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Major spoilers below for The Walking Dead's latest episode, titled "Worth."
The back half of The Walking Dead Season 8 has seen many fissures appearing all throughout the Saviors' ranks, with Simon and Dwight working to disrupt Negan's reign, both independently and together. "Worth" threw a giant wrench in those spokes, though, taking Simon out of the running to be Negan's potential successor. And unfortunately for the villain's fans, Simon's exit was most certainly a permanent one, as he was strangled to death by his resource-saving leader. And our nightmares may forever be haunted by Simon's purplish and bulbous visage.
CinemaBlend spoke with star Steven Ogg ahead of the episode, and when I asked how he felt about being killed off the show, here's what he told me:
I mean, you know, [I've had] time obviously since shooting it in November. There's been a lot of time, so you gotta get over that shit. It's sad to not go back -- to work, to play, to be around everyone. That hurts. I never really feel like not getting to play Simon again is going to keep me up at night. It's just more the environment that you're gonna miss, that environment of work and being with those people. That's the biggest thing. And yeah, of course, in a sense, it's so much fun to play that character, that you do miss that freedom that's gonna come with playing a character like that.
Sounds like fans may lose more sleep than Steven Ogg about Simon's death in the near future, especially since he's had the past five or six months to accept the reality of (presumably) not showing up in The Walking Dead Season 9 and beyond. To most, Simon's death may not have been as heartbreaking as Carl's was, and it definitely didn't center on future virtues in the same way. But it's always a damned shame when The Walking Dead takes out its most interesting and watchable villains, and a big void will be felt without Simon's cocksure swagger around. Even Ogg himself will miss that element of the ruthless Savior.
At least Simon got to bid farewell to life in a fitfully badass way: in a bare-knuckle brawl against Negan, amidst a sea of aghast Saviors. Perhaps as a testament to his popularity, Simon got to throw the backward first punch in that fight -- more on that here -- and he gave Negan his fair share of bruises. But Simon was overcome in the end, and it's like Negan said, what else could he have done but "crush the guy's throat?" Since Simon and Negan's respective fanbases were likely waiting for just such a showdown to occur, there will likely be another mini-backlash against Negan for taking his second banana out like that, even though Simon absolutely deserved it.
When I noted that Simon would likely go down as one of the most beloved Walking Dead villains of all time, here's how Ogg responded.
That'll be interesting to see. People have certainly responded to him. I think he was fun, and I think he was definitely an unpredictable, dynamic son of a bitch that brought some color, hopefully, and something different to the show. That's what you want to do is bring something different.
Looking back over the past eight seasons, Simon definitely stands out as being different, not only when considering the villains, but among all of the survivors. In some ways, he was closer to the comic book's version of Negan than Jeffrey Dean Morgan's live-action interpretation has been, though a shade or two lighter on the flowery language. There won't be anyone else like him, either.
Head to the next page to see what Steven Ogg told us about Simon getting turned into a walker.
By strangling Simon to death, Negan kept it so that Simon would eventually turn into a walker. And instead of choosing to put a blade through his brain in the aftermath, Negan strapped Simon to the Sanctuary's fence after the undead transformation went through. I love seeing the show's stars in their walker forms, so I had to ask Steven Ogg about getting to play Walker Simon. In his words:
It was fun. It was good. You know, you appreciate when they give you a nice death and a farewell like that. Because you sort of in a sense feel like, 'Oh yeah, they cared enough.' And it was fun to go through the makeup process, and to sit and have that done to you, and to get the contacts in. It was cool!
Indeed, there have been lots of Walking Dead characters who weren't able to come back as walkers, and though that obviously doesn't imply anything negative about how the creative team felt about those characters, I choose to believe that Simon fully earned his quasi-resurrection. But was it the last time we'll see Simon's undead form on The Walking Dead? Here's what Ogg told me.
I don't know. I think that was pretty much it for the fence. I can't say for certain. I don't know, you never know what they'll end up using.
I, for one, would be down with seeing Walker Simon skulking around the background of The Walking Dead's Season 8 finale, which airs on AMC on Sunday, April 15, at 9:00 p.m. ET. (To be followed by Fear the Walking Dead's Season 4 premiere.) And to see what other new and returning shows are on the way, head over to our midseason premiere schedule and our summer premiere schedule.