The Walking Dead has a reputation for killing off lead characters. Except for Game of Thrones, no other show will take out a main star from the line-up. In fact, even after the HBO series killed off Ned Stark, they knew better than to kill of his children, which is something the AMC wasn’t afraid to do with Carl Grimes.
Ironically, all of this may have started with one actor’s decision to be killed off The Walking Dead. Back in Season 2, character Dale Horvath was disemboweled by a walker towards the end of the season. According to new reports, actor Jeffrey DeMunn was unhappy with the network and asked to be killed off.
“Dale’s death was my decision,” he told Cleveland.com in an interview. “I was furious about how Frank [Darabont] was pushed out of the show. I spent a week not being able to take a full breath. And then I realized, ‘Oh, I can quit.’ So I called them and said, ‘It’s a zombie show. Kill me. I don’t want to do this anymore.”
The actor later called it a relief to be killed off, but this decision, along with Darabont’s exit are two paths that completely changed the show. One was a new showrunner and the other was a precedent to kill off the moral compass.
Did Frank Darabont Make The Walking Dead Work?
Actor Jeffrey DeMunn was a good friend of the original showrunner, Frank Darabont. The duo worked together on Darabont’s trilogy of Stephen King adaptations, which included The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, and The Myst (also with Melissa McBride).
As DeMunn told the press, “The writing in the beginning was just amazing, as was that original cast. You can’t talk about The Walking Dead without talking about the extreme heat. I was always grateful for Dale’s hat, by the way. It was serious heat and we were working all day. The heat had a way of uniting us all, cast and crew. You kept an eye on your friends under those conditions.”
What’s most interesting about the statement above is the mention of the quality of the work in the beginning. Most fans agree and think the show has been on a decline ever since Frank Darabont left the series.