9 Main Cast Members Who Left Fear The Walking Dead (& Why) – News Today

9 Main Cast Members Who Left Fear The Walking Dead (& Why)

Over Fear The Walking Dead‘s eight seasons, numerous cast members have left. In The Walking Dead franchise as a whole, big exits have often surprised fans, such as Andrew Lincoln (who plays Rick Grimes) in season 9 or Jeffrey DeMunn (who played Dale) in season 2 of the main show. Reasons tend to vary, whether it’s at an actor’s request or otherwise.

Nevertheless, how characters are written out to accommodate these exits can be quite brutal or fairly open-ended, depending on the storyline. For instance, Troy Otto’s season 3 death seemed like the end of Daniel Sharman’s Fear The Walking Dead journey, yet he returned as a main villain in season 8. However, not all Fear The Walking Dead characters have the same second chance, and some character arcs are more upsetting than others.

Daryl, Sherry, and Morgan on Fear the Walking Dead.

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9 Lorenzo James Henrie As Chris Manawa

Was Killed Off To Propel Travis’ Storyline

Chris Manawa dead in Fear The Walking Dead season 2

Chris’ two season stint ended tragically, with his character being shot by those in his new survivor group after his leg was badly injured. This was all shown in flashbacks as Travis, Chris’ father, found out about it. Chris was killed off Fear The Walking Dead as a means to drive Travis’ moral battle forward, considering the guilt he felt after his death.

Losing his son, who had been on such a downward spiral that involved a morbid curiosity about killing, was intended to propel Travis’ story into a new direction. He would no longer lead purely by morals, but would focus more on survival and ruthlessness where needed. Chris’ death seemed sadder when considering Travis died only three episodes later, making the impact of the death more wasted.

8 Cliff Curtis As Travis Manawa

Was Written Out For Story Reasons & Due To Other Projects

Collage of Travis in Fear the Walking Dead

Although it seemed Fear The Walking Dead had big plans for Travis’ character after Chris’ death, Travis’ story ended prematurely. Travis died in season 3, episode 2, after he was bitten, shot in a helicopter, and threw himself out the aircraft to avoid turning and hurting the survivors onboard. While Curtis had booked James Cameron’s Avatar sequels in early 2017 – the same year season 3 was airing – Travis’ ending was supposedly planned regardless.

Showrunner Dave Erickson shared that telling Curtis his character would be killed off was a hard task, but that “[Curtis] understood that [Travis’ death was] ultimately about the larger structure of the show and how does it inform the story” (via EW). Erickson also stated that Madison Clark had always been the show’s “lead and [its] anchor” (via ComicBook.com). Therefore, Travis’ death was a way to invoke Madison’s character growth.

7 Frank Dillane As Nick Clark

Actor Asked To Leave At The End Of Season 3

Nick Clark arguably had one of the most impactful Fear The Walking deaths when he was shot by Charlie after he killed Ennis, a member of the survivor group she was with. Nick died in Fear The Walking Dead season 4 after requesting to leave right before the showrunners changed from Frank Darabont to Ian Goldberg and Andrew Chambliss. Moreover, there were numerous cast changes, such as Lennie James’ Morgan Jones moving from the main show to Fear The Walking Dead. Additionally, Dillane, being a native European, felt homesick after his three seasons on the show.

While Nick’s death was a major loss as his character was finally building toward a more stable future with his sister Alicia and his partner Luciana, Goldberg and Chambliss understood the gravity of sending off such an integral character. Chambliss shared, “It was very important to us and to Frank to find a death for him that was emotional and one that would ripple forward throughout the storytelling” (via THR). While Nick’s death was a shock, the ripple effect was there as it affected Alicia’s decisions and Madison’s revenge plot in season 8.

Garret Dillahunt As John Dorie Frowning In Fear The Walking Dead

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6 Garret Dillahunt As John Dorie

Actor Asked To Leave

Dakota aiming a gun at John Dorie in Fear The Walking Dead season 6

John Dorie’s exit was also tragic, as he went through an emotional journey from self-isolating and considering taking his own life to deciding to help Dakota and live, only to be shot by her. Despite being a fan-favorite taken too soon, John’s exit was at the request of Dillahunt. Unlike Dillane’s cited reasons, Dillahunt felt “antsy” and ready to move on. In an EW interview, he said:

I loved my time on this show and will always cherish it. I get a little antsy after a while, and I’m not a kid anymore, and I have some things I wanted to do. And I’m just fortunate it worked out.

Dillahunt went on to express how grateful he was that the showrunners were so open to hearing his request and creating an ending for his character that he was happy with. In a bittersweet reflection, Dillahunt said, “John will always exist. And he was a great character. I was honored to play him.” To make his death even harder on fans, showrunner Ian Goldberg later proposed the ideal spinoff idea to fix John’s death, which would’ve been a prequel about his time at Humbug’s Gulch, although no concrete plans for this are on the horizon.

