Fear the Walking Dead started planning the "ugly mustard" that aired during Sunday's shock-filled midseason premiere back in Season 5. Spoilers for Fear Episode 608, "The Door." In what is the biggest death to hit the Walking Dead spin-off since Madison Clark (Kim Dickens) in Season 4, "The Door" ended with Virginia's (Colby Minifie) younger sister, Dakota (Zoe Colletti), shooting and killing John Dorie (Garret Dillahunt) for figuring out she murdered one of Virginia's Rangers. Like the Season 4 death of Nick Clark (Frank Dillane), which came about when Dillane asked for his character to be killed off, Dillahunt approached showrunners Andrew Chambliss and Ian Goldberg about Dorie's demise:
"I don't remember exactly when, but [John's death is] something we'd been talking about since Season 5. And then we had a lot of conversations between 5 and 6 about how John would exit," Dillahunt told Entertainment Weekly. "And they came up with this great idea — great, and tragic, and wonderful, and believable in this world for how to get him off the show. And, at the same time, propel the story forward."
Dillahunt went on to explain Dorie's death was part personal request to move on, part creative story decision.
"Well, I don't think it's a secret or anything. It's a little bit of both of those things. I loved my time on this show and will always cherish it," he said. "I get a little antsy after a while, and I'm not a kid anymore, and I have some things I wanted to do. And I'm just fortunate it worked out."
He added: "I can't imagine what goes into logistically planning these series. There are so many moving parts, there are so many people involved. It's a feat of almost engineering for these showrunners, and [Walking Dead chief content officer Scott M. Gimple], and the writers to navigate all the obstacles in general, putting a TV show on, let alone the needs of their actors. I just feel very fortunate that they were willing to hear it, and consider it, and then come up with a great idea that made everybody happy."
"The Door," which is now the midseason premiere ending an almost five-month hiatus, was planned to be the midseason finale before the episode was delayed when production was halted by the coronavirus pandemic. That meant keeping Dorie's — and Dillahunt's — exit a secret that much longer.
"It was beautiful. It was sweet and sad, the bittersweet. And I'm excited for the future," Dillahunt said about his exit. "There's a lot of things I'll miss on the show. Obviously, a lot I won't. There's always a lot you won't, but I'm real excited for what the future holds, and I'm real happy. And I'm really excited to stay in touch with the fans. I'll see you on the circuit, and John exists, and Garret's still alive. John will always exist. And he was a great character. I was honored to play him."
Follow the author @CameronBonomolo on Twitter for all things TWD. New episodes of Fear the Walking Dead Season 6 premiere Sundays at 9/8c on AMC.