Jon Bernthal was quick to shut down the possibility of appearing on Fear the Walking Dead as his The Walking Dead character Shane Walsh but gave a full explanation fans can get behind while aboard the Walker Stalker Cruise.
A fan followed up on the story which earned a surprising amount of buzz among fans despite being highly unlikely, especially seeing as Bernthal's character was in Atlanta when and in the weeks after the world fell while Fear the Walking Dead is taking place on the west coast and Mexican-American border and quickly surpassing the timeline where Shane Walsh died.
"That character of Shane, I so appreciate that people dig him and people would want more of him," Bernthal said. "For me, it was such a cool opportunity cause he was a guy with a beginning, middle, and end. He was a guy a full arc. I knew when I took that part that he was not gonna make it long. I knew that he was gonna start off eating a burger, sharing a pile of ketchup with his buddy, talking about his buddy's marital problems and being right there for him..."
He knew, from the beginning, the character would turn on Rick before dying which provided the aforementioned arc. "I knew that within the course of 10, 15, 20 episodes I was gonna be sleeping with his wife, then I was gonna be jealous, then I was gonna wanna kill him..." Bernthal said. "That is a great character! That is an opportunity, man."
"When I was leaving, I'm not gonna lie, I was scared," Bernthal admits, but he did find work. "The truth is, slowly but surely, I got to go into something else, I got to go into something else..." Bernthal recalls. "It all started right there with that group of people."
Ultimately, the memory is too sweet for Bernthal to try to recreate. "I can't go back to that," Bernthal says. "I'll never have that. That's it to me. That's what that was to me. I love it, I love that I had it, and I love that I moved on from it. It was the greatest thing that ever happened to me but also leaving it was the greatest thing to happen to me."
Part of the reason Bernthal enjoyed his time on the AMC show so significantly: his co-stars and crew members. "Walking Dead was such an unbelievably pivotal, important time in my life," Bernthal said. They were basically his first family. "Those people that made the show, they're still some of the closest people in my life. I love them. That main group of people I started that show with, that's as good as it gets. That's race horses waiting to take off. Also, it was a time where I got folks like Norman and Andy and Sarah ... I hadn't had a family yet. I was waiting to get married and I had these models of husbands and wives and fathers and mothers and family and you can have a family and hold family up here and even go into this business that doesn't support being a family type person. I learned so much from that. I learned so much about how to be a number one on a show from Andy Lincoln. Norman Reedus teaches me lessons just by being Norman Reedus."
The Walker Stalker Cruise will set sail again in early 2019. Watch Bernthal's full panel from the Walker Stalker Con-lead event here!
The Walking Dead returns for the second half of its eighth season on February 25, 2018 on AMC. Fear the Walking Dead directly follows, debuting its Season Four premiere on April 15 at 10 pm ET. For complete coverage and insider info all year long, follow @BrandonDavisBD on Twitter.