Luciana And June Looking Into The Distance In Fear The Walking Dead

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5 Kim Dickens As Madison Clark

Was Written Out For Story Reasons

Madison Clark In Season 4 Of Fear The Walking Dead

Madison Clark’s season 4 exit was one of the bigger ones that followed The Walking Dead‘s character death fake-outs trend. In a devastating self-sacrificial moment, Madison led a herd of walkers deeper into the stadium with a flare, only to be trapped inside with them when an explosion occurred. Goldberg explained to THR that Madison signified hope, and the thematic arc for season 4 was “taking people from hopelessness toward that hope.”

Despite sacrificing Madison as a way to rebuild hope out of hopelessness, her death was retconned by the end of season 7 when she made a miraculous return to the series. Her return as a main character for the final season, regardless of the flimsy justification for her survival, was a wonderful way to close out her story and Alicia’s in a more satisfying way with more closure, particularly about Nick’s death.

4 Maggie Grace As Althea Szewczyk-Przygocki

Was Written Out For Story Reasons

Althea first joined with the major cast changes at the head of season 4. She provided a unique perspective on storytelling as she stood for truth and preservation of it through her documentary-style videos. As a means of mirroring her documentary storytelling, Al’s weird Fear The Walking Dead exit showed numerous moments from her camera’s perspective as she reunited with Isabelle and stayed on the run to avoid the Civic Republic Military finding them.

This followed already minimal appearances from Althea in season 6, thus setting up her departure in season 7 as part of her story’s plan. Goldberg explained to ComicBook.com, “We really wanted to give her that rarest of things in the Walking Dead Universe, which is a happy ending.” Isabelle and Althea’s love story was left open to be picked up later, which Goldberg added could happen. Potentially, with Isabelle’s link to the CRM, Althea might be able to slot into The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live spinoff.

Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes and Danai Gurira as Michonne in Walking Dead and silhouette

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3 Mo Collins As Sarah Rabinowitz

Written Out Because Of Timing Constraints

Sarah In Fear The Walking Dead Season 7 Episode 15

Probably one of the more disappointing exits was Sarah’s. After switching from a thief to a resourceful member of Morgan’s group, Sarah became a staple character. Her backstory and how deeply she cared about her brother Wendell in season 7 was even explored more, so it’s even worse that her final episode – season 7, episode 15 – didn’t even draw attention to it as being her farewell.

Chambliss explained the reason Sarah’s Fear The Walking Dead return didn’t happen in the final season was because the showrunners found they didn’t have enough space to include her when they got down to planning the series’ last few episodes. After a now-deleted tweet in May 2023 claimed Collins, Sarah’s actress, was fired, she responded with “not the word choice I would use” (via TheCinemaholic). This suggests her leaving ahead of season 8 was unavoidable, thus furthering how much of a disservice her incomplete on-screen character arc was.

2 Daryl Mitchell As Wendell Rabinowitz

Written Out Because Of Timing Constraints

Wendell In Fear The Walking Dead Season 7 Episode 15

In the same interview where Chambliss and Goldberg shared their reasoning of time constraints for Sarah’s exit, Wendell was mentioned. Wendell, the only wheelchair user in the franchise, showed ingenuity and just as much fighting spirit as his adoptive sister. This was seen in his weapon attachments to his chair that he used to fend off walkers. His last appearance was with Sarah and Rabbi Jacob, fleeing a radioactive Texas in a life raft.

The showrunners shared that they envisioned Wendell, Sarah, and Jacob as part of Luciana’s crew, monitoring the trade routes between the East Coast and Texas. However, mentioning this idea after the show’s ending again highlights the unceremonious departure Wendell was afforded. Had the show included Wendell and Sarah, even just for the scene at the crossroads in Fear The Walking Dead‘s series finale, it would’ve been enough to conclude their arcs sufficiently.

1 Alycia Debnam-Carey As Alicia Clark

Left To Explore Other Opportunities

Unlike the inexplicable disappearance of Sarah and Wendell, Alicia’s season 7 exit was per Debnam-Carey’s request. Alicia’s Fear The Walking Dead exit was addressed by the actress as she stated she wanted to seek new opportunities and challenges in her career. In Debnam-Carey’s farewell Instagram post, she also shared how, like Dillane’s departure, she was included in the ideation of Alicia’s conclusion as one that’s “beautiful, hopeful and elusive.”

Debnam-Carey certainly explored new opportunities as she starred in Hulu’s Saint X series and Prime Video’s The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart. However, to help conclude Madison’s storyline, Alicia made a shocking return in Fear‘s finale. This also rights the implied off-screen death for the character, which would’ve been dissatisfying considering how much of an influence Alicia had, as shown in the group following her mission to help others. Overall, Fear The Walking Dead has said goodbye to numerous characters, some in more satisfying ways than others.

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