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WALKING DEAD Actors Talk About Their Characters' Deaths

TV The Walking Dead by Joey Paur

Spoilers Ahead for those who haven't watched the last episode of The Walking Dead...

Last Sunday's episode was extremely shocking and heartbreaking. Two major characters died, and the series will movie forward, but it will never be the same.

T-Dog (IronE Singleton) heroically died as he was torn to pieces and eaten by zombies to save Carol, and Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) died while giving birth to her newborn baby. A death which didn't follow the comics, but I thought it was more powerful. Lori tells Maggie to cut out the baby and says goodbye to Carl, who then is forced to put a bullet into his mom's head to keep her from turning into a zombie. 

In a recent conference call interview, Sarah Wayne Callies talked about her characters death, and the process they went through to develop it. 

Lori's death is very unique, I think, among the one's we've had on The Walking Dead because it's one that she's chosen. So it's an interesting tone because it's not surrounded by quite the same level of crisis and panic, although she's clearly in a situation where things are going to go badly with or without her choice.

For those of you who aren't reading the comics, Comics Lori is shot and killed by the Governor while holding the baby. So the fact that Lori died without meeting the Governor, and that the baby survives, will definitely take the series in a whole new direction. When Darabont was working on the show, he was looking for a way around Lori's death,

Frank [Darabont] and I talked a lot about the necessity of Lori dying and he fought me on it. He said he thought he had a way around it. We never got a chance to see how that would work out.

After he left, Glen Mazzara took over, and that's where the real discussion about her character began.

Glen [Mazzara] and I talked about it a lot, not just what that scene would be like, but how we owned that moment through the first two episodes of the season because originally there was a different timeline and we had longer to build to that moment. And so when it got shortened we talked about what we needed, what pieces had to be in place both for Lori and Carl and for Rick for his development later in this season.

And it is an intimate process because Glen lost his mother shortly before we started writing this season. So I was very aware that this was a scene that he had written about a woman saying goodbye to her son, having just said goodbye to his mother and heard many of those words. We worked the actual script. We batted ideas and lines back and forth for about two weeks and what we shot was a combination of those efforts. 

There were a couple of things that I said that weren't on the page, but were a product of sitting with Chandler in a room and trying to say goodbye to him. And, you know, it's just a great gift of a scene to me as an actor. Not that it's all about me, but I'm an actor. So it's all about me, right?

So how does she feel about leaving the show?

The great gist of that scene to me was that I got to say everything I wanted to say to him and to the show and to the cast. And, you know, people ask me, 'How does it feel to leave the show?' And I just want to say, 'Well, watch the episode.' You'll know exactly how I feel because it's all there. And for many of the other deaths that have come and that will come who don't have that opportunity.

There were some very specific things that mattered to me to find with Lori in the third season and redemption was a big part of that. A sense of redemption in her marriage and a sense of redemption with Carl. And while I don't think either of those were achieved completely, because that would tie things up in a package that is far too neat for our show ... we took steps down that path in a way that I think not only dramatically changes the show, but in a way that I'm grateful too personally because I have such profound affection for Lori.

IronE Singleton then went on to talk about the death of T-Dog, and how he feels about being killed off.

I am totally and completely satisfied with how the show ran. I think that the show was a success of a brilliant team of individuals, everybody coming together doing their part. ... It's not my call to really say that I wanted more or less or anything like that. I'm just so pleased to have been part of something so special, so historical," said Singleton, in a conference call with journalists.

I had no idea I was going to go out so heroically, at the beginning, because when I was first cast in the show I was told that I would do two, maybe three episodes. But I ended up staying on the show for three seasons. So how miraculous is that? So I'm very thankful for that, and when I get the phone call, the death call I call it. ... They told me I was going to die and I was looking forward to reading the script. When I read it I was thankful that he would go out heroically. So it made me feel really appreciated. 

I think it was very liberating because as an actor you start with a clean slate and there's nothing more liberating about starting with something that is not written. So you pretty much create the history of that character; you create that character's rigor, meaning that character's life story.

So whatever you do, whatever you come up with, whatever you decide on, we can go with it and if the director or if the execs they like it, then you'll stick with it. So that's a good thing as opposed to having something that's already written, that's paired down with who your character is. Then you're kind of sticking in a sense to a certain extent.

What did you all think about the deaths of Lori and T-Dog?

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