‘The Walking Dead’s Jon Bernthal Loved Playing Shane But Says It’s “Good” He Was Killed Off

Former Walking Dead star Jon Bernthal is “so unbelievably grateful” for his time on the hit zombie drama but says being killed off was “equally as good” for his prolific career.

“Finally we’re on a show, the show was super successful, and it was kind of tailor made, it was right in my wheelhouse in showing something — I’d been doing like sitcoms and sh-t before that, stuff that I just don’t think I was very good at, and I love that character, it was such a beautiful character,” Bernthal told the WTF with Marc Maron podcast.

“That had a real arc, it had real buoys along the journey that you could really show something with. And I thought sort of just my luck, I finally get on this hit show and then I get f—ing killed off it. But definitely looking in retrospect, doing the show was one of the best things to happen in my career. And getting killed off the show was equally as good.”

Bernthal went on to appear in such big screen hits as the Martin Scorsese-directed The Wolf of Wall Street, Fury, and the acclaimed Sicario before landing the role of Marvel’s Frank Castle in celebrated Netflix series Daredevil and The Punisher.

But his short-lived tenure as Shane Walsh — the obsessive and unruly former best friend and partner of Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) who met his end in the penultimate episode of The Walking Dead’s sophomore season — brought with it friendships that still exist today.

“I think that for me the people you meet along the way is always the thing to take away, it’s always the most important part of this thing, and I think that those people, those original actors for The Walking Dead, they’re still some of my best friends in the world,” Bernthal said.

“We’re all enormously close and totally a part of each other’s lives. It’s great.”

Bernthal reprised his role in November’s ‘What Comes After,’ Lincoln’s exit episode. Shane appeared as a hallucination to a delirious Rick, who suffered extreme blood loss after he was impaled by a piece of rebar.

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Bernthal’s upcoming projects include The Peanut Butter Falcon, starring Bruce Dern and Bernthal’s Fury co-star Shia LaBeouf, and Ford v. Ferrari under Logan director James Mangold, where Bernthal stars as Lee Iacocca opposite Christian Bale and Matt Damon. Both films are due out this year.

The Walking Dead Season Nine airs Sundays at 9/8c on AMC.