Time and time again, The Walking Dead has proved it isn’t afraid to kill off its characters. Some deaths have been more controversial than others, but one in particular was seemingly a big no-no for former lead actor Andrew Lincoln.
The death that the Rick Grimes star opposed might come as a surprise, too. Cast your mind back to the first episode of season 3 when the gang arrives at the prison they would later call home and encounters a number of surviving inmates holed up there. Each member of that group would meet their maker during that season, with Axel, played by Lew Temple, outliving his companions by lasting until episode 10.
Axel established himself as a popular figure among the cast during the first 10 episodes of season 3, so his death at the hands of the Governor came as a real stringer. It didn’t go down well with some, and according to Temple, Lincoln stepped up and attempted to convince the showrunners to kill off another character instead.
“I was notified three weeks in advance. I was asked at the time not to talk about it because it wasn’t set in stone. As a matter of fact, Andrew Lincoln then went to the production, to the producers, and said, ‘I think we’re making a mistake here, let’s not do this just yet.'”
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Apparently, the Walking Dead creative team took Lincoln’s concerns on board and held lengthy discussions about whether to go ahead with Axel’s demise. Temple claims they even considered killing off a series regular as an alternative before holding firm and having his character die as planned, establishing the Governor as a major threat in the process.
The fact that the showrunners considered reversing their plans shows just how much influence Lincoln had on The Walking Dead set. Although he’s since left the mainline series, the actor will reprise his role as Grimes in a trilogy of upcoming movies, and given Temple’s comments, it begs the question of whether Lincoln has had much creative input on how these films will play out.
Rumor has it that Andrew may also return to the TV show to lead it towards its ultimate conclusion. Hopefully that’s true because it would help the AMC series deliver a fan-pleasing finale and give Grimes a better sendoff than the one he had on that burning bridge during season 9.