Robert Kirkman Discusses Shocking Death on The Walking Dead


:::Warning Spoilers Ahead For the Latest Episode:::

Most fans of “The Walking Dead” are no stranger to death in the series. But even with that in mind, sometime a death is still just shocking and unbelievable. If you have read the comic books that this show is based on then you know that the death in last night’s episode occurred wayyy earlier than expected. It was an unfortunate night for everyone who watched.

I can safely say I was not prepared for the death of the fan-favorite character Dale. Dale is played by Jeffery DeMunn and he made his final appearance during the last episode. And yes, his exit was just as gruesome as you would expect from “The Walking Dead.” In case you missed it and need to know, Dale was injured by a roaming zombie and then mercifully euthanized with a bullet to the head by Daryl, played by Norman Reedus.

Robert Kirkman, who is the executive producer of the AMC hit series took time to discuss the decision to kill the character of Dale.

“Dale’s death comes at a time where he’s very much needed, [Rick and the gang] are trying to make this decision on what to do with Randall. The farm is becoming increasingly dangerous. There is still tension between Rick and Shane, despite the fact that it appears that they’ve put much of their differences behind them for now. They need that moral compass [in Dale], and it’s been taken away.”

Kirkman has also promised fans that Dale’s death will not go in vain. It will have some major repercussions on the rest of the cast and the season. You can bet that among those it will affect the most will be Carl as he was partially responsible for the death of Dale. (Earlier in the episode, Carl had gone into the forest alone and taunted a *seemingly* immobile zombie, which you guessed, would be the one to injure Dale.)

“It’s interesting to see Carl doing kid stuff: going out on his own, trying to prove he’s strong enough to kill a zombie, proving that he’s deserving of carrying a gun,” Kirkman said. “He instigated this whole situation. We’re going to deal with his emotions and what comes from him causing Dale’s death to a certain extent. That’s definitely one of the big repercussions where Dale’s death affects these characters.”

Fans of the comic books will note that Dale’s death is a deviation from the original comic book text. In the comics, Dale goes on to survive several SEVERAL issues before finally being bitten by a zombie.

Kirkman explained the changed by saying,

“One of the things we wanted to do is show how dangerous these zombies actually are. We were sitting around the writers’ room early on in the planning of season two, and we thought, you know, there aren’t a lot of zombies actually succeeding in what they’re trying to do. They eat people here and there, but we’ve never really had a zombie actually take down one of our main characters — at least not for a while, not since the first season. We wanted to remind people how dangerous these creatures are. It also threw a wrench in everyone’s plans to take Dale off the table, so those two ideas merged into one until we eventually came to offing this character.”

One of the biggest loses from the death is not the character it self, but the actor. DeMunn has long been one of the favorite actors on the show. Kirkman, however, has said that they did not treat his departure lightly.

“It’s a tremendous loss,” he admitted. “It’s difficult. It’s difficult for the cast, because they’ve become pretty much a family hanging out in rural Georgia. They keep each other company. It’s definitely a big deal [losing Jeffrey]; it sucks for everybody. Jeffrey in particular brought a serious sense of gravitas to the role and definitely legitimized this show by gracing us with his presence. We were lucky to get an actor of his caliber. He added a lot to the show, and his presence is definitely going to be missed.”

But Kirkman defended the choice with one last line.

“this is ‘The Walking Dead.’ It would be inaccurate to portray this show as anything other than completely dangerous, and in order to do that, you have to lose characters from time to time.”

So while the death of this character, as he put it, sucks, there is at least a good reason behind it. No one wanted to see Dale killed this early on, but sometimes you have to remember, zombies are not playthings…. they will kill those you love. When Z-day comes, just remember that. (Oh and also don’t taunt a zombie even if you think it is immobile)

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