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There are popular TV shows, and then there's AMC's The Walking Dead. The apocalyptic drama has maintained a very strong following into its current eighth season, while struggling a bit to finds its rhythm in the first few. There are currently only three characters left from the show's original Atlanta group, so we've seen plenty of character deaths over the years. One of the earliest shockers was the brutal killing of Dale (Jeffrey DeMunn) in Season 2, far before the character died in the comics. Now DeMunn has shed light on the situation, and revealed he actually asked to be killed off back in the show's sophomore season. He said,
Dale's death was my decision. I was furious about how Frank (Darabont) 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.
Mind blown. While hardcore Walking Dead fans were shocked when Dale was suddenly disemboweled midway through Season 2, it turns out it was actually a personal decision made by the actor himself. Considering the chaos that was occurring onset, it certainly makes sense.
During The Walking Dead's second season on AMC, original showrunner Frank Darabont was fired from the series he developed for the small screen. It's a scandal that has never really faded into the background of pop culture, as Darabont brought TWD to life and assembled the cast. Darabont has sued for financial restitution, considering how much money The Walking Dead has ended up making over the course of its tenure on the air.
The ending of The Walking Dead's second season marked a change for the apocalyptic drama, as the stakes began to really escalate. Rather than sitting around on a farm, villains were introduced and bloody conflicts helped put the show at the top of the ratings. Frank Darabont's departure may have been what was best for The Walking Dead, but it caused plenty of turmoil for those involved in the show.
Jeffrey DeMunn's sense of loyalty toward Frank Darabont makes sense, given their history before The Walking Dead. DeMunn was one of a handful of actors that Darabont brought over from his work on the Stephen King adaptation The Mist. He, Laurie Holden (Andrea), and Melissa McBride (Carol) each had roles in that project, which got them cast in The Walking Dead. Since DeMunn was really only there because of Frank Darabont, it stands to reason that he'd depart after his collaborator was fired.
While Dale's comic death was eventually given to to Bob, his presence was surely missed in the seasons following Jeffrey DeMunn's departure. Still, you have to respect the actor for sticking to his principles.