The Walking Dead, which revived the horror and zombie genre on TV, has seen numerous stars leave the iconic program over the years. Whether it was The Walking Dead actor choosing to quit over the death of a certain character or taking another job, stars have been solely missed by fans. It has lost many of its beloved cast to zombies over the years – here’s exactly why they were killed off.
After 12 years of chair-gripping zombie battles and survival tactics, The Walking Dead is wrapping up its final season. The epic story is to come to an end on November 20.
Based on the comic series of the same name, the horror series sparked a resurgence of the post-apocalyptic genre in film and gaming.
Its initial starring characters, including Dale Horvath, Carl Grimes, and Rick Grimes among others, have been absent since at least season 8. The good news is that the actors weren’t forced out of the Walking Dead show; they opted to leave. However, one celebrity wasn’t pleased with how things went down, apparently.
Why each of these actors from The Walking Dead quit or left the show
Now, if we’re talking about any actor who quit The Walking Dead, we have to mention Jeffrey DeMunn.
Jeffrey DeMunn added The Walking Dead to his impressive portfolio in the series premiere. First seen as a survivor outside Atlanta, the fisherman bucket hat-wearing Dale Horvath takes in Andrea and Amy during the outbreak. He becomes particularly protective of the duo.
The fan-favorite character unexpectedly exited in the latter half of season 2, despite Horvath surviving much longer in the comic books.
DeMunn and show developer Frank Darabont had a close relationship before the AMC show as they collaborated on The Shawshank Redemption. Darabont exited the project after clashes with AMC and other parties over TWD’s creative direction. As a loyal friend, DeMunn followed Darabont, claiming he was “furious” with how the showrunner was ousted.
“Dale’s death was my decision,” he told Cleveland.com.
“I was furious about how Frank was pushed out of the show. I spent a week not being able to take a full breath. And then I realized, ‘Oh, I can quit.’ So I called them and said, ‘It’s a zombie show. Kill me. I don’t want to do this anymore.’ It was an immense relief to me.”
It was only a matter of time until series protagonist Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) was killed off the show. However, luckily, that time came only in season 9 and not much earlier.
The responsibility of leading the Alexandria Safe-Zone became too much to bear for Lincoln, 49, prompting his departure. The British actor was separated from his family for months on end for filming and couldn’t balance work and family.
“Yes, it’s my last season on the TV show,” he told fans at 2018’s San Diego Comic Con.
“I have two young children, and I live in a different country, and they become less portable as they get older. It was that simple. It was time for me to come home.”
Danai Gurira entered as Michonne, the brave and mysterious warrior, who later became Rick’s second wife.
The American-Zimbabwean actress followed her on-screen husband’s footsteps a year later with her department announcement at Comic Con 2019. Citing new opportunities as the reason, Gurira reassured she would miss the show immensely.
“It is not connected to my heart,” the actress explained. “My heart stays right here. It was about my calling and other things I feel called to. The opportunities I’ve had, exploring it as a creator of work.”
She added: “I’m filled with a lot of pain about leaving and a lot of gratitude.”
Former newbie Chandler Riggs got his big break as TWD’s Carl Grimes, who met his fate halfway through season 8. His slow death came after the teen was bitten to save Siddiq. Initially hiding his wound from his father, the zombie effects soon became apparent, prompting his suicide.
In reality, Riggs left to focus on his studies in sociology and psychology at Auburn University. However, his exit wasn’t by choice.
He took a gap year to focus on acting, and so leaving TWD wasn’t expected.
“It was all story-related. It made sense story-wise for it to happen for Rick and Michonne and all the other characters,” he told Hollywood Reporter.
The young star added: “It was devastating for me and my family because the show has been such a huge part of my life for so long. For a few days, we didn’t know what to do.”
The actor even bought a house near the filming location, making the news even harder to process.
He was, however, pleased to move on to other projects.
In other news, Wednesday was not filmed at Gilmore Girls’ Stars Hollow set