An Open Letter to The Walking Dead: Choose Life

The Walking Dead Season 5As Sunday’s return of The Walking Dead approaches, we’d like to make a request of the powers that be: Stop killing off your original characters.

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It’s already too late to save any other casualties of this season — the last eight episodes are in the can. But thinking ahead to Season 5 and beyond, could you maybe reevaluate the investment that viewers have in the originals? It shouldn’t take long — there are only five left: Rick, Carl, Glenn, Daryl and Carol.

We ask this not because we don’t like the newer characters — we like some (Tyreese and Sasha) and actually love others (Maggie and Michonne). But, because we survived the birth of the zombie nation with the originals, we feel like we’ve walked a long road with them, fought with them, struggled with them, wept with them…

In a sense, they represent us to us.

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So, if we aren’t just connected to them, we are them, you can imagine how off-putting it might be to us to be told, “Nope, this new world is hopeless. Your TV counterpart is walker food.” You’re not just severing our tie to a character, you’re severing our tie to ourselves (and, in one fell swoop, to the show).

Just think about it, okay?

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72 Comments
  1. RobMF says:

    Guy who wrote this, doesn’t understand The Walking Dead at all.

    • M3rc Nate says:

      Lol omg yes, 100% agree. The heart of the show is that anyone (except Carl, and kinda Rick) can be killed. And probably have been already in the comics. Too bad if this conflicts with your normal TV viewing which is sticking with the same characters all through a series. This is The Walking Dead. Like in real life, everyone dies.

      • KevyB says:

        Actually RobMF is somewhat right. The writer got it wrong in that the problem with The Walking Dead is its epic lameness involving the living characters doing anything other than killing zombies. They suck at dealing with each other in an interesting manner. They suck at creating any sort of defensive strategy. Man, they even suck at gardening! That pathetic garden for how many people? This show needs to understand that viewership may be up, but that’s only due to morons who only care about the zombie-killing. If you lose those of us who actually care about characters and story, you’re done. And this is your last chance for most of us. Now all the morons who only care about zombie-killing: flame on!

  2. really?! says:

    The show’s willingness to kill off anyone is what makes it not only realistic but compelling TV. The same goes for the comics — that’s why the franchise is so successful. This post is basically you guys saying to stop doing what makes the series great. Baffling.

    • PSA says:

      Actually, if you consider that in this Zombie era, even the “new” people have survived at least as long as the original cast members in this this given realm. They are just new to us viewers. With that said, would it not be reasonable to think that a certain percentage of the original cast would survive just as these new cast members have survived off camera to this most current point in time. If not then the show is saying that the original crew either had really bad luck or were cursed, because not one could even randomly make it out of this sampling of people. That is pretty bad odds because other groups and individual survivors keep cropping up. Why are they so special to have endured so long? So to think that every last original cast member dying off would be realistic is actually unrealistic.

  3. Real World Inhabitant says:

    Mr. Patrick, with all due respect: you DO know that there is a great big world outside of television, don’t you? I enjoy the Walking Dead and never miss an episode. But in no way do I “identify” with any of its characters, nor do I find their deaths particularly “soul severing.” That’s kind of silly, don’t you think? Finally, I think the television show is taking the lion’s share of its story lines from the graphic novel, with the addition of one or two characters (such as Daryl and Merle, who were created solely for the series). To that end, the “regulars” that have been killed off are a result of the Robert Kirkman’s original narrative and not the whim of some TV exec. Just enjoy!

  4. Ros says:

    I feel like TWD writers need to revaluate their storytelling, its not a good sign that the only amazing episodes are the ones with shoking deaths, thats just lazy writing, move the storyline along without the shock value of killing off characters.

  5. Meredith says:

    Lol, this article is a joke, right?

  6. Alan says:

    yeah lets have a zombie show and not kill off people, that will totally work.
    those who have been killed off have either exited the series when it was their time (herschel, merle, shane), when an actor wanted out (dale), or when the writers finally realised that the character had outstayed their welcome (lori, andrea).
    having people die is an important aspect of zombie stories in general but the walking dead in particular, that anyone can die (except rick, carl, and daryl) attitude is important to the set up of the show, if i wasnt going into episodes thinking someone could die during the next hour then it would lose a lot of what makes it the walking dead and i would begin to wonder what the point of watching is.

