The cast members of The Walking Dead live in almost constant fear that their character could be killed off at any time. Why, even when folks like Norman Reedus get calls from the producers hiring them for other jobs they still think they are getting bad news. Perhaps making them even more paranoid about their livelihood is the news that The Walking Dead creator already has the cast on death watch, complete with a timetable of all of their demises.
When Robert Kirkman stopped by Entertainment Weekly Radio (SiriusXM, Channel 105) while out at Comic Con, Jessica Shaw and I asked him about how tough it is to say goodbye to someone when they are killed off the show. “It’s kinda worse than that,” says Kirkman. “Because I got a pretty good idea when all of them are dying. To a certain extent, if we follow the comic, like possibly even more than [showrunner] Scott [Gimple] knows.”
Kirkman then began pointing at imaginary bodies around the room to illustrate his point. “So I’m always like…two years, three years, six months, two weeks, oh, God this is awful! It’s really rough. Doing the comic, it was fine because it was just lines on a paper. Whatever. We’re killing that guy. Cool. But the show, it sucks because we all work together, we hang out, and have a great time. But, you know, the story’s gotta get done and people gots to die, as I like to say. It’s pretty rough.”
Even worse, Kirkman and Gimple cannot tell the castmembers in question when their number is up in case plans change last minute. “You can’t tell ’em,” says Kirkman. “Because we change our minds all the time. And that’s the other really bad thing about it. We can’t really give them that much warning because there’s always a chance that we’ll get into actually writing the scripts after we plan things out and we’re like, ‘Nope, that character’s living.’ Which has happened many times. So we don’t want to have many false news giving situations.”
To hear more from Kirkman about season 5 of The Walking Dead, his new movie AIR (with Norman Reedus), and why he loves The Walking Dead Monopoly, click on the audio player below to hear our entire interview. And for more Walking Dead intel, follow me on Twitter @DaltonRoss.