The actor behind Fear The Walking Dead's major casualty asked to be killed off the show, THR reveals.
Frank Dillane, who has portrayed reformed drug addict Nick Clark since the series' first episode, was shockingly killed off in the final moments of Sunday's episode, 'Good Out Here' — and the death came at Dillane's request, according to Fear season 4 showrunners Andrew Chambliss and Ian Goldberg.
The decision to axe Nick "actually goes back to season three, before Ian and I even came aboard. Frank Dillane had asked the producers and AMC if he could leave the show, because he wanted to pursue other opportunities," Chambliss said.
"One of the first things we were tasked with when we came on to run season four was to really find a story that would give Nick a fitting sendoff. He's been with the show from day one, so it was very important to us and to Frank to find a death for him that was emotional and one that would ripple forward throughout the storytelling."
Added Goldberg: "We should say that Frank has been amazing to work with. We're big fans of his work as this character over the first three seasons. He was really receptive when we pitched him our idea for how he was going to close out Nick's story. We think he played it beautifully. He understood the emotional ramifications of it. He was very complimentary, and has been great about the whole thing."
Asked if Dillane's abrupt departure after more than three seasons came as a hard pill to swallow for the cast and crew, it "definitely was," Chambliss said.
"Especially for the core cast, who were very close with him going back to the pilot. They really see each other as family. It wasn't an easy thing to do," he added.
Dillane personally delivered the news to the core cast, with Chambliss and Goldberg following up with the actors on how Nick's murder would affect the survivors moving forward.
"I think you can see how connected everyone is, just in those final moments, when Alicia, Strand and Luciana are standing over Nick's body as he dies," Chambliss said.
"A lot of that emotion is genuine, because Alycia Debnam-Carey, Colman Domingo and Danay García were all very sad to see a co-worker who they became very close with over the years leave."
Fear has split its latest season into two timelines — the 'before,' with action centered around the survivors' camp at the baseball stadium, and the 'now,' its action centered around the Clarks crossing paths with series newcomers Morgan, Althea, and John — leaving the door open for more Nick throughout season 4.
"It's safe to say that there's a lot more story to tell with Nick," Goldberg said.
That story will include explaining why Nick was hellbent on getting his revenge on Ennis (series newcomer Ethan Gamble), brother of lead Vulture Mel (series newcomer Kevin Zeger).
"We understand, to a certain degree, why he's so driven and why he's so violent toward Ennis in this episode. We kind of see the buttons Ennis pushes in him, whether it's the fact that Nick essentially lost Charlie to this other family, the Vultures," Goldberg explained.3comments
"He taunted Nick about keeping his family fed, playing on Nick's feelings of failure about the crops dying. There's more story to be told with Nick that we think will provide some emotional context for why he's such a different person when we find him in the present day story, than how we've seen him in the Diamond."
Fear The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9/8c on AMC.