    • Mark says:

      Andrea was killed off due to public demand because the writers had screwed her character up so much and caused her to be hated so much. Unlike in the comics her story is still a full and interesting one. And your logic of, ” that anyone can die.” Except certain characters is floored everyone can die the writers have stated on many occasion no one is safe even Daryl, Carl and Rick. And if they really want to mix it up kill Daryl.

      • Erin says:

        Please don’t kill Daryl, he’s my favorite character and it’s very intriguing to watch his relationship blossom with Beth. Though, it would be nice to see something done with his hair.

        • Kaitlin. says:

          Seriously… It’s the zombie apocalypse. When is everybody going to realize that there’s no hairdressers or barber shops? He’s not just going to cut his hair.

          And he said tht he didn’t care about his hair and he needed it for his movie that their filming.

          I love Daryl too, he’s a great character and it’s great to see what he does, and see his character evolve.

          Norman does a great job at acting Daryl out.

      • tracy says:

        If they kill daryl it will end the show I think he makes the show what it is and one of the biggest mess ups the show did was killing merle every show needs a sexy man(daryl) and a**hole(merle) a leader,a brain and someone to talk since into the group I do think that no one should be safe but I also know that if they kill off some of the people like daryl they are going to lose a lot of watchers so in short killing daryl if they want to keep making money they won’t kill daryl everone I talk to loves daryl and would love to see him have a love on the show and I don’t think beth would be the best one for him she is way to young maybe they should bring someone new to the show just for daryl.

    • That’s not at all what the article suggested. Did you really read it? Or just skim the comments?

      • Mark says:

        Yes in fact I have read the article otherwise I wouldn’t have commented on it, and so I stand by my comment. And for the person to claim only certain people are disposable to a point is well wrong and against what the writers and producers have stated on many occasion in many interviews everyone is expendable if they feel the show will benefit. Even the beloved Daryl….. So I stand by what i said and say kill the character to mix it up a bit he isn’t in the comics so impact on the story isn’t going to be all that great in the long run…..

        • Kaitlin. says:

          Yes but Norman (Daryl) has the biggest fan base out there, the most followers and nearly everybody loves him. It would be a huge mistake to kill such an awesome character off, not only would they lose viewers they might lose the show because many people could get angry, maybe threaten…. etc.

          We wouldn’t want to lose such an amazing actor, Normans awesome and his acting skills are marvelous for the character he made the personality.

  7. Jason says:

    I agree that it is cool that they kill off anyone at anytime but the producers really haven’t done a good job of introducing new charaters to care about or have fun with. I like Maggie but she’s not that interesting. THe Govenor was great but he’s gone now too. Michonne I could take or leave! But the best episodes this season were about a completely new group (of course they killed off all those characters in the battle)

  8. Lola says:

    Very few people watch TV live anymore, and the small portion that do are increasingly less likely to be in the 18-49 demographic. This makes advertisers unwilling to pay as much for ads, which makes the TV executives sad. AMC fixed this problem by creating a show where you have to watch live b/c any second a major character might die and you might be spoiled before you can watch it. Putting aside any creative issues with TWD (I have many) and it’s willingness to kill main characters (this is actually not my biggest problem with the show), they’re not going to stop doing something that is ‘event television’ and getting demo numbers the networks would kill for. Plus, is anyone really going to be that super sad if Carl dies?

    • Katherine says:

      A lot of people will be sad if Carl dies, he is a major character and a lot of people love him, especially comic fans because we know where he is heading and it is an amazing, eventful journey. Also, it is extremely interesting to see how this world affects a kid for the long haul.

  9. Teag says:

    I think Daryl will bite the dust within these final 8.

    • hugefan says:

      NOOOOOOO…..NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! Not Daryl….please not him :-) … If you ask me he must be the last man standing, in a happy place, safe from any harm …. Meeting a beatifull woman and have a beautifull life

    • Katherine says:

      We can only hope. He has overstayed his welcome and has become a superhero character who is invincible.

      • Kaitlin. says:

        Your right, it seems that he is a ‘invincible’ character. I don’t think he has overstayed his welcome just yet though, he has to stay! He’s an amazing character with a very different background that we could learn more and more about.

        I really hope he doesn’t bite the dust though, he has to stay hopefully for the remainder of the whole entire show.

        The remaining episodes of season 4 have Norman in them. But it says nothing about season 5 and whether Normans in them so it’s very frightening to wonder if Daryl will survive the finale.

