Fear the Walking Dead shocked its audience when Madison Clark was killed off half way through its fourth season, a surprise which extended to series newcomer Garret Dillahunt.
Dillahunt and Dickens had previously worked together on Deadwood. In fact, the bond between the two actors helped influence Dillahunt's decision to join Fear the Walking Dead. However, they would never get an opportunity to share the screen together as Dillahunt's John Dorie was only present in a timeline where Dickens' Madison had already perished.
"Well, that was tricky," Dillahunt tells ComicBook.com. "It was one of the big reasons I wanted to do the show. Our first meetings were before either of us knew that... We all knew Frank [Dillane] wanted off the show, but he'd wanted off the show for some time. We all also know that Kim didn't. It's an uncomfortable fact. She's doing just fine, but it was a surprise. It was a surprise to me, too. We had to have a talk after, because I called her after my first meeting. I said, 'Hey! This sounds kind of cool, I'm kind of excited. This is going to be great, blah blah blah. Joanie and Wilcott reunited!' Then she told me about her meeting, which went a little differently."
Of course, learning of Dickens' exit being a shock could have potentially swayed Dillahunt in another director despite hearing exciting promises about the series. Dickens, however, encouraged him to stay on board.
"What I appreciated, though, and this speaks to her class, it's an awful thing for all parties involved to have to say to someone," Dillahunt explained, "but this speaks to her class, because she was like, 'I still think you should do the show.' She's like, 'It was a very rewarding experience for me. The people are great.' She loves Alycia [Debnam-Carey], she loves Colman [Domingo], and I've grown to love them, too. I'm grateful that she... That's a really generous move. That's a really generous move."
In the wake of Dickens time on the show, fans have longed for a return of Madison, though many have embraced Dillahunt as John Dorie in the meantime. It's no secret the series saw a major overhaul in its most recent season, though. Dillahunt was also caught off guard by the "extensive" level of revamping and relaunching the show underwent when he joined. "That was unexpected at first, during the original talks," Dillahunt said. "Before I signed on officially, they made it clear what was going to happen, so I don't mean to say I didn't know. I don't think any show does know very far in advance. They have an idea of where they want it to go, but then they always make changes, or something happens, or one character pops or something. In general, things never go exactly how you want."
Fear the Walking Dead Season Four is available on Blu-ray and DVD now!
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.