Few characters have lasted the whole stretch on The Walking Dead, but Melissa McBride is one of them. However, things could have gone very differently if initial plans to off her character Carol Peletier back in season 3 had gone through.
Speaking at the AMC Networks summit, TWD‘s Chief Content Officer Scott M. Gimple revealed that he was asked to kill off Carol in the third season by then showrunner Glen Mazarro. Gimple fought to keep her alive, though, as he thought the character had so much more potential.
“I was dead set against it, because I thought it would be a great story to see a person who came from abuse become the hero and not in an easy way, that she herself had to struggle with the power that she found.”
The original plan was changed when T-Dog (IronE Singleton) was selected to perish in Carol’s place in the fourth episode of season 3, titled “Killer Within,” as he sacrificed himself by rescuing Carol from a walker attack.
“And that is I think Carol’s great story is that she found that she was strong, she found she had this superpower, but then it wouldn’t be easy. It wasn’t happy ever after after that, that she had responsibility and there was a weight to that strength that she found.”
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Keeping Carol alive was certainly the right decision. Apart from being a fan favorite, Carol’s character development over the years has been one of the strongest on the show, as viewers have seen her go from an abused wife and mother to an embattled former queen.
McBride was also at the event and emotionally explained that she feels it’s so important to tell stories about women who’ve been through experiences like Carol has.
“Personally, it’s been so important to me to see her become strong. It’s really hard for me to talk about that aspect of her without getting just boiled up inside because I know people like her that didn’t make it.”
When we last saw Carol, she’d faced yet another personal heartbreak, as Alpha and the Whisperers had murdered her son, Henry. The season 9 finale revealed that this had caused her marriage with Ezekiel to deteriorate and she had moved back to Alexandria. We’ll have to see what’s next for the character when The Walking Dead season 10 arrives in the fall.