Death is something that The Walking Dead doesn’t mess around with. Unless their name is Daryl or Rick (but even that’s no guarantee at this point), there’s a very real chance that any character could be killed off at a moment’s notice.
In the earlier seasons of AMC’s hit zombie show, The Walking Dead had its fair share of rather useless characters that the writers didn’t really know what to do with. T-Dog fits that description perfectly, as he never amounted to more than a black stereotype, which is surprising in hindsight given how many strong black characters have been on the show since the T-Dog days. Yes, most would not argue that T-Dog was largely useless…but did you know that he was almost spared in favor of Carol?
That’s right: Carol, one of the most badass characters on The Walking Dead, was almost killed off in place of one of the show’s worst. This information comes courtesy of writer Greg Nicotero, who offered up this explanation in a recent interview with SFX Magazine:
“Not a lot of people know that when we were shooting season three, in the episode where T-Dog died, there was a moment where Carol was going to die in lieu of T-Dog’s character. At that point there was some concern in the writers’ room that they didn’t know where to take her character. So the fact that [showrunner] Scott Gimple and the writers have been able to craft this amazing journey for her just goes to show that there is a tremendous amount of story to tell for a lot of these characters.”
When it’s framed that way, the Carol/T-Dog dilemma actually makes a lot of sense. It took a few seasons for Mellisa McBride, the actress who plays Carol, to really come into her own and make the character the hard-edged survivor we know and love today. Still, we’re more than thankful that the decision was made to kill T-Dog off in lieu of Carol because no one likes T-Dog, not even T-Dog.