If you haven’t heard by now, two big deaths occurred on this past Sunday’s episode of The Walking Dead. It left many fans stunned and shocked. Thankfully, Walking Dead Executive Producers Robert Kirkman and Glen Mazaara sat down with the Hollywood Reporter to talk about why they decided to kill off those characters.
WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD
Glen Mazzara: We did think it would be interesting if like in the comics Lori was killed in the strife between the prison and Woodbury and that is a storyline we’re developing. The decision to move up Lori’s death was to make sure that Rick was suffering as much as possible, that Rick was at his breaking point, at the exact moment that his most formidable foe was coming right for him. The Rick at the end of episode two can take on the Governor but the Rick of end of episode four is a broken man. Now everything is up in the air and anything could happen when the two groups meet. That was the catalyst for the decision: Lori’s death and the affects on Rick and the rest of the group would be a devastating loss.
Many fans of the comics know that Lori doesn’t kick the bucket until the end of the group’s stay at the prison. The choice to kill her off earlier to push Rick off the deep end is understandable. This does happen in the comics, but there was not nearly as much emotion driven from Lori’s death. Rick just kind of becomes a jerk. Kirkman and the Walking Dead staff hinted that they would lead Rick down that road.
Robert Kirkman: That was something we were always planning on building to. It’s very important in the comic series that Rick loses his wife after everything he’s tried to do; it’s unavoidable and that informs his character moving forward. That’s something we wanted to adapt and as we started plotting season three out, we came in wanting to make the show as intense as possible and hit the ground running and pack as much stuff into each episode as we possibly could. As we were plotting things, that storyline kept moving closer and closer to the beginning of the season. The first four episodes of this season, every one of them could have been a finale of any other show but they’re just another episode for us. We wanted to spend a lot of time with Carl and Rick in the aftermath of that. As the season progresses, you’ll see just how important Lori was to the show and how much of a loss that’s going to end up being.
Recently, The Walking Dead blog for AMC talked to actress Sarah Wayne Callies about her exit from the show.
It was interesting because we shot [Episode 4] in June. There was a whole emotional process of getting it together and shooting it, grieving and saying goodbye to everyone. That process was more or less complete a while ago. And then I sat down and watched it! I was nervous because I was expecting it to hurt, but I was so proud of Chandler [Riggs] and proud to say I was a part of helping to build that show. I think Lori’s death did justice to that; she was a remarkable and powerful woman and she was given a remarkable and powerful death. Pride and gratitude were what I came away with.
Sarah reveals in the interview that she knew about the death of the character as early as June and had to hide it from the other cast members. She also reveals that the cast usually has a death dinner for whoever dies on the show, and the same was done for her.
We started having death dinners for everyone who got killed off the show beginning in Season 1. After some one’s last episode, all the actors would go out to dinner together and raise a glass to them. Those dinners became a big tradition. We’re a bigger cast so we have to be a bit more private. Steven came up to me during Episode 1 this season and he said, “I don’t think you should have to do your own death dinner,” and he said he’d do it for me. And I said, “Wow, that’s incredibly sweet.” And he came up to me a week later and said, “How do you do it?” And I said, “You find a restaurant that has a private room and you tell them that you’re throwing a birthday party.” And he kept coming up to me, and was like, “But which restaurant?” It ended up being, adorably, twice as much work! The whole cast came though and I said a farewell.
Mazzara: We felt he needed to be a hero. Sometimes when we break these stories, if the death feels real and escaping the death feels like a TV cheat we have to go with the death. It wasn’t an easy decision and it was our most heroic death. Up until this moment we haven’t had heroic deaths. I don’t think Dale or Shane died heroically; we haven’t had that and here we have two heroic deaths — T-Dog and Lori, who sacrifices herself for redemption. That’s important to show how much we love these characters, it’s a particularly heartbreaking episode because those deaths are heroic.
Kirkman: It was important for us to us to show that there was quite a bit of chaos going on. Losing two characters and possibly three because we really don’t know what’s going on with Carol — was pretty important to us. T-Dog really stepped it up this season and had become core member of Rick’s strike team. We wanted to show in his loss just how important this character had become and how heroic he was so that he would be missed that much more. T-Dog knowing that he was about to die and take it upon himself to do everything he could to save Carol’s really showed how much of a loss this guy is going to be.
Do you feel T-Dog finally got the justice hiss character deserved? What about Lori? Are you sad to see her go?
The Walking Dead returns this Sunday on AMC!