Chad Coleman Defends Tyreese's Death on The Walking Dead

Chad Coleman defends Tyreese against claims his character "died the lamest way possible" on The Walking Dead. Coleman played the tough but temperate Tyreese Williams across three seasons of the AMC zombie drama, surviving the Governor (David Morrissey), a post-apocalyptic super-flu, and being hunted by the cannibals of Terminus. But during a trip to Noah's (Tyler James Williams) old community in the Season 5 episode "What Happened and What's Going On," Noah's zombified younger brother bites Tyreese on the arm​. Before Rick (Andrew Lincoln), Michonne (Danai Gurira), and Glenn (Steven Yeun) can get him medical care, Tyreese succumbs from blood loss after the amputation of his zombie-bitten limb​.

"That's what people say. I don't believe that at all, to tell you honestly," Coleman said on The VOC Podcast in response to a claim his character "died the lamest way possible." Coleman defended the death, saying the episode from director Greg Nicotero and writer Scott Gimple was a tribute befitting of a character who struggled with the violence necessary to live in the zombie apocalypse. 

"How many times do you see an African American male with power and vulnerability like that? He's an amazing mix of vulnerability, bro. I love that, I love playing that," Coleman said. "The dude could take a hammer and smash your face in and then just feel the most vulnerable for his family and people. I love that and I thought the episode was totally apropos for the man he was. If you never saw the show and you watched that one episode, you get who Tyreese is."

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After noting "a lot of people" have similarly criticized Tyreese's death by sneaking walker, Coleman was asked if his character might have been saved.

"Of course he could have. Of course," he said. "But those are things that I'm not going to go into and open up pandora's box on that. It's all good, it's all love. I have amazing memories and I made an impact."

Seven years after his final episode of The Walking Dead, Coleman has hinted at Tyreese's return on the forthcoming episodic anthology series Tales of the Walking Dead. The spinoff, which will tell new stories set at the beginning of the Walking Dead apocalypse and other zombie tales with returning characters, is now filming for a summer 2022 premiere on AMC.

The Walking Dead: The Final Season Part 2 premieres Sunday, February 20 at 9:00 pm ET/8c on AMC. Follow the author @CameronBonomolo on Twitter and @NewsOfTheDead for The Walking Dead Universe coverage all season long.