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The Walking Dead Executive Producers Explain How They Chose Which Characters Died on This Week’s Show (SPOILERS)

March 25, 2019 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
The Walking Dead Season 9-2

Warning: Major spoilers follow for last night’s episode of The Walking Dead.

Last night’s The Walking Dead was a real bloodbath, with several major characters killed off during the penultimate episode of the season. As noted in our own Katie Hallahan’s review of the episode, Alpha and the Whisperers murdered ten characters including Enid, Tara, and Henry. The events reflected the iconic Harvest Festival scene from the comic books, although in the source material it was Rosita and Ezekiel who died.

Now, the creative team behind the show discussed the brutal body count and how they chose which characters to kill off. Showrunner Angela Kang and Greg Nicotero told EW and THR that the decisions weren’t easy, but that they made choices to reflect what made the most sense in the story.

Kang told EW, “You know, there were so many conversations about it, because it’s really hard to decide who dies, and any time there is death on the show, sometimes it’s just story-related, sometimes, as with Andy [Lincoln], it’s because there’s a personal factor. There are contractual things. There are all kinds of things that go on …And it felt like, for the various characters who were on there, for example, Tara, as the leader of Hilltop, who Alpha really has a beef with, there’s some sort of sense and a feeling of retribution specifically with that death…So it’s really a mix of things. Because we think that with Alpha, in some ways, this is an act of terrorism. And the thing about it is it’s terrifying because sometimes you don’t exactly understand how or why she picked her exact victims. And so that’s a big part of it. As well as, there are certain stories that we’re planning into the future, and so sometimes we’ve swapped out characters for those reasons.”

In addition, Greg Nicotero discussed the decisions with THR, saying that the decision was made in the context of whose deaths would most move the story along. He noted, “It’s always about what these moments and these deaths do to other characters that catapults them forward. In regards to Henry and his relationship to Carol, Daryl and Ezekiel… there’s a very specific reason to lose him. In terms of other characters? Tara stepped up as a leader once Jesus died. She was showing some real authority and leadership at Hilltop. Ultimately, it’s an organic decision, the way it evolves, like the relationship between Enid and Alden. You see a budding relationship and a budding romance, where people are rising to what makes them the best person they can be, like Tara. In many instances, some people find those realizations. In other instances, it’s brutally torn from them.”

Kang added that part of reason for the switches from the comics was to surprise the comic-savvy viewers, noting, “Oh yeah, a little bit. I mean, that’s a little bit of the fun of the show.”

The season finale of the series airs this coming Sunday at 9 PM ET/PT on AMC.

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The Walking Dead, Jeremy Thomas