SPOILER ALERT: This article discusses AMC’s The Walking Dead. Please proceed with caution if you have not yet viewed all available episodes and wish to avoid spoilers.
Merle Dixon, the maligned brother of fan-favorite, Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus), was killed off in the penultimate episode of Season 3 of AMC’s The Walking Dead. However, Michael Rooker, the actor who played this character, has suggested that Merle was killed off for financial reasons, according to CBR.
While attending the recent Wales Comic Con, Rooker was asked which franchise he preferred working for, The Walking Dead or Marvel‘s Guardians of the Galaxy. His reply didn’t give an answer either way but revealed his startling opinion regarding AMC and the death of his character.
“I don’t prefer either,” Rooker told the audience.
“I made more money on Guardians [of the Galaxy]. Walking Dead, they were cheap. AMC was very cheap. That’s probably why they killed me off because they knew I was gonna get more money the next season.”
Merle, who was a racist redneck that dealt drugs before the zombie apocalypse hit, didn’t improve after walkers took over the world. Always antagonizing and controlling his younger brother, Daryl, the character had been left for dead after being handcuffed to a pipe on a rooftop in Atlanta. However, the character hacked off his own hand in order to escape a horde of walkers and was later taken in by the Governor (David Morrissey).
Merle then became somewhat of an antagonist to the main group in The Walking Dead, and Daryl was caught in the middle as he tried to negotiate to both get his brother to help them against the Governor and to keep the peace with him. Things escalated by