After last season, when the showrunners had planned to kill Scott Wilson's character, Hershel Greene, in The Walking Dead, the actor freely admitted in an interview published by AMC earlier today that he assumed when he heard Hershel was bitten by a zombie in last week's season finale, that he was finally finished.
The character, whose comic book counterpart died in a story coming up soon, actually seems to suggest that the changes made to his story may have made him one of those remarkable characters showrunners like to keep around for a while.
"When Glen [Mazzara] told me they were going to chop my leg off, of course my first thought was, 'Oh, there I go!'" Wilson admitted in the interview. "But just the opposite: He said he wanted someone with a disability and I understand that. It's also very interesting that Hershel was the first one to have survived a bite. The question I think for Hershel is whether he is going to become a liability for the group. Is he going to be able to carry his load?"
He'll likely get a little bit of leeway from the survivors, given his status as the father figure in the group--but if there's anything we learned last season it's that the viewers of the hit AMC show aren't so forgiving. That's probably part of what's on his mind when he focuses on continuing to fight.
"He needs to show that he is combat ready and that he can contribute," said Wilson. "His age and his life experience helps a bit. But I'm hoping right now that sometimes he'll have a prosthetic."
As far as this year's ragged Santa Claus look? Wilson says that was an actor's choice, not necessarily something he was asked to do, but it works well for the harried group of survivors.
"At the end of last season I decided that I wouldn't cut my hair until this season started. So I started growing it, not knowing anything about how this season was going to start," Wilson told AMC. "I started letting my beard grow as well. I felt I could always cut it off if it didn't work. But then I saw everyone involved and they all liked it, because they thought it showed a passage of time. It also shows that he has undergone a transformation since they were driven off his farm. So I think he's coming to terms with his new reality. Hershel is letting his hair down, so to speak."