“Oh my gosh. I don’t know if I have the heart to kill the dog, man,” Kang admitted to EW when asked if Dog is a set up for yet another death to crush Daryl, who wandered off into the woods searching for the body of the “dead” Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and never came back.
“When I started the show in season 2, I was also Team Daryl Should Have a Dog. It’s this thing that’s kind of been batted around for a long time, and it never happened. And to be honest, a dog would’ve died pretty quick during some of the seasons that they were in,” Kang explained.
Six years after the supposed death of Rick — who has been flown somewhere far away, last seen gravely injured aboard a helicopter in the care of Anne (Pollyanna McIntosh) — Daryl has become a woodsman living in a makeshift camp on the edge of a river, admitting to Carol (Melissa McBride) he can’t let his brother go because they never found a body.
“So we were talking about, how can we show the state that Daryl’s in? And I thought that it would be great that he’s been off for a while after Rick’s presumed death. Daryl just went off,” Kang said.
“And Daryl is somebody who hunts and goes about and does things, and it seemed like a dog is a good companion. It shows that there’s still a desire for him to have a connection somehow. And so the dog is his faithful companion. In my mind, there’s also a story behind where that dog came from. And so that’s how we ended up with a dog.”
Reedus, who has long lobbied for a canine companion for Daryl, “wanted to help pick the type of dog, so he kept texting me pictures of adorable dogs for weeks,” Kang said.
“And the two dogs that play the dog are great. The main dog, his name is Seven, and he is just so adorable and such a great dog. So it’s a lot of fun seeing Norman work with the pup finally.”
Working with Seven is “so good,” Reedus told ComicBook.com.
“I love it. I think he’s the smartest cast member we got. We just did a scene the other day that ended up being the opposite of what it was supposed to be because the dog just wanted to do something else, and it came out so much better. He’ll probably be running the show. It’s great! I love it. He loves me, too.”
Kang’s peace of mind comes as fans have taken to social media to express their concerns for Dog, who nearly ended up zombie bait in “Stradivarius” when he found himself trapped and surrounded by gnawing walkers. Viewers are hoping to avoid witnessing the dog experience the same tragic and traumatizing fate that befell Shiva, the tiger best friend of King Ezekiel (Khary Payton) torn apart by walkers in Season Eight.
Audiences have since appropriated the phrase once belonging to Reedus’ fan-favorite bowman: “If Dog dies, we riot.”
The Walking Dead airs its Season Nine mid-season finale, “Evolution,” Sunday, November 25 at 9/8c on AMC.
Knowing how the show is, they’re probably gonna kill off Daryl’s dog and he’s gonna be an emotional wreck and the viewers are going to cry a waterfall and I am not ready for that #thewalkingdead #TWD #donttrusttheshow pic.twitter.com/G34vxJJfCJ— nightwolf (@rbridget24) November 19, 2018
I will be so upset if anything happens to the dog would be the worst death #TheWalkingDead— Kelly Jasnica (@Kelzbel1988) November 19, 2018
that fucking dog scene had me tense as FUCK #TheWalkingDead— tk (@tayshake) November 19, 2018
I’ll accept whoever get killed, just spare the dog #thewalkingdead— ?????? (@_plusULTRAAA) November 19, 2018
#TheWalkingDead dont yall dare kill that dog, 1 episode and I'm attached, plus Darryl needs him.— Haleiana (@Halei1908) November 19, 2018
If this dog dies, i'm done #TheWalkingDead— B (@inkypens22) November 19, 2018
If #TheWalkingDead kills Daryl’s dog next week, I’m done. I’m barely watching this show the way it is. Unless the dog gets helicoptered out cause that would be adorable.— RBrookeWysocki (@RBrooke21) November 19, 2018
Jesus Christ I thought Daryl was going to lose his dog and I would have cried #TheWalkingDead— Eevee Hayley (Rachael) (@RoppelRachael) November 19, 2018
“You better not kill off Daryl’s dog”November 19, 2018
DARRYL YOU SAVE THAT DOG I WILL NOT SURVIVE A SECOND SHIVA #TheWalkingDead— J❣️ (@enigmainafalda) November 19, 2018
Oh my gosh, if you introduce this adorable dog, let me fall in love with him and then immediately kill him I’m gonna lose it! I know the track record of animals on this show! #ifthedogdiesweriot #thewalkingdead #twd pic.twitter.com/JrBryiwarg— Beth Hannel (@bethhannel) November 19, 2018
Woohooo!November 19, 2018