Fear the Walking Dead’s Colman Domingo Was “Depressed” Over Kim Dickens and Frank Dillane Exits: “It Takes a Toll on You”

Fear the Walking Dead star Colman Domingo admits he was left "severely depressed" by a creative overhaul that killed off series leads Madison Clark (Kim Dickens) and son Nick (Frank Dillane) in the fourth season of the Walking Dead spinoff. Following the departure of co-creator Dave Erickson, who inked an overall deal with AMC in March 2017 before stepping down as showrunner, Fear brought on successors Andrew Chambliss and Ian Goldberg under executive producer and Walking Dead chief content officer Scott Gimple. This change in direction, part of the first-ever crossover between the two shows, revamped the companion series with a new cast of characters led by the flagship's Morgan Jones (Lennie James).

Domingo and co-stars Alycia Debnam-Carey, who plays Alicia Clark, and Rubén Blades, who plays Daniel Salazar, are the only remaining cast members from Fear's first season developed by Erickson and franchise creator Robert Kirkman.

"There are challenges, and I will say it's not easy. There was one season where it did take a toll on me, to be very honest," the Victor Strand actor told Skybound's Talk Dead to Me podcast about changes that occurred between the show's third and fourth seasons "when we were changing out a lot of our cast."

"There were some of my closest friends, like Frank Dillane and Kim Dickens, leaving the show. And a lot of the other actors that came on board, like Daniel Sharman and Kevin Zegers," Domingo said. "It's like I'm on a roller coaster constantly with people coming into my life and leaving my life, so it does mirror the character, what the character is dealing with. And at some point, while you're inviting in new cast members, it takes a toll on you."

The addition of new series regulars Garret Dillahunt, Jenna Elfman, and Maggie Grace in the revamped Season 4 was part of a "tricky season," Domingo said. "But I think we all knew that it was difficult and [we] were all trying to figure this out together with as much love and grace and generosity, and everyone had to step up. But for a moment, I was severely depressed, to be very honest."

The deaths of Madison and Nick, leaving Alicia as the last surviving member of the blended family that started the series, came after almost all of the characters from Erickson's three seasons were killed. And another change in scenery — from California to Mexico to Texas — meant more readjustments.

"I didn't understand what we were making. I thought the show that I joined had these core members as part of it, and then you have to leave that," he said. "You have to reexamine, 'What is this world? What are we doing?' And then when we move to Texas. 'Wait a minute, my world was Mexico. Will I speak Spanish again?' So again, it takes a toll."

"It took a lot of work, but I think that because everyone understood the demands of it, I think that everyone truly did come at it with so much love and grace," Domingo added of his new Fear family, who have so far survived into the sixth season. "I really love the people I work with, and so I think we got closer because of it."

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Domingo is also a director on Fear and steps back behind the camera for Sunday's episode 603, "Alaska," partnering Althea (Grace) with Dwight (Austin Amelio).

New episodes of Fear the Walking Dead premiere Sundays at 9 pm ET/8c on AMC. Follow the author @CameronBonomolo on Twitter for all things TWD.