I always wondered this. While being an actor on The Walking Dead always comes with an expiration date, it is still a loss when their character’s die. The question is: do the killed off actors still watch the show that they used to be a part of? Spoiler Alert: If you’re not caught up on The Walking Dead, spoilers below for both last season and this most recent episode.
Emily Kinney, who played fan favorite Beth Greene in seasons 2-5, recently opened up about how it feels to be a viewer, instead of a cast member.
The people that I haven’t even met that are big [characters now] — that’s sort of like, whoa! I don’t want to compare this amazing job to high school, but it’s a little bit like when you go back to your high school to be like, ‘Oh, hey, teacher I miss, or friend I miss,’ and you feel like there’s something different and feel a little weird. It’s nothing bad, but you’re sort of like, oh, I guess I’ve moved on in a certain way. It’s just what happens.
This kinda breaks your heart, doesn’t it? Beth’s death was the WTF moment from last season’s mid-season finale, that left us reeling in grief. This was only made worse with Emily Kinney’s appearance on The Talking Dead where she broke down in tears because of how much she’d miss the other actors. So, in addition to mourning the character of Beth, we also felt empathy for the major change about to happen in Kinney’s life.
The process of actors being told they were going to be killed off was addressed in the most recent episode of The Talking Dead as well. Tovah Feldshuh, who played Alexandria leader Deanna, expressed a few times during the episode how unhappy she was to be killed off during this season’s (mostly disappointing) mid-series finale. Feldshuh went so far as to joke about who she had to sleep with in order to get a flashback scene, and be back on set.
While Emily Kinney is currently watching The Walking Dead, she mentioned in her interview with Entertainment Weekly radio that it did take her a while after Beth’s death to start watching. In fact, she’s a few episodes behind, and still isn’t sure about Glenn’s fate.
I can’t say I blame Kinney for needing some grieving time before she could start her Walking Dead journey as an audience member. We saw such a growth in Beth’s character through her tenure on the show, and it did take her until season 5 to appear on the opening credits. Now, she’s forced to watch said credits with her name once again being absent, which I can imagine must sting a bit.
While we have a few months to wait till The Walking Dead returns, it seems that more of Emily Kinney’s friends in the cast might be suffering the same fate as Beth. With Negan’s debut promising a darker and more violent group of episodes than we’ve seen in awhile, I can’t help but imagine that a few of the survivors will be meeting their makers real soon.