As though fans weren't still reeling from the shocking death of Dale (Jeffrey DeMunn) in last week's episode of The Walking Dead, the AMC zombie series made waves once again this week by killing off yet another main character. This time it was Jon Bernthal's Shane who bit the bullet; the unhinged former cop was stabbed by Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) as Shane was preparing to murder Rick himself. Shane suddenly reanimated as a Walker, and had his zombified brains blown out by Rick's son, Carl (Chandler Riggs).
So what does this obviously monumental death mean for the series going forward? "Shane's death is going to cause shockwaves that will be felt in the show in Season 3 and beyond," creator Robert Kirkman told The Hollywood Reporter. "Where that murder takes Rick and what it causes Rick to do moving forward -- the way it shapes his behavior -- is definitely something that is going to end up being a large part of the foundation of this series."
Shane's sudden (and unexplained) return as a zombie will be elaborated upon in next week's season 2 finale, Kirkman went on to reveal: "Leading up to the shooting with Carl, let's just say that Shane coming back as a zombie in this scene without having been bitten by a zombie after having just been stabbed by Rick is something that we connected through the Jenner whisper secret and is something that is going to be revealed in the next episode."
Meanwhile, speaking with Entertainment Weekly, Bernthal shared what it was like to shoot that tense, final scene: "The entire cast came out and spent the entire night out on that field to be there for the last scene, and Jeff DeMunn actually had been gone. He lives on a farm in upstate New York, and he had flown down and surprised me to be there for my last scene, which just touched me."
So, did Rick do the right thing? "I think that no matter what, somebody was going to die that night," Bernthal said. "And Shane really did set out that night to kill Rick, and through the conversation, by the end of the scene, he just knew one of them needed to die. I do think he did the right thing."
Of course, we'll get to see Bernthal again soon in the new TNT series L.A. Noir, which is headed up by former Walking Dead executive producer Frank Darabont. While Bernthal asserted that he didn't ask to leave the show because Darabont was fired (though we bet DeMunn did), he expressed his regrets that Darabont wasn't there for the final scene: "One of the things I was really, really looking forward to is Frank always said he was going to write and direct our last scene — the last scene Andy [Lincoln] and I would play together. And I’ll be honest: It brought all those feelings back up, because at the end of the day, this thing started with Andy, Frank and I. Frank continues, I know, to live in Andy’s heart, as he does in mine, and I think that he was sort of there in that last scene. The fact that now I get to go work with him again [on TNT’s upcoming L.A. Noir] is something I’m just tremendously excited about."
Read the rest of both interviews through the links above.
The Walking Dead returns next Sunday for its season 2 finale, "Beside the Dying Fire."