“The Walking Dead” can get dark. Favorite characters meet sudden ends, eyeballs get popped out of people’s heads and many a protein bar has gone missing. But apparently one storyline was even a little too messed up for the zombie apocalypse.
On the latest episode of the “Talk Dead To Me” podcast, actor Lew Temple revealed that his Season 3 former prisoner character, Axel, originally was going to be a killer.
“I showed up with the idea that it was going to be serial killer and foreboding, and then, the day-of, got a note to switch that. ‘No, no, we’ve gotta lighten things up a little bit. We’ve been pretty dark.’”
The gloomy storyline was dropped, and Temple instead was told to bring levity and charm. He ultimately becomes closer with Carol (Melissa McBride) and reveals he was in prison because he had robbed a gas station with a toy gun.
However, the actor said some of the killer plot wasn’t totally abandoned. The writers kept telling Temple he could break bad later.
“There were some episodes that are written where I do take Beth out into the woods and slaughter her,” Temple said. “We didn’t get to any of those. That was why I kept buttoned up. He was going to come undone, be totally Henry Rollins-tattooed. The whole thing about being a drug addict was all a big facade. The thing about the squirt gun and pistol is all bullshit. Carol, he beats the shit out of her. I mean, just these really dark things that the writers were talking about.”
But those storylines never came to fruition due to the impending arrival of the show’s new big bad, The Governor (David Morrissey). The writers apparently wanted The Governor to draw “first blood,” and Axel was the perfect target.
Some regular cast members apparently were discussed other options for the death, Temple said, and “Walking Dead” star Andrew Lincoln even pleaded to keep the character around, but obviously that didn’t happen. Just like Morgan’s (Lennie James) long lost protein bar, it was R.I.P.
You can listen to the full podcast here, with Temple talking about the possible killer storyline around the 34-minute mark: