This weekend brought us one of the most action-packed hours of The Walking Dead in a while, as episode 2 of season 8, titled “The Damned,” featured what has to be the show’s biggest gun battle ever. As the Alexandrians and the Saviors went to war, several lower-tier characters were seemingly killed off, including Jordan Woods-Robinson’s Eric.
So, how does a director on The Walking Dead approach handling the death of a regular? For Rosemary Rodriguez, it’s a serous topic, as she knows that leaving a series they’ve worked on for a while can really get to an actor. On TWD, however, the cast know to expect that their time could be up at any moment.
“The good thing about The Walking Dead is actors coming to it, kind of knowing that could happen any moment in any episode. There are other shows where it’s not really a part of the landscape. Those are the ones that are really difficult.”
Rodriguez went on to compare the experience of being on AMC’s hit series to other shows, where unlucky cast members learn that they’re on their way out by reading a script.
“You talked to the creator of the show or the writer and you’re like ‘Hey um, you guys powder coat this because I don’t want to be the one that fouls up. Then you find out sometimes nobody told them and they get their script and they’re in their hotel room on the weekend and they are suicidal before they come to set and you’re like ‘Oh, my God. Nobody told you that you were going to kicked off the show.'”
The director then noted that it was a relief that she wasn’t the person responsible for telling the actors in question that their time was up on the show. “At least with The Walking Dead they kinda know it can happen at any time,” she added.
Rodriguez is right about the cast always being prepared for the worst. One of the show’s most celebrated – though it’s sometimes criticized, too – elements is that literally everyone is in danger of getting the chop at a moment’s notice. Even Andrew Lincoln’s job is not guaranteed to continue for the length of the series, as he’s said on many occasions recently that Rick Grimes could absolutely die at some point.
Likewise, we know that some major deaths are due to occur before this year’s midseason finale. Who will meet their maker remains to be seen, but it’s clear that no one is safe.
The Walking Dead airs new episodes every Sunday on AMC.