Eight seasons in, The Walking Dead remains as popular as ever, regularly bringing in more viewers than many shows on bigger networks. Naturally, a show that’s been on the air as long as The Walking Dead is chock full of behind-the-scenes trivia and interesting stats, but most of it goes unnoticed by viewers who just care about tuning into the next episode. If you’re an avid Walking Dead fan, you’re probably already aware of at least a few of the following facts about the show, but you may come across some surprising revelations too! Here are 20 bits of Walking Dead trivia that you probably didn’t know.
20. Grape-Flavored Mouse
It should go without saying that The Walking Dead’s zombies aren’t actually eating real people when they’re depicted chowing down on human flesh (find out what they’re really eating later on this list), but one of the more interesting edible props pops up in Season 4. The scene in question calls for psycho-girl Lizzie to feed a mouse to a walker. Rather than force the poor actor playing the walker to eat a real raw mouse, the effects crew put together an edible mouse prop that was made primarily out of gelatin and filled with grape jelly. Yum?
19. The Blood Splatter On Rick’s Shirt In The Pilot Is A Possible Punisher Reference
In the pilot episode of The Walking Dead, Rick gets blood splatter on his white T-shirt after killing a walker and if you look closely, it takes the shape of a skull. It’s believed that then-showrunner Frank Darabont deliberately put this detail in as a nod to actor Thomas Jane, who had previously starred in Darabont’s 2007 adaptation of Stephen King’s The Mist. Jane starred in the 2004 film The Punisher (hence the skull) and had been Darabont’s original choice to play Rick Grimes, but had already committed to starring in HBO’s Hung by that point. Interestingly, Jon Bernthal, who played Shane on The Walking Dead, would later be cast as the Punisher in Netflix’s Daredevil series.
18. That One-Eyed Dog Is A Real Life Hero
In the Season 4 episode “Alone,” there’s a scene where a one-eyed dog sets off Daryl’s noise traps. While we can only assume that the dog must have lost an eye during a run-in with some walkers (the zombie apocalypse is a harrowing place for man and beast alike), the real life story behind how the dog lost its eye is just as epic. In reality, the dog’s name is Dooley and he lost his eye while saving his owner from a carjacker. What a good boy!
17. Daryl’s Crossbow Is Sold At Walmart
Throwing on a power poncho and griming yourself up a bit is a good way to do it, but if you really want to complete that Daryl Dixon ensemble, you’ll need a crossbow. Fortunately, Daryl’s iconic weapon is pretty easy to come by! The Horton Scout HD 125 runs for just over $300 and can be purchased at your local Walmart. According to the product description, “the Scout HD 125 is a solid, full-performance hunting crossbow that demands respect.” If you do decide to pick one up though, maybe just try to remember that walkers aren’t real …
16. Walkers Look Worse Over Time
Several years have passed since the beginning of the walker outbreak to where The Walking Dead is now and the characters have gone through some dramatic physical changes since then to reflect this passing of time (Rick has a grey beard, Carl has literally gone through puberty etc.). However, it’s not just the humans who have been changing with the passing of time, but the walkers themselves. In a cool display of attention to detail, many of the walkers have deteriorated over time to reflect the time that has elapsed, appearing more pale, gray, and decomposed.
15. Alexandria and Woodbury Are Closer Than You Think
The great thing about making TV shows is that it’s all make believe! Settings that appear to be hundreds of miles apart could actually be just a block away in real life — which is precisely the case with The Walking Dead. As this interesting Cracked article points out, the towns of Alexandria and Woodbury – which are multiple states apart in the show – are actually located just down the street from one another. In fact, you can actually see Alexandria’s wall from Woodbury!
14. British Invasion
While The Walking Dead‘s character roster is full of good ol’ boys and girls from the American South, most of the actors playing them are not even close to being Georgian natives. In fact, a few members of the cast – including Andrew Lincoln (Rick), Lauren Cohan (Maggie), David Morrisey (The Governor), and Lennie James (Morgon) are actually British. Could have fooled us with those strong southern accents!
13. Frank Darabont Controversy
One bit of behind-the-scenes trivia that AMC isn’t keen on reminding you about is original showrunner Frank Darabont’s firing between seasons one and two. The short version is that The Shawshank Redemption director was asked by AMC to produce more episodes – an increase from six in the first season to thirteen in the second – while having his budget slashed at the same time. Darabont essentially told AMC to take a hike, as he didn’t want his creative vision compromised in such a drastic fashion, so the network retaliated by kicking him to the curb. Darabont’s dismissal prompted his good friend Jeffrey DeMunn (Dale) to leave the show as well, which is why his character was killed off the following season.
Things have only gotten worse in recent years, with Darabont filing a $280 million lawsuit against the network back in 2013 that has, among other things, revealed just how badly relations broke down between AMC and Darabont. Things got so bad that AMC released multiple emails in 2017 showing how abusive Darabont had been towards AMC executives, writing in one email, “F— you all for giving me chest pains because of the staggering f—ing incompetence … go find another job that doesn’t involve deliberately f—ing up my show scene by scene.” It’s little wonder that Darabont was fired soon after.
