‘Walking Dead’ Cast Reflects On ‘Shakespearean’ Death

'Once you get to this level of expansion, you have to pop,' Norman Reedus tells MTV News about Jon Bernthal's villain, Shane Walsh.
By Josh Wigler, with reporting by Kara Warner

'Walking Dead' Stars Melissa McBride and Norman Reedus
Photo: MTV News

The death of Shane Walsh on "The Walking Dead" wasn't exactly shocking to comic-book readers, though the manner of the divisive character's exit was certainly a surprise: In the source material, Shane is shot and killed by Carl, whereas on the TV show, the disgruntled ex-cop was stabbed in the heart by his old friend Rick — a change the "Walking Dead" cast has described as nothing short of Shakespearean.

"There was so much of the love triangle [between Shane, Rick and Lori] that happened, and that had to go somewhere," actor Norman Reedus told MTV News. "It's almost sort of Shakespearean in a way.

"[Actor Jon Bernthal] did such a good job with that character and taking it some place," Reedus continued. "And I think once you get to this level of expansion, you have to pop. ... That's what it felt like to me."

Reedus' co-stars Steven Yeun and Melissa McBride agreed with his assessment. For them, it was the actual night of shooting Shane's death that sticks with them the most.

"Seeing the work that Jon and [Andrew Lincoln] and everybody put towards that story line, it's awesome," Yeun shared. "I remember we gathered to watch that final scene, and it was like, they did it like 50 times, and each time you were just like, 'Holy F...' You know? It's so good."

McBride agreed: "It was so unsettling to see them when we were watching the scene being filmed. It was unsettling to see the two of them in that arrangement there. After all they'd been through, and as close as they'd been, it was very strange."

Strange, but monumental. To date, "Walking Dead" has been largely about Rick and Shane's story. To lose one of those characters as early as season two definitely marks a major shift for the series.

"They started the show together, like best buddies right off the bat," Reedus said. "And to see that pop at the end was, yeah, it was a big deal."

Were you surprised by Shane's death? Tell us in the comments below!

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