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On The Walking Dead, it’ll often seem like some characters are too important to die, although there have been major exceptions over the years. Back in Season 3, when T-Dog bit the dust, the creative team almost screwed the pooch by initially setting up fan favorite Carol to die instead. Just look at the flowers, Season 3 creative team.
This could-have-been-heinous reveal was made by executive producer and special effects guru Greg Nicotero, who said the following:
Not a lot of people know that when we were shooting season three, in the episode where T-Dog died, there was a moment where Carol was going to die in lieu of T-Dog’s character. At that point there was some concern in the writers’ room that they didn’t know where to take her character. So the fact that [showrunner] Scott Gimple and the writers have been able to craft this amazing journey for her just goes to show that there is a tremendous amount of story to tell for a lot of these characters.
This tidbit, shared with SFX, sheds some light on how the storytelling process works on the show. This was definitely a point in which Carol was still in her transition from mousey housewife to duplicitous badass, and it’s understandable that no one knew what to do with her. After all, her life in the comic books wasn’t for the long haul, and the survivor crew already had a handful of powerhouse warriors at the forefront. But there’s always room for more, so thank goodness someone stepped in and made the decision to keep her around. Sorry, T-Dog, but we thank you for your brave sacrifice.
The incident in question came during “Killer Within,” which was the fourth episode of Season 3. Can you possibly imagine what would have happened had Carol not been around for the rest of Season 3 and beyond? We would never have gotten as many Daryl and Carol shipping memes over the years. We would never have gotten to see Lizzie pay the ultimate price for killing her sister Mika. We would never have gotten to watch Carol seemingly revert back to her homemaker days and bake cookies for a kid she would later threaten. (Maybe T-Dog was some kind of a killer chef, though.) And what would have happened to the Alexandrians had Carol not been there to murder all those Wolves? They would have died, that’s what!
Of course, now we’re at a point when Robert Kirkman has come out and said that they won’t kill Carol off the show at all. So her safety is almost guaranteed up until the series finale, which means we get to watch her continue developing as time goes on, which will include some more brawling with Morgan. But somebody always has to die on The Walking Dead, and we can’t wait to see who will get it first when the show returns for the remainder of Season 6 on Sunday, February 14, on AMC.