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If the frustratingly sluggish second season of The Walking Dead, with its interminable search for Sophia, has you wondering what might’ve been had AMC not unceremoniously ousted showrunner Frank Darabont, Sam Witwer sympathizes. It seems the series’ developer had big plans for the star of Syfy’s Being Human.
The 34-year-old Witwer, who played Crashdown on Battlestar Galactica and Doomsday on Smallville, appeared in the pilot episode of The Walking Dead as the undead soldier Rick encounters inside the tank on the Atlanta street. It was a minor, if memorable, cameo that Witwer told Paranormal Pop Culture Darabont hoped to spin off into a web series examining what happened before the city went to hell.
“He said to me, ‘Look, I think it would be really cool to tell a prequel story about how Atlanta fell, do Black Hawk Down, but with zombies, have a few main characters pass through, but the lead will be you. You’re a soldier and all these horrible things happen, and the chain of command breaks down, and, eventually, you have to take out your superior officer. Then, eventually, in the end, you get bit,'” Witwer, who previously worked with Darabont on The Mist, said. “He’s pitching me this. ‘You’re crawling and you crawl into this tank and you have a grenade and you’re going to blow yourself up, but you set the grenade next to you and you die. Then, we reprise the scene from the pilot, where Rick gets in the tank and there’s a zombie there.’
“If you look closely, I played that zombie, because we were setting up this prequel we were going to do. If you watch the pilot of The Walking Dead, that’s me in the tank as the zombie, and then Rick blasts him and he gets deafened, and he gets that grenade which saves him at the end of the season.”
But AMC apparently was looking to slash production costs, a demand that reportedly led to Darabont’s firing in July, and plans for the web series were scrapped.
“It’s not happening now. Why? Because AMC wanted to save a few bucks,” Witwer continued. “That is just one example of the kind of cool, awesome forethought, this guy has put into this show, that is now absolutely written off. For me, it doesn’t matter much because I’m busy doing Being Human. We were going to schedule things around. I’m not lamenting the loss of a job, I’m lamenting the loss of an amazing idea. And there are dozens and dozens of amazing ideas just like that, which are now gone.”
Of course, the network didn’t abandon the web series idea entirely: The six-episode Torn Apart, which delved into the back story of the Bicycle Girl, debuted in October, ahead of the Season 2 premiere.
The Walking Dead returns from its midseason hiatus Feb. 12.
(via Comic Book Movie)