First time Walking Dead director Millicent Shelton, who helmed 'Scars,' reveals a scene depicting Michonne's (Danai Gurira) unwilling slaughter of feral children controlled by Jocelyn (Rutina Wesley) underwent "several different versions," including a minor trim to Michonne's beating by a two-by four. "It really wasn't a huge rewrite it was just little tweaks. It kind of was just amping up the kids. The kids kept coming," Shelton told INSIDER. "That's what changed in the script — the kids have to keep coming and the adding of [Michonne] saying, 'No don't. I don't want to do this.'"
The children, who branded Michonne and Daryl (Norman Reedus) — leaving them with identical scars — in the name of "strength," were under orders to mark their kill, then kill their mark. Though Michonne hoped to dispatch the children through non-lethal means, the relentlessly advancing children aimed to strike Michonne's pregnant stomach and stood in the way of the rescue of abducted daughter Judith, who was safely retrieved only after Michonne killed Jocelyn and the kids.
"Even when we got on set, even when we were with the kids I was like, 'Guys, you've got to be more ferocious, you have to really come at her,'" Shelton said of the young actors, who were provided with an on-set psychologist to better diminish any lingering effects of the brutal scene that culminates with Michonne swiftly executing old college friend Jocelyn.
"Yes, that was definitely intentional," Shelton said when asked about the clear distinction separating Michonne's expeditious handling of Jocelyn versus her hesitation to lethally halt the kids. "I mean Jocelyn's an adult and Jocelyn has betrayed her. And Jocelyn, to be honest, is hitting her with a two-by four! She was wailing on her. I think they cut it down a little bit in the edit from my director's cut. I mean she was wailing on her!"
Though the actual act of slaying the kids is mostly unseen — the scene instead splices in action from present day, intercutting between flashback and present Michonne as she cuts through a pack of walkers to rescue a 10-year-old Judith (Cailey Fleming) — Shelton added she would have made just one change to the episode.
"I mean, if I had my way I would have had even more juxtapositions of the walkers and the killing and the kids," she said. "It could have been seamless. But I think the way it is, is really tasteful and is really well done."
The Walking Dead next airs its penultimate episode of Season Nine, 'The Calm Before,' Sunday at 9/8c on AMC.