Following the Season 3 finale of AMC's The Walking Dead, most of the attention has been focused on the death of Andrea, with Laurie Holden participating in a variety of interviews over the past few days. Amidst all the hoopla, the death of another character was overlooked: the man who turned into the walker responsible for biting her, Milton, played by Dallas Roberts.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Roberts touched on his final episode and revealed some of the reshoots that took place after Glen Mazzara was ousted as showrunner and replaced by Scott Gimple heading into Season 4.
As written by Mazzara, Andrea's struggle with Walker Milton was originally shown on-screen and involved Milty biting chunks out of her. According to Roberts, the original scene didn't involve Michonne, Rick, or Daryl at all, depriving us of the emotional farewell between Andrea and her friends. That's not all that was changed in the final version that aired on television.
"Originally, the beating scene that started the episode wasn't there," revealed the actor. "Originally, I showed up and was led into the room where Andrea was and I took the tools out — the instruments of torture that were laid on the table — and then he shot me in the stomach, completely unexpectedly. And then I was left to bleed out in the same idea basically — you're going to kill her now. There was a lot more of Milton trying to open the door and him trying to free her from the chains. And then there was a section where he was going to wrap the chain around the neck and try to choke her to death before he turned so she wouldn't have to deal with Walker Milton, or Biter Milton, as it were."
"And then at the end of that, it was just Tyreese and someone else who found her," he added. "Rick and Daryl and Michonne weren't there. So it was essentially the same idea, except you saw me taking chunks out of Laurie Holden in that version. And then they called us back a few months later to reshoot it and made all those changes. So now you're not sure if I’ve gotten her until after that door opens, and I think that's probably why they did it."
The excised scene featuring a half-dead Milton trying to choke Andrea to death to save her from the pain of being eaten alive sounds painful to watch, and not in a good way. Perhaps if he could provide more details...
"They both desperately wanted for that to work but at that point he had bled out so much," explained Roberts. "So he pulls and pulls and pulls but he doesn't get it done and he falls against the wall and is passed out. And he never comes back from that until he turns into a walker."
Nope, still sounds awful.
The reshoots took place following the announcement that Mazzara would be leaving the series after Season 3. Although Mazzara "was still theoretically in charge of the back half of the season," said Roberts, "I didn't see him there. I don't know if he was in L.A. pulling those strings. Scott Gimple, who ended up taking the showrunner position, was there, so some of those changes may have come from him."
Eagle-eyed fans of AMC's post-Walking Dead talk show Talking Dead may have spotted the error in a production still (shown above) that depicted Walker Milton still wearing his trademark glasses. He wasn't wearing them in the corresponding scene that aired (pictured right) because the Governor had knocked them off in the beating scene that was added.
"It's funny," noted Roberts, "in the articles and on Talking Dead last night, you'll notice stills of Milton where he has glasses on. They are from the scenes that we shot and weren't aired. Because Milton gets his glasses knocked off and never has glasses in the interrogation scene in this finale. But I've seen a lot of pictures where Milton has blood on his mouth and glasses on that were from that first shooting."
For the rest of the interview, visit EW.
The changes that were made definitely sound like they were for the best. The scene with Michonne dropping her sword and tending to her fallen friend was one of my favorite parts of the episode, and the reveal that Andrea had been bitten was better than showing Milton rip into her. Having Tyreese "and someone else" (I'm assuming his sister Sasha) find Andrea instead of her old friends wouldn't have had the same emotional impact, either.
If these alterations to the season finale can be attributed to new showrunner Scott Gimple, who also wrote the episode entitled "Clear" earlier this season, then I'm on board with AMC's decision to part ways with Mazzara. How do you feel?