        It’s very gut wrenching and maybe heartbreaking, I can’t wait but I sort of dont want to find out!

        Live on Daryl!

  10. Et al says:

    A more open letter to The Walking Dead: please kill Rick and Carl. The sooner the better.

    • Sheedah says:

      If they kill off Rick Im done with TWD!

    • James-Kacer says:

      That’s a stupid thing to say, without Rick and Carl The show would be about complete strangers surviving together. Rick and Carl add family matters into the show. Carl has to deal with losing his mother, and as far as he knows his baby sister. Rick also has to deal with this as well as thinking about losing the last member of his family, his son. this would devastate him and he would probably end up killing himself. also if rick dies who lead the group if they find each other again?

  11. David4 says:

    I don’t even like the show but it deals with zombies taking over the planet, people die, new people come into our lives and replace them. It’d called life.

  12. Kara says:

    There’s a difference between killing people off and it being compelling (Season 1 of “24”), and killing people off and it losing all meaning (Season 5 of “24”). That’s not to say the show shouldn’t kill off anyone else, but they need to make sure they’re walking on the right side of that fine line. I don’t think they’re there yet, but I can see the argument the writer is making. There comes a point when, as a viewer, you can’t help but go “Why am I even watching this anymore?” Concept & plot can only carry a show so far if there’s no one left to care about. Imagine Game of Thrones without the Starks or Dany. Would it still be interesting? Yeah, probably. Would I still watch it? Not so sure I would. They’re not even my favorite characters, but their familiarity is a comfort when things are chaotic.

  13. Michelle says:

    I don’t think anyone is on board with this. I don’t want my faves to die either, but the chance that they might is what makes the show scary and intense.

  14. mac says:

    pfft…there’s still a chance Carol went back and got the Gov and nursed him back to health

  15. The fact that it’s not afraid to get rid of characters is one of the few, if not the only, positive thing about The Walking Dead.

    If you want to write an open letter to the producers, ask them to hire new writers.

  16. Dan says:

    Hm, yeah. Next is an open letter to all TV shows to “choose believability and consistent storytelling”. And it contradict this one entirely.

  17. Lori says:

    Don’t read the comics the show is based on then. Much more death. Honestly I think TWD is doing just fine walking a line presented with the comics and making the show adapted to tv. Would AMC be able to show Baby Judith and Lori being shot like they were in the comics? Nope, but they adapted it so it worked for their medium.

    Also, its a zombie apocalypse. I’m of the opinion that there are some stories that characters should not get plot armor. Rick, Michonne, Carl and Daryl are the only ones I’m pretty positive nothing will happen to (mostly because I don’t think a majority of the viewers would be able to handle Daryl getting killed ;P). And Rick has a ticking clock over his head until the moment Carl gets through puberty… then I’m pretty sure he’ll be up on the chopping block.

  18. Tom Charles says:

    I still say they need to kill off Rick to be really different from the comic

  19. Kristin says:

    I am king of appalled at the mean nature of the majority of the posts here. I can sympathise with the sentiments in this article, who doesn’t hate it when a beloved character gets killed off on his or her favorite show? However, that is what makes this show so riveting.

    I doubt most of you would speak this way face-to-face with someone. Once online, does all etiquette go out the window?

  20. Kristin says:

    Kind*

  21. Devorah says:

    No no no! Just no. The thing that makes this show so exciting is that NO ONE IS SAFE! Can’t wait for Sunday!!

  22. I echo everyone else’s response on here…the show is about a zombie apocalypse so people have to die. Its unfortunate, but its less interesting if their isn’t a feeling that any of our favorites can go at any minute.

  23. Jules says:

    Just kill Carl’s hat.

  24. Teeny Bikini says:

    Oh, Andy, get a grip. I seriously hope you were on a bender when you wrote this. I can’t figure out if it’s a joke. I say kill Rick. Then, kill him again. The whole idea of the show is that no one is safe. You do *watch* the show. Right?

  25. webly3 says:

    I’m going to go against the consensus and agree with the article. The producers keep killing off my favorites. :(

  26. Mike R. says:

    While the no one is safe rule was exciting the first few seasons, I feel it has grown tiresome, I do not mean to say kill no one, but rather an illogical death( like Andrea, who could have easily lived) is not exciting, a death just for the sake of shock value is boring. What the show needs to is find a way to be exciting, that is not just another death.

