The Walking Dead's Big F-Bomb Was Improvised

Warning: this story contains spoilers for Sunday's "Faith" episode of The Walking Dead. "Time to f--- s--- up." It was General Mercer (Michael James Shaw) who dropped the latest uncensored F-bomb in the final episodes of The Walking Dead, which has seen everyone from Daryl (Norman Reedus) to Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) let the "f-dash-dash-dash" word fly. But the episode-ending line — said when loyal soldier Mercer switches sides to jailbreak the wrongly convicted Eugene (Josh McDermitt), sentenced to death for the murder in the first degree of Sebastian Milton (Teo Rapp-Olsson) — originally wasn't in the script by co-writers Nicole Mirante-Matthews and Magali Lozano. 

"So that was not originally the line. And I don't even think that was originally the last beat of the script, but sometimes you're just in editing and you're moving things around and it just felt like that was such a cool, dramatic moment," Walking Dead showrunner Angela Kang told EW. "And that was just a free take that Michael did for fun and nobody thought we'd use it. But my editor had put it in the cut that he and the director [Rose Troche] did. And I was like, "We should just check the scripted takes, just in case." And, by far, that was the coolest, best take. And we're like, 'Let's just use it. Why not?'"

Kang continued, "I felt like there was an element of fun with it that you don't always get to see with Mercer, because he's so serious. And I really felt like he was kind of like, 'All right, Eugene, I know you and I have butted heads, but now we're in on it together.' Which I just thought came through so clearly in his read. So that's how it came about."

In the ending as scripted, "Mercer's original last line was, 'Time to take this place!' It was much more cut and dry."

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The line, which inspired a big reaction from Walking Dead fans and a slew of "f— yeah!" F-bombs on social media, comes as Mercer joins Eugene and sister Max's (Margot Bingham) revolt against corrupt Commonwealth Governor Pamela Milton (Laila Robins). It's a twist on the comic book story, where (spoiler alert!) Mercer spearheads a coup against the Miltons and presses Rick Grimes to lead the resistance — and the Commonwealth.

"This was our take on the storyline that's in the comics. In the comic book, Mercer does kind of approach our people about pulling a coup on Pamela and is caught. And we built to it a different way because we felt like it was important to spend a little more time with him to see why he hadn't tried it before," Kang explained. "What were the circumstances that led to this point? But we always love the idea that Mercer's is caught in a terrible position, but when he decides, 'My loyalty to the Commonwealth is done now,' and he's really on our people's side — it changes the game because he's got a lot of people behind him that are part of the military."

There are only two episodes left of The Walking Dead, which will conclude with its November 20th series finale.

Follow @CameronBonomolo and @NewsOfTheDead on Twitter for TWD Universe coverage all season long. New episodes of The Walking Dead's final season premiere Sundays on AMC and AMC+.