‘The Walking Dead’ Season 3: Which Cast Member Hated Their Character’s Death?
Safety is never guaranteed among ‘The Walking Dead‘s many characters, a prospect as true of the AMC series as the Image comics that inspired it. And yet as ‘The Walking Dead’ season 3 prepares to come to an end with Sunday’s upcoming finale “Welcome to the Tombs,” one major cast member is speaking out about their “unfortunate” exit and their character’s unfulfilled potential. Spoilers be warned, find out who isn’t happy about being killed off inside!
SPOILER WARNINGS from here on out, but it seems one ‘Walking Dead’ cast member has rather quickly turned on the writers after being killed off. This past Sunday’s episode “This Sorrowful Life” saw the long-brewing (if partial) redemption of foul-mouthed racist redneck Merle Dixon, but actor Michael Rooker recently told TVGuide he was less than happy with the character’s tragic exit:
“I thought it was unfortunate, and I did not necessarily agree with the choice to do this,” said Rooker of the character’s unfortunate end. “It was a big build up and you really didn’t get the true payoff. We had a great through line for this season, but the fans want more. They’re not very happy. I don’t think a lot of the true Walking Dead fans are happy with this. But, as you know, as actors, we don’t have a choice in the matter. It’s cliché, I know, but it’s so true: When one door closes, another door opens.”
Rooker was also critical about the editing choices that made it appear Merle would have missed his shot at the Governor during the character’s final stand, instead hitting comic character Ben, but Rooker still praised the opportunity to play such a complex and divisive character who went out protecting his brother any way he could.
The sad part is that the potential of this character was not truly fulfilled. We could’ve done a lot of things with this character. The creators, the writers and all these folks are thinking way farther in advance. I just had to play it earnest and as true as I possibly could play it. You can’t be thinking, “Oh, I’m so sad. I’m out of the show now.” That’s bulls—. You play the scene. You play the moment.
Considering Merle only appeared in three episodes over the course of the first two seasons, the third of which was a hallucination of Daryl’s, we might agree that the rapid pace of ‘The Walking Dead’s third season left little time to truly develop Merle, even with Rooker’s full-time return. Still, there’s always the chance that Merle Dixon could return in flashback or hallucination, provided his brother Daryl (Norman Reedus) makes it through to season 4. Otherwise, we riot.
What say you? Do you think Merle’s death left the character’s potential unfulfilled? How do you think ‘The Walking Dead’ should have handled the character? You can read the full interview at TVGuide, give us your thoughts in the comments below, and keep checking back for our our coverage leading up to Sunday’s ‘The Walking Dead’ season 3 finale “Welcome to the Tombs!”