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The Walking Dead creator wanted to kill this character for fun

When it comes to any of the best horror series, we can expect characters to go at any time. But when it comes to The Walking Dead, we nearly lost a major one.

Andrew Lincoln and Norman Reedus as Rick and Daryl in The Walking Dead

The Walking Dead has plenty of kills on its character sheet. After all, it’s in the name. From shocking deaths of long-standing players to tragic supporting character demises, The Walking Dead has been killing it from day one. But it’s always been part of the plot.

When The Walking Dead first premiered in 2010, it was one of the best horror series of its time. Frankly, we hadn’t seen anything like it before on the small screen. There were plenty of twists and turns, emotional backbones, and frightening moments in the drama series, and we fully expect that to continue in the numerous spin-offs that are currently either airing or on the way.

But there was one character that the creator, Robert Kirkman, always wanted to kill off earlier. In fact, it’s such a major character that we find it kind of shocking they were almost axed prematurely.

In an effort to try and separate The Walking Dead from its original comic book source material as much as possible, Kirkman wanted to surprise the audience. One of the ways he felt that he could do this was to kill of its protagonist, Rick Grimes.

If you’re familiar with The Walking Dead cast, you’ll know that Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) is the audience’s guide through the show. The story begins with him when he awakens from a coma to find the world completely ravaged by a zombie takeover. So the idea of him quickly meeting his end is almost unimaginable.

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“With The Walking Dead, I was much younger and much more reckless,” Kirkman said at Comic Con 2023 [via Entertainment Weekly]. “I was an absolute lunatic. I would get in the writers’ room and be like, ‘Kill Rick Grimes today! I don’t care! It’ll be funny! People will freak out, and it’ll be fun!’ The writers were like, ‘Robert, you’re crazy. We can’t do that.’ But any time there were big changes in The Walking Dead, that’s what excited me.”

It’s understandable that Kirkman may have wanted to make an impact with the show separate to that of the comic. But with so many characters coming and going throughout the show’s 12 year tenure, Rick was a necessary consistency to have. And although it may have appeared that he was killed off in an explosion in season 9, it was confirmed in the final season of the show that he had survived.

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Good thing, too, since Lincoln is set to return as Rick Grimes in the newest Walking Dead spin-off, The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live. Hey, maybe this’ll be the one where he gets the early cut. We’ll just have to watch and see!

Now, go find out which Walking Dead star finished the horror series with two broken feet.