Some Fear The Walking Dead fans are threatening to exit the series alongside freshly killed-off lead Madison Clark (Kim Dickens), who met her controversial end in the season 4 mid-season finale.
Following Dickens’ exit, former The Walking Dead star Lennie James looks to receive top billing moving forward, setting Morgan Jones as Fear’s new lead — a move that comes after some viewers have already complained of doing away with a middle-aged female lead, a rarity for genre television.
“I have loved this character, I’ve loved playing this character, I’ve loved this show, and I’m so proud to have been a strong female empowered lead of a genre show,” Dickens said of Madison on live Walking Dead-centric after show Talking Dead.
“They’re usually led by male leads, and it was just such an honor to have this special experience of being that lead female calling the shots. And also, I’m not in my 20s or not in my 30s, mind you. She was a mother too — a mother who was ferocious, and I just thought it was just such an honor to get to play her.”
Dickens, adding she thought there were “so many more stories to tell and so many more places to go” with Madison, admitted she was initially “shocked and disappointed and heartbroken” when she was told by new showrunners Andrew Chambliss and Ian Goldberg Madison would be dead halfway through season 4.
The 52-year-old actress echoed those comments in a talk with The Hollywood Reporter, saying it “has been such an honor to play this fierce and empowered woman who is mature and a mother, and is maybe not your typical idea of a lead for the genre.”
The move to axe Madison has brought scathing criticisms from THR and Inquisitor, both of whom opine about the effects of ageism on Hollywood productions and the role it may have played in Dickens’ abrupt removal from the series after just three-and-a-half seasons.
In broader terms, the Walking Dead is facing a lead problem: Fear loses its lead just months before the flagship series is set to lose longtime leading man Andrew Lincoln, whose looming exit has also come under fire by fans who have threatened to stop watching once Lincoln’s Rick Grimes is no longer with the show.
Those results were backed up by a recent online poll where more than 44% of respondents claimed they would be exiting the series alongside Lincoln, and Fear could suffer a similar fate following the loss of both Dickens and Madison: some viewers are now citing the loss as cause for dropping the series.
Well, I think I'm done with Fear the Walking Dead now. I quit the other dead years ago. I get that some characters have to die, but writers, SOME HAVE TO LIVE. pic.twitter.com/KoRmvA79H5— Belinda Frisch (@b_frisch) June 12, 2018
The Walking Dead and Fear the Walking Dead keep writing out my favorite characters and I’m so done with it. There are only three characters left that keep me watching these shows and the second they’re gone I am doneeeeeee.— Padfoot ?? (@brochtuarach) June 13, 2018
guess i need to find something else to watch. fear the walking dead is now done after killing off main cast. the walking dead will be done once they kill rick and carol. #basiccableproblems— Here In The Woods (@outhereinwoods) June 11, 2018
@FearTWD I stopped watching The Walking Dead too many main stars we’re dying Fear the Walking Dead just done the same thing I just stop watching you guys to been watching both shows from the beginning not anymore ?— Scott harting (@Scottharting4) June 11, 2018
The fact that they killed off ur great powerful strong independent character is 1 huge mistake ???? u made Fear The Walking Dead such great show?Made us care for u n rest of the cast?They might as well throw the whole damn show down the toilet?that's what they've done?— James thentir (@TheMadMonkey247) June 11, 2018
@KimDickens I’m done with Fear the Walking Dead. You’re gone and so am I.— Ray V. (@charmedray) June 11, 2018
The main reason I watched #FearTWD is the lead character just happened to be a mature woman in the post apocalypse world. Killed her off the show and replaced by a man. Ageism is very much alive and well in the industry. #ageism #inequality #gender— Matt (@MattGoesHere) June 12, 2018
So we had two young men take over Fear. Is this ageism? WTF? You have the strongest, toughest female character on TV and you cut her? This reeks of ageism. Madison Clark IS #FearTWD , not Jenna Elfman or Lennie James (BOTH OF WHOM I LOVE). This is an outrage. #ageism— Causeway Chaos (@causeway_chaos) June 11, 2018
Killing Kim off was stupid I'm done with fear the walking dead— Cheri Halstead (@CheriHalstead) June 11, 2018
I'm done. I loved Madison - a woman over 40 in a lead role as a tough, take no prisoners mama bear. Gimple killing her off as soon as he gets control of #FearTWD strikes me as #ageist and #misogynistic.— Sue E (@seveleth1124) June 14, 2018
2 days later & I'm even more upset I that #FearTWD killed off Madison. I loved this season & the new characters & would've liked to see her w/ them. A 40 year old woman leading a drama/horror show was amazing. She didn't have to make room for Morgan, they could've led together.— Grace (@gymnastgrace) June 12, 2018
It bums me out that #FearTWD has been so bad this season when it was so good last season. It bums me out more that this awful storytelling feels like it's fueled by ageist and anti-POC sentiment....— oakie (@aoyakawa) June 13, 2018
#FearTWD showrunners try to justify their misogynistic views of how a successful show that was lead by a woman now has to be lead by two males cause for them females are expendable but not the new white guy that survived a bullet to the chest or Morgan who 'can't die'. @AMC_TV https://t.co/mjQQotZTRB— Moonie ∞ ™️ (@sun_moonie) June 12, 2018
I have no idea what I just watched. I’m speechless. Goodbye strong, female lead. Thank god for the hiatus. Sometimes I hate being right. What a heartbreaking thing to see that happen to such a brillant, fierce woman ? #FearTWD pic.twitter.com/CXAOVqQWky— Julia (@Julia_Walnaught) June 11, 2018
i think i'm done with Fear the walking dead.— Podd Socks (@PoddSocks) June 11, 2018
That's what's so disheartening. I don't want an invincible lead in a zombie show, but I have to wonder if there was a subconscious perception that, being a woman, Madison was more dispensable.— Knick (@Idol_Thoughts) June 11, 2018
It's also disappointing to never have Madison interact with the #FearTWD newcomers.
