyone. Murphy and Warren are in Zona, Lucy and Addy are on the road getting into trouble, and Doc has been reunited with 10k and Red.

We recently had a chance to talk to one of our favorite Z Nation actors in Russell Hodgkinson who plays Doc on the show. He spoke to us about his transformation into ‘Gandolf Doc’, the two year time jump and how Doc would fit in at Zona if he ever made it there.

CarterMatt: We were worried after the season 3 cliffhanger that we were going to lose a lot of our main cast, so it was great to see everyone back in the premiere. What was it like to reunite with everyone?

Russell Hodgkinson: Reuniting with the Z Nation team not only includes my cast mates, but an amazing crew who have worked tirelessly to make the show happen. We’ve definitely gone through the trenches together these last four years. I can’t imagine a better team to survive the apocalypse with.

There was a huge time jump after season 3 giving the show to an opportunity to start a brand new story – a reset button if you will: What are some of the differences we are going to see in season 4 due to this time jump?

The relationships have grown, as well as the threat level. Zombies are now harder to kill and the mission unfolds gradually this season with so many unknowns. The show seems way more substantial now, but retains its sense of humor. The team is forced to rely on each other like never before and the stakes are definitely higher.

When we first saw Doc in the Z Nation season 4 premiere, it was after the time jump and his hair (and beard) had grown incredibly long! What was the process like for that transformation and how long did it take?

It was certainly a challenge for the hair department. They used extensions and clipped them into my existing hair and beard. They did a great job blending the color, but it was tricky transitioning from my naturally curly hair to the straight extensions. Fortunately I didn’t have to wear it very long, so I think the “gag” played pretty well.

If Doc ever makes his way to Zona do you think he will find a way to fit in or do you think he will be more of an influence on the Zona citizens?

Doc is clearly not a country club guy, but he could probably resume his career as a drug counselor or maybe teach a yoga or meditation group. I think he would be a great influence on the citizens of Zona…..he would also look great in “all white”.

I know you can’t give too much away about “Newmerica”, but is there anything you can tease about it?

I have limited information about Newmerica. I know it’s in Canada where it’s too cold for zombies to survive. I also know it’s the name of a credit union here in Spokane, Washington, offering a Home Equity Line of Credit as low as 4.50% APR.

When you started getting the scripts coming in for season 4 was it what you expected or were you surprised?

I wasn’t really surprised, I knew the team was getting back together. It made me happy. I was also glad to see a couple of my ideas made it into the show. It’s great to be part of such a collaborative group.

In terms of the zombies has the show found a way to raise the bar after all the craziness we’ve already seen over the past few seasons?

Well, we are definitely continuing the tradition of introducing new and interesting kinds of zombies, so in that regard, yes.

Without getting too specific, is there anything coming up this season that you are really looking forward to fans seeing when it comes to Doc?

I was hoping the long “Gandolf hair” was going to be a big surprise for the fans, but photos were shared on the internet beforehand, which kind of blew Doc’s big reveal. Otherwise, I think fans will enjoy seeing Doc and Murphy back together again, continuing the bromance where they left off. We have some great moments together.


We want to give a very special thanks to Russell for talking with us about the Z Nation premiere and about some of the fun things coming up for Doc this season. The premiere was a lot of fun and we can’t wait to see what happens next.

Now we are turning this over to you the readers! What do you want so see happen with Doc on this season of Z Nation? Leave us a comment in the box below with your thoughts. If you are looking to stay up to date with all of our Z Nation coverage then be sure to join our CarterMatt Facebook page at the link here.

Also, if you missed our other interview with Russell earlier this year where he talked more about what’s coming up in season 4, you can check that out at the link here. (Photo: Syfy)

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