12. Carl Hates Pudding
Carl’s love of chocolate pudding, as witnessed in season four’s “After,” has become a popular meme, but as it turns out, eating that much pudding in one go can quickly turn you off the stuff. Chandler Riggs was forced to continually eat from a 112-ounce can of pudding while shooting the scene and he ended up eating so much pudding that he quickly grew to hate the stuff. It probably still tastes better than zombie guts though (more on those later).
11. Walker to Human Ratio
It’s a given that the undead outnumber the living by a pretty significant margin on The Walking Dead, but even we were surprised by the revelation that the walker to human ratio is as high as 5000:1. Rick and Daryl’s kill numbers have surely put some sort of dent in that figure, but it’s still pretty wild to think that there are thousands of zombies for ever human in The Walking Dead universe. No wonder survival is so difficult.
10. HBO Turned Off By Violence
Yes, the network that regularly depicts beheadings, flaying, and boobs galore passed on producing The Walking Dead because they considered it to be “too violent.” Huh? Then again, AMC is totally fine with depicting peoples’ guts being torn out on the regular, but they still get hung up on swear words. TV censorship is weird.
9. Breaking Bad Connections
While it’s never been confirmed whether or not The Walking Dead and Breaking Bad are set in the same universe, with the amount of Breaking Bad references that have popped up, we wouldn’t be surprised to learn that Rick Grimes and Walter White are only a few states over from one another. A few of the connections include Glenn driving the same red Dodge Charger as Walter, as well as what looks like blue meth found in Merle Dixon’s stash. The biggest connection though may be the rather humorous nod to Breaking Bad‘s Jesse Pinkman in season four. Daryl tells Beth that Merle’s dealer was a “hanky little white kid,” who uttered the phrase “I’m gonna kill you, bitch.” That sounds a lot like the Jesse we know and love!
8. Walker School
Other than the intensive make-up work involved, being a walker on The Walking Dead really doesn’t look all that difficult. In reality, the show takes its walkers very seriously, to the point where they actually have an intensive training course for would-be zombie candidates. The most useful advice given to each walker (other than not to blink): “Act like you’re stumbling home from the bar at 2 a.m.” Hey, some of us do that on the regular AMC; where’s our walker school offer?
7. Tara In The Middle
Introduced about midway through season four, Tara Chambler has had one of the more interesting arcs of the show’s newer characters, turning from unwitting Governor ally to a trusted member of Rick’s group (although she could use a bit more to do on the show as of late). An interesting fact about the actress who plays Tara, Alanna Masterson, is that she’s related to two TV characters you’re probably already familiar with. Her brother Danny played Hyde on That 70s Show, while another brother, Christopher, played Francis on Malcolm in the Middle.
6. The Guts Are Made Of What?!
The dead are regularly shown consuming the innards of their victims on The Walking Dead, but have you ever found yourself wondering what the heck they’re actually eating? It turns out that those guts are actually made of ham. Initially, the hams were covered in barbeque sauce, but the vinegar in the sauce would melt the zombie make-up, so the recipe had to be altered. Occasionally though, the show will go for something special, like it did when Dale found himself being devoured in season two. His guts were made from chicken breasts instead, as a rather twisted tribute of sorts to Jeffrey DeMunn’s departure from the show.
5. Last Supper
Speaking of actors leaving the show, The Walking Dead cast always gets together for a farewell dinner for any actor whose character has met an untimely end. Details about what they actually eat aren’t available, but it’s surely much better than zombie gut hams.
4. Human Kills Trump Walker Kills
Anyone who watches The Walking Dead regularly – especially the later seasons – knows that the living are the real threat to worry about. The season three kill count definitely confirms this. Over the course of that season, there were 17 human deaths in all; 14 of those deaths were caused by another human, while only 3 of them were victims of a walker attack. We don’t have stats for more recent seasons, but we suspect that they’re probably quite similar.
3. Filming Is Hugely Disruptive
According to that aforementioned Cracked article, shooting The Walking Dead totally disrupts the lives of those who live in the town of Senoia, Georgia. Residents regularly become trapped in their own homes while scenes are being shot and since the show’s settings regularly feature dilapidated city streets and neighborhoods drowning in refuse and carnage, the streets of Senoia are often left in disarray after shooting wraps up. The silver lining is that residents get to be in close proximity to the show’s cast and get to regularly consume such delicacies as Zombie Jerky (the jury’s still out on whether it’s made of zombie meat or not), but the next time you tune in, take a moment to consider how much of an impact filming a show such as The Walking Dead has on the actual residents of Woodbury and Alexandria.
2. Michonne’s Debut
Remember at the end of season two when Michonne made her incredible entrance? Hooded in shadow and holding the chains to her walker “protectors,” the character cut quite an image and got us all excited for the next season. Actress Danai Gurira has really come into her own in the role over the last few seasons, to the point where she’s now one of the best characters on the show, but believe it or not, the Michonne you see at the end of the second season isn’t her. At the time, the role had yet to be cast, so what you’re actually seeing is a stand-in actor brandishing Michonne’s iconic samurai sword. Guess that explains why we don’t see her face until season three!
1. Silent Walkers
The walkers are an incredibly noisy bunch, what with their many moans and grunts, but the truth is that all those sounds you hear are added in post-production. When the scenes are actually being shots, the many extras playing the walkers are told to be as silent as possible, which must make for a pretty hilarious sight. Just a bunch of people in zombie make-up, stumbling around like drunk people trying to be as quiet as possible. The magic of TV, indeed!