Austin Nichols was gifted with one of the more iconic deaths in The Walking Dead history when his Spencer Monroe was gutted in true-to-the-comics fashion in Season Seven.
With two years having past, Nichols still recalls his time on the AMC zombie show fondly, but opened up about the shocking death scene for his character while talking to ComicBook.com. "I knew way out because Scott Gimple called me, it was either March or April. We started shooting in May and then my death was Episode 8, it was mid-season," Nichols said at Walker Stalker Con in Atlanta. "So, it was months and months, and I think they did a really good job. There might be instances where writers change something and maybe somebody doesn't find out but also I heard horror stories that a long time ago people found out really close to their death. I think they do their best to not do that anymore."
While Nichols knows that his character's death would mean moving on from the show, he saw it in Robert Kirkman's comics and was immediately sold on it. "I read the comics and I went, 'Oh, they're doing that. They're not gonna change that,'" he recalls.
The sequence was visual effects heavy and entirely practical. Jeffrey Dean Morgan's Negan would lean in closely and jab a massive knive into a prepped bag recreating blood and guts, the type of thing which takes quite a bit of clean up and prepping to try again.
"The gag was actually done perfectly the first time," Nichols said. "Jeffrey hit my guts and it spilt out perfectly the first take and that's all we did for the gag. They were saying the reset is thirty to forty-five minutes. We're like, 'Okay,' and we're prepared for that. There was four cameras, maybe, so we dd that gag, it was perfect and the director Mike Satrazemis said, 'I don't think we need to do it again.' But we did do another take or two of everything that happened after they spilt out. We did a few takes of the other stuff, me hitting my knees, falling, gurgling, we did that stuff a couple times."0comments
While it has been years since Nichols appeared or worked on The Walking Dead, he is still a proud member of the show's family. "It feels like it didn't really end in a way," Nichols said. "I always feel like it's over which makes me very sad but when you walk around here and you meet everybody and everybody's yelling out, 'Spencer!' and waving, it feels like I just finished the show a few months ago. It doesn't feel like it was very long. It feels like you're a part of a family that you'll be a part of forever."
The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9 pm ET. Fear the Walking Dead will return for its fifth season in 2019. For complete coverage and insider info all year long, follow @BrandonDavisBD on Twitter and watch ComicBook.com's After The Dead each Sunday night following new episodes.