Something needs to be said about this woman. Kim Dickens DID THAT. Madison Clark was a super mother, ruthless badass warrior, hero, female lead and an incredibly important character for the world of The Walking Dead and television. Period. #FearTWD pic.twitter.com/GsJhNAMBNp— Ꮆ.u.Ꮍ. ? (@dollopgaga) June 11, 2018
I'm disgusted that the new #FearTWD showrunners killed off Madison. A woman can't carry that show? She has been.— ?Barbara? (@ThisBarbara) June 11, 2018
I can't believe that the writers and showrunners of Fear The Walking Dead would be stupid enough to kill off both Nick and Madison, the lead main characters of the series just to further the storyline..... or are they that stupid? #FEARTWD— Andrew Snarls (@AndrewSnarls) June 11, 2018
I don’t understand why the producers are killing off major people like seriously why Madison! Are they trying to ruin their shows! I mean we are already losing Rick and Maggie in Walking Dead now we have to lose Madison in Fear The Walking Dead like come on! #FearTWD— Rue (@Rueellen) June 11, 2018
As far as Fear The Walking Dead is concerned Kim Dickens should not have been bumped off! She played a strong character who was a good role model for women inside and outside of this show! Yeah I'm pissed off about it!— Big Ray (@exacta123) June 11, 2018
The Walking Dead without Andrew Lincoln is not twd
Fear The Walking Dead without Madison will never be the same.
Madison was a lead female protagonist with two kids that she wanted to protect at all cost. #FearTWD was a family drama that happens to be in a zombie apocalypse— Patrønus [lll] (@FerPafri) June 11, 2018
@AMC_TV @FearTWD you disappointed me. kim deserved better. we had a female lead and now a boring guy from ANOTHER show is taking over. we’re so pissed. you thank god that alycia and colman are here or else i wouldn’t even bother. flop !!— fatma (@haughtcarey) June 15, 2018
@FearTWD Madison is a strong, independent woman, a true leader.— Sym - Angy (@symsoa) June 12, 2018
You killed Madison because she is a woman. As always the women
"They must not" be strong or intelligent. Shame.#FearTWD #FearTheWalkingDead #madison
#FearTWD @FearTWD— ??? Flor kom ClexaBarchieSanversSwiftiekru (@curiousflow) June 14, 2018
I can’t even begin to say how messed up this is!
You killed a female lead to put a male lead instead!?
If anyone deserved the lead it’s Alycia since she’s been there since the pilot. So disrespectful! https://t.co/TVIIWzqFwA
I said the same thing. Madison was the most feared mom on tv she’s my hero! I’m pissed my show is ruined now. I don’t know if I will watch it anymore and I’ll be done with TWD after Rick and Maggie leave. I don’t care about Maggie. I wish being a bitch suited her but it doesn’t— HelloSusan (@susanStrode) June 12, 2018
They would never have killed Rick in season 4. It's complete b*******. I'm so beyond pissed off right now. They just killed the heart of the show. Literally and figuratively. #FearTWD— KimOnTheCouch (@KimOnTheCouch) June 11, 2018
Still angry over this waste of a complex, powerful character & an amazing actress for no good reason. S4 started great, then the writing nosedived. Don’t know if I can watch anymore. @ScottMGimple ruined another show. ❤️ you @KimDickens— Elrond Lawrence (@El4short) June 14, 2018
I *can’t* with this show. #TheWalkingDead is going into season nine with three of its first-season characters. #FearTWD is down to two after four seasons. It’s kind of nice that they’re a fierce young woman & a gay black man, but still. And sure, “anyone can die”- but everybody?!— 4318_Commodore_Court (@4318commodorect) June 11, 2018
The fact that AMC dropped a strong female lead for yet another Male lead... I love Morgan, but this just isn’t his show. This is just sad. pic.twitter.com/EsTPYqUEc6— StaticParadise (@StaticParadisee) June 15, 2018
So.. @FearTWD killed off Madison (Kim).. The LEAD of the show to put a man as a lead.!?
Lol.. I can't wait for Alycia to leave the show for something better than this.!
I'll will stop watching the moment she leaves..
FearTWD is crap now..!!
Gimple ruined it..— Jasmin.. (@frankcliffGzCD_) June 14, 2018
Fear The Walking Dead returns with its mid-season premiere Sunday, August 12 on AMC.prev