‘Fear The Walking Dead’ Showrunners Defend Controversial Death

New Fear The Walking Dead season 4 showrunners Andrew Chambliss and Ian Goldberg have defended their controversial decision to kill off longtime lead Madison Clark (Kim Dickens).

“I’d say that we understand it’s very hard to lose a character who you’ve grown to love over three and a half seasons,” Chambliss told THR.

“But Madison’s sacrifice and what she stood for will very much be part of the fabric of the show. It’s something that every character who heard that story at the end of last night’s episode is going to be really wrestling with and trying to figure out how to carry forward, as we go into the back half of the season.”

Added Goldberg, the decision to kill Madison came as a means of exploring “the thematic idea and emotion” the new showrunners wanted to explore this new season, which was “taking people from hopelessness toward that hope.”

“Madison is the ultimate embodiment of hope. She's someone who is selfless. We see that not only she fights to protect her own family, but also to bring in people from the outside world who can help themselves into the shelter of the stadium. She's heroic in that way,” Goldberg said.

“We've had two timelines this season. Strand, Alicia and Luciana have been on this very dark mission for the first eight episodes. We didn't reveal why until last night's episode, and it's because of who they lost and their reactions to the loss of that hope. It isn't until the midseason finale where they start to rediscover how far they've strayed from what Madison wanted for them, and why she made that sacrifice.”

Madison’s last words were spoken to her left-behind crew over walkie talkie, where Madison admitted she was afraid to lose the stadium because she thought her family needed it to “stay who [they] are right now.”

“But you know it,” Madison said. “No one’s gone until they’re gone.”

“It's about them rediscovering that hope, and how to carry it forward in a world that finds a lot of ways to test people who are hopeful and optimistic,” Goldberg added.

“For them, it's about taking this incredible legacy that Madison left behind. Hope as a theme is something that's very much going to be a part of the DNA of the show going forward.”

Added Chambliss, the journeys of Alicia (Alycia Debnam-Carey), Strand (Colman Domingo) and Luciana (Danay Garcia) moving forward will “be about how to reconcile all the dark things they did with the legacy Madison wanted them to carry forward. It's not just those three characters who Madison's death will impact. We'll really see it ripple through all of the characters on the show.”

The showrunners said killing Madison was always the plan from the very beginning.

“We were going to take these characters from a hopeless place to a place of hope. It was shaped around them losing the glue that held them together,” Chambliss said.

“It was about taking away the thing that helped all these characters live a better life in the stadium, and seeing how they would react to it and if they could come back from it. That was part of the whole conceit of the season from the beginning.”

Dickens told EW the producers and showrunners informed her of the plan to kill Madison ahead of production on season 4, but admitted the move left her “shocked and disappointed and heartbroken.”

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The character will not appear in the remaining half of the season.

Fear The Walking Dead returns with its mid-season premiere Sunday, August 12 on AMC.