How One Walking Dead Actress Found Out The Show Was Killing Her Off

Spoilers for last night’s The Walking Dead Season 6 midseason finale are below.

All kinds of madness happened on last night’s episode of The Walking Dead, from hostage situations to a Negan reference to everybody smearing walker nastiness all over themselves. There was only one major death, though, as former Alexandria leader Deanna went out in a blaze of walker-shooting glory. As you might imagine, actress Tovah Feldshuh knew ahead of time that her character was going to die, but it came up a little earlier than expected.

According to Feldshuh, she was considering her future living options when showrunner Scott Gimple was somewhat forced into cluing her in.

He was incredibly respectful and he felt compelled to give me quite a bit of notice. He’s just the most wonderful man. I was looking at various rental properties that would have various leases, and when he got wind of that he called immediately. And so I’ve been holding this secret for a while. Everybody comes on The Walking Dead to die and no actor is not told or doesn’t get that call before it happens. But very often it’s just a few weeks [of notice].

That’s got to be a major blow to the psyche. Here Feldshuh was, checking out houses and probably feeling pretty good about being on one of TV’s most popular dramas. There’s a good chance she was also pumped up about the rental homes she was looking at and thinking about spending a good deal of time in one of them. And then boom, out of nowhere comes the reveal that Deanna was not long for the world of The Walking Dead.

the walking dead

I mean, she technically could have just read the comics and mentally set herself up for a shorter-than-normal stint on the show. Obviously Gimple and creator Robert Kirkman make some big changes in adapting the source material for the TV show, but this isn’t a series where non-Rick leaders tend to survive. That doesn’t mean Feldshuh just took the knowledge and accepted it without pushing back, though.

Feldshuh told EW that she gave Gimple a couple of suggestions for what to do with the character that didn’t involve just killing her off. One of her scenarios involved Deanna setting up Rick as the leader – which she did during their last conversation – and then leaving Alexandria behind to put her political mind to use in creating a webbed link between other communities in the surrounding area. Which, technically, is something that’s going to happen on the show anyway, so it’s not that far-fetched. But her second plan was a tad more out there.

My other idea is that even though I have been bitten, I’m the one with the cure. It’s in the blood. I’m the one with the immune ability somehow to survive it. But that’s yet to be seen.

I don’t think fans would react too kindly to things if a cure was introduced out of the blue like this. But then almost nothing in this show pleases all of the fans all of the time.

The Walking Dead will return for the Deanna-free portion of Season 6 on Sunday, February 14.

Photo Credit@AMC

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native and an Assistant Managing Editor with a focus on TV and features. His humble origin story with CinemaBlend began all the way back in the pre-streaming era, circa 2009, as a freelancing DVD reviewer and TV recapper.  Nick leapfrogged over to the small screen to cover more and more television news and interviews, eventually taking over the section for the current era and covering topics like Yellowstone, The Walking Dead and horror. Born in Louisiana and currently living in Texas — Who Dat Nation over America’s Team all day, all night — Nick spent several years in the hospitality industry, and also worked as a 911 operator. If you ever happened to hear his music or read his comics/short stories, you have his sympathy.