The Walking Dead Star IronE Singleton Thought T-Dog Wouldn’t Survive the First Season

IronE Singleton, who played Theodore 'T-Dog' Douglas in the first three seasons of The Walking Dead, signed onto the show with the understanding his character would be killed off after "two, maybe three episodes." Singleton expected T-Dog to be killed off in Season 1 episode 4, "Vatos," where Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) journeyed into Atlanta with T-Dog, Glenn (Steven Yeun), and Daryl (Norman Reedus) to retrieve Daryl's older brother Merle (Michael Rooker) — who was handcuffed to a roof and left there when T-Dog accidentally lost the key — and a bag of guns dropped by Rick in the show's pilot episode, "Days Gone Bye."

"It turned into something I couldn't have imagined. I was like, 'Okay, he'll be gone by the Vatos,'" Singleton told Skybound's Talk Dead to Me podcast. "I kind of figured T-Dog would die during the 'Vatos' episode, because I was like, 'Okay, there's a lot of drama, a lot of action, some fighting here.' I said T-Dog will probably go."

Rick's crew were brought into a standoff with the Vatos Gang led by Guillermo (Neil Brown Jr.) when Glenn was abducted by Felipe (Noel Gugliemi) and Jorge (James Gonzaba) during their search for the weapons. When captured Vatos Miguel (Anthony Guajardo) was offered in exchange for Glenn, Guillermo threatened to push Glenn off a roof with a demand for Rick to hand over the bag of guns and Miguel.

The situation cooled only with the arrival of Felipe's grandmother, revealed to be in the care of the Vatos Gang along with other nursing home residents abandoned during the initial outbreak.

"When I got through that, I was pretty hopeful I could continue on," Singleton said. "But then we got to the CDC … I was reading [scripts] from the back to the front [laughs]. 'Let me see if T-Dog is in here first!'"

Rick's group took refuge in the Center for Disease Control in the first season finale, "TS-19," where the Atlanta survivors were almost killed when Dr. Edwin Jenner (Noah Emmerich) activated the facility's self-destruct feature.

After narrowly escaping the blast that killed Jenner and Jacqui (Jeryl Prescott Sales), Singleton recalled, "I was like 'Oh my God, I made it through this episode! That means I'm going into Season 2. Or maybe they're gonna kill me in-between Season 1 and Season 2 [laughs].' But that didn't happen. That was awesome."


T-Dog would survive until Season 3 episode 4, "Killer Within," where he died saving Carol (Melissa McBride) from walkers.

The Walking Dead next airs "A Certain Doom" as a special episode later this year. For all things TWD, follow the author @CameronBonomolo on Twitter.