The Walking Dead is a series with one of the biggest body counts on television. In any given episode, any character can die at any time, providing some of television's most unpredictable tension. While season 2 featured some significant and shocking character offings, season 3 has only upped the ante. Remember the fourth episode of this season, "Killer Within," which unexpectedly killed off not one but two major characters? Or how about in the recent episode "Home," which saw prisoner Axel suddenly gunned down by the Governor, mid-conversation?
While that last death was the beginning of a particularly well-received shootout for the series, it still has its detractors. Actor Lew Temple, who played Axel, was in particular disappointed with the decision. Speaking with Entertainment Weekly, the actor expressed his disappointment with the sudden killing of his character:
"[Showrunner Glen Mazzara] had a really nice visit about what we were doing with Axel, and he was so effusive and kind and lovely, saying “I really dig how you’re bringing Axel out, and the layers that are there. We can go in so many directions because you’re keeping things close to the vest and we’re not sure what he’s about. So I was fairly excited, and I got a call from his assistant the next day saying Glen wanted to speak with me, and I’m like oh, great!, assuming he’s going to want to speak more about character development. 15 to 20 seconds into the conversation he says, “Lew, this is really unfortunate but I’ve got to let you know that Axel is going to take a bullet to the head.”
Don't think that Temple finds his experience to be a bad one though. He reportedly "loved being on the show," despite being "disappointed" with his character's death. "I felt like there was a lot more to do with the character. . . So my appeal was as much for Axel as it was for Lew Temple."
The Walking Dead's deaths always seem to feel a little cheap and played for shock value, so I can sympathize with Temple. Having said that, that was kind of the show he signed onto -- it's not one that's particularly known for really developing characters (though I will say that the Merle/Hershel and Carol/Daryl interactions from this week's "I Ain't A Judas" were pitch perfect).
The Walking Dead airs its next episode, "Clear," this Sunday at 9/8c on AMC.