There’s really no hotter show on television right now than The Walking Dead, and there’s luckily such a huge audience that it’s not too hard to find friends to freak out with at each twist and turn. Honestly, half the fun of watching The Walking Dead is getting to talk about The Walking Dead. As it happens, however, there are plenty of obscure little factoids about that show that don’t get all that much chatter because there just aren’t too many people in the know about them. With Season 6 all set to wrap up in a matter of days, here is a list of 12 Walking Dead facts that may just be weird enough to keep us talking over hiatus.
Carl Has An Unlikely Body DoubleThe zombie apocalypse isn’t exactly a safe place, so the actors of The Walking Dead have had to make use of stunt doubles over the years. Young Chandler Riggs as Carl originally shared a stunt double with Madison Lintz as Sophia, and that stunt double was a young woman then in her late teens by the name of Savana Jade Wehunt. Once Riggs hit puberty, Wehunt was replaced...by a 29-year old stuntwoman named Emily Brobst for Season 4. Evidently, Riggs is still a few growth spurts away from being able to share a double with Norman Reedus.
Merle Almost Got Michael Rooker ArrestedMichael Rooker made a heck of a first impression as Merle in Season 1 with his drug-addled wild card racist rants in downtown Atlanta. Merle wasn’t a character many of us would have wanted to hang out with, but he sure was fun to watch. Local Georgians didn’t exactly share that fun when his early scenes were being shot, however, and they called the police when they heard gunshots during filming on a rooftop for the episode "Guts." The SWAT team showed up to deal with the situation, only to find Rooker firing blanks.
Shane Wasn’t Supposed To Make It To Season 2Shane Walsh was one of the biggest characters of the first two seasons of the show. Frankly, Season 2 on the farm would have probably been a total bore if not for Shane slowly deteriorating in the background. If Frank Darabont’s original plan for the series had come to pass, Shane never would have survived the first season. When The Walking Dead was only given six episodes for Season 1, Shane outlived his comic counterpart and became a driving force for much of the plot during Season 2.
Jeffrey DeMunn Actually Saved HershelJeffrey DeMunn as Dale had an important part on The Walking Dead as the moral compass of the survivors, but his time on the show was cut short when he requested to be written off following his pal Frank Darabont’s departure. Darabont's replacement showrunner Glen Mazzara had already been planning to kill off Hershel by the end of Season 2; feeling that killing off two older moral compasses within a few episodes would be too much, Mazzara spared Hershel and gave him much of Dale's comic plot in Season 3.
A Fan Bit Norman ReedusDespite getting off to a rocky and pretty racist start as Daryl Dixon in Season 1, Norman Reedus quickly became a favorite among fans. The enthusiasm has resulted in some weird experiences for the actor, ranging from bizarre gifts to being bitten by a particularly rabid fan. Yes, Norman Reedus was bitten at a Walker Stalker convention by a fan that Reedus describes as turning into "a werewolf" at the sight of him. Reedus wasn’t injured and didn’t press charges, but he did get a great story to tell out of the experience.
Lauren Cohan Was Pulled Over As MaggieConsidering all the work that goes in to transforming sets into a zombie apocalypse wasteland and extras into zombies, actors must have a hard time returning to the real world sometimes. In the case of Maggie actress Lauren Cohan, however, she had a swift jolt back to reality when she left set after a hard day of zombie-slaying and was pulled over by a cop while still covered with fake blood and Walker guts. Surprisingly, the officer was more interested in a date than why she looked like she’d gone on a recent murder spree.
Ticks Are The Real ThreatThe Walking Dead may be about how zombies have overrun the world and annihilated most of the population, but filming in the Georgia wilds has meant that the actors have faced trouble much harder to escape than a horde of Walkers: lots and lots of teeny tiny ticks all over their bodies. While Norman Reedus learned to deal with the pesky critters, Steven Yeun suffered a surely nightmare-inducing tick invasion of his nether regions. Zombies really don't seem all that bad in comparison.
The Walking Dead Is A Very Small WorldRick’s group of survivors have traveled all over the place over the six seasons so far, but The Walking Dead hasn’t strayed too far from where it began in Georgia. The show has done a great deal of filming in and around the town of Sequoia. In fact, Sequoia served as Woodbury during the Governor’s reign in Season 3, and Alexandria is set right next to it. The prison from Seasons 3 and 4 was only about a mile from where Hershel’s farm was located, and the destroyed prison was redressed to serve as the construction site outside of Alexandria.
Life In Sequoia Has Its DownsidesAs much fun as it might be for fans of The Walking Dead to visit Sequoia, permanent residents don’t have it easy. They do get paid an average of $400 per month for the trouble of having The Walking Dead in their backyards, but one Sequoia man wasn’t too happy when the police showed up to tell him off for making noise while trimming his trees. The glamour has to fade once the restrictions on entering/exiting homes set in for the locals, and explosions in the wee hours of the morning can’t be fun for anybody.
Greg Nicotero Dies A LotGreg Nicotero does an awful lot on The Walking Dead. As the head of the special effects makeup department, he’s responsible for making the zombies on the show look as disgustingly great as they do. Throw in his duties as executive producer and occasional director, and Nicotero is a busy man. Still, his packed schedule hasn’t stopped him from playing different zombies on the show, and he’s been killed by the good guys in some pretty creative ways. He made his debut as a zombie being ultimately put down by Daryl, and he was killed three times just by Andrea alone.
Not All Zombies Are ExtrasFamous folks can be as big of fans of The Walking Dead as any of us, and some have had their faces zombified for the show. Former Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Hines Ward played a Walker who was put down in Season 3 at Woodbury, and Anthrax legend Scott Ian got a pole through the head as a Walker thanks to Carl in Season 5. Even Johnny Depp made a cameo of sorts in a recent episode when his head was used as a model for a decapitated Walker.
The Walking Dead Has Breaking Bad Easter EggsAMC’s two biggest series have undoubtedly been Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead. While the settings, genres, and stories made it impossible for even the most hopeful among us to imagine a crossover to be in the works, the zombie drama has seemed to nod at AMC's series every once and awhile. Back in the day, Daryl rifled through Merle’s pouch of drugs looking for antibiotics and pulled out a little bag of Walt and Jesse’s special blue meth. Thus, the shows were connected and everything became much more awesome.
Carl Was A Robert Kirkman FanGiven the zombie apocalypse doesn’t allow the survivors too many opportunities to update their wardrobes, Carl was stuck in the same ratty t-shirt with the image of an atomic paw print of a dog for years. As it turns out, that atomic paw print is actually a nod to Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman’s comic creation Science Dog. Science Dog is a dog turned anthropomorphic after a science accident, who then proceeded to go on adventures around the world. All things considered, Carl’s t-shirt is likely the closest Kirkman will ever get to a Science Dog/Walking Dead crossover.
The finale to Season 6 of The Walking Dead airs on April 3 at 9 p.m. ET on AMC.