The Walking Dead Almost Killed Off Carol In Season 3
As we head into The Walking Dead‘s eleventh and final season, there aren’t many characters left who’ve been with the show since its first few runs. But someone who’s lasted the whole stretch of the series so far is Melissa McBride’s Carol Peletier. As comic book fans will know, this is a big change from her fate in the original source material, where she perished after just 42 issues.
But Carol could have also met an early end in the TV series, too. Back in season 3, she was presumed dead during a walker attack on the prison as, though T-Dog sacrifices himself to save her, we weren’t shown if she survived or not. But in the next episode, we discovered that she was fine. However, there were serious discussions going on in the writers room at the time about whether Carol should make it through.
Scott M. Gimple – who was a supervising producer during that period of the show, though he now stands as TWD‘s chief creative officer – reflected to Looper that he fought for Carol to stick around as he believed that the character’s journey should continue and knew that the series would lose a lot of great material from McBride if she was killed off so soon.
“There was some investigation going on about killing Carol. It got pretty far down the line and I was pretty hardcore against that,” Gimple said. “Because I saw her journey of going from somebody under her ex-husband’s thumb to being a warrior. It just looked like the most amazing journey for our character to have and having worked with Melissa McBride up to that point, it was like, ‘Oh, well, she could do that. She can do anything.'”
The showrunner at this point was Glen Mazzaro, who’s admitted in the past that the decision to kill off Carol got so far along the line that he actually phoned McBride to let her know about her character’s fate. Only later did the writers change their minds and elect to keep her around. Former star Andrew Lincoln has also claimed that it was Lori actress Sarah Wayne Callies who convinced them otherwise, arguing that it would be a “terrible mistake” to kill Carol.
Thankfully, we know the writers aren’t going to make this mistake again, as McBride is confirmed to be leading her own spinoff series alongside Norman Reedus’ Daryl following the conclusion of The Walking Dead in 2022.