The cast of Fear The Walking Dead were left "stunned" by the death of longtime survivor Nick Clark and actor Frank Dillane's exit from the series after more than three seasons.
Appearing together during a panel at Fan Fest Nashville, Kim Dickens (Madison), Colman Domingo (Strand) and Danay García (Luciana) opened up on how they felt when it was learned Dillane would be moving on.
"I think that last season we knew that Frank has been itching to do some other things," Domingo said. "He's a musician, he's an artist. His family, his livelihood is in London, and he wanted to be back there."
Calling the workload "rough," Domingo said, "We work 16 hour days, we were away in Mexico, it requires a lot of you for six months at a time."
"I think he felt that he exercised as much as he can with this character and he was ready to do something else. And so it started with that decision," Domingo said.
"But then it was a stunner when we heard we was going to do episode three. But also it does resonate in the cast and the company, we're all feeling that way not only as a company on screen, but feeling that behind the screens. The loss of someone who's been a part of this from the very beginning."
"Yeah, I think when we finally found out exactly when and how it was gonna happen this season, we were all pretty stunned," said Dickens, who plays Dillane's onscreen mother. "A few of us that were together kind of ended up at [Alicia actress Alycia Debnam-Carey's] apartment and were kind of just quiet together."
"I went through three shocks," admitted García, who plays Nick's lover Luciana. "When I got the script, when I shot it, and when I watched it. So I'm like, 'oh my god, when is this gonna stop?'"
After finally bringing herself to watch the episode, "Good Out Here," she was brought to tears.
"I was obviously not ready for that," she said.
Dillane explained his decision to leave in a talk with Entertainment Weekly, saying that, to him, "the beginning of this season kind of felt like the end of an era with this show."
"And television is hard work, and you have to shoot a lot. I also missed Europe very much," the 27-year-old actor-slash-musician said. "I'm not American, so after a while I get quite homesick and all of those things. I also felt like we had achieved what needed to be achieved in the first few seasons, so I thought it was time to keep moving."
New season 4 showrunners Andrew Chambliss and Ian Goldberg said the actor requested to be killed off before the pair boarded the show following the departure of season 3 showrunner Dave Erickson.
Fear The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9/8c on AMC.