    • JC says:

      True, I actually appreciated Andrea and I can relate to her character. She was flawed and that made her human. I still cannot understand why they killed her off, she had so much potential since season 1 when her sister died, she has evolved from someone that was helpless to a survivor. The Walking Dead should carefully evaluate every character’s death so that it will make sense :)

      • Alan says:

        amazing how all we heard were complaints about andrea and how she needed to be killed off and then the moment that happened people started complaining that they did just that; i guess you cant like something and have to be complaining about it, and you especially cant like something if it happened as a direct result of your complaining.

  27. Sierra1707 says:

    Such a blood-thirsty group of viewers!

    All I ask is that the producers/writers do what best serves the show and not simply resort to killing off major characters gratuitiously…because they can’t come up with a better storyline.

  28. alistaircrane says:

    I wholeheartedly agree with this article. The show has gone kill-crazy and now when someone dies, it’s a cliche. Rick can die for all I care, but Daryl + Carol must live.

  29. azu says:

    Daryl can die for all I care. His character is ridiculous!! He ain’t superman!! Carol I dislike even more because she’s an unapologetic psychopath!!! Rich and Carl are great!!!

  30. rex says:

    They need to bring in some aliens or maybe some genius zombies that can strategize and work together to make the show interesting again.

  31. IPF23 says:

    Sorry writer but they can’t kill Carl off fast enough for my taste. Just seeing his face on screen annoys me to no end.

  32. Kent says:

    I have watched since season 1 and have read the comics. I really don’t care about the “Keep the original 5″ crap. I actually like the newer characters more than the original 5. I like Sasha, Maggie, and Beth more than Glenn, Carol and Carl. As long as Michonne, Rick, Tyrese and Daryl stay alive, I’ll be happy. I don’t care about the the rest, S1 character or not.

  33. Yeah, stop killing them. Poor hershel, i will miss him. Guys, any suggestion who will portrait the character of that Jesus guy in the walking dead comics?

  34. Phillip Flaky Blakey says:

    I hate been saying this since Dale died. Give us a season at least with no deaths please! Can’t we have a little hope in all this depression and misery?

  35. mark says:

    Rick doesnt look so healthy so they better kill him on the walking dead before he dies for real. Ive seen fatter drug addicts with brighter skin tone and eyes that look less drained. Wtf does rick smoke in his spare time and give the man a sandwidge please. He can punch a hole through a zombies face with those skinny arms yea oh kay…. Carl cool kid strong attetude not scaird of shyt and a good shot start up fresh with him and hershals daughters and you got yourself some action with a hint of sexy.

  36. esther says:

    i like the keep the original 5 alive thing because i think they make the show even more interesting..

  37. Mike says:

    Couple of things might make it slightly more realistic,firstly make Carl lose the stupid cowboy hat its very distracting. Secondly in the ‘Land of the Free’ why are they always so woefully armed, Rick lose the six shooter its 2014 not Dodge City, third whoever decided it was ‘Gucci’ to have holsters so far down Carl and Maggie’s legs they can hardly reach their weapon..wise up and tighten up literally!!! Last but no means least more ‘walkers’ less domestic disputes and running off.

  38. Daryl cant die rick cant carl cant maggie cant glenn cant carol cant michonne cant judith cant carol cant beth cant no one can die anymore its established k mainly daryl he can not die at all he is the most loved character if he gets killed off views would go down and people would most likely RIOT!!!

  39. Telmo says:

    É uma grande série e tudo indica que terá uma 5ª temporada .Vai-se desenvolver-se muito mais e acredito que as personagens fulcrais ( Rick e Carl ) não morram , como Michonne ou Glenn em 3º e 4 º respectivamente ..
    E seria previsível se na finalíssima ,todos os personagens acordassem e fosse um sonho ..

  40. Holla says:

    I ain’t want rick die,i only wish him get well soon .

  41. Mel says:

    Can there be like 20 seasons, maybe more of this show, pleaseeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!

  42. daryls#1superfan says:

    I think with the way they switch up all the character roles of what happens, in the comics n TV show, Daryl will be killed by the cannibals or killed the way negan kills Glenn in the comics

  43. Genevieve says:

    I love love ♥♡♥♡ the walking dead awsome show come in season 5

  44. jenny herder says:

    What I think that Daryl rick microbe beth Glenn Maggie and the baby and Carl they need to make it alive and Daryl and Beth need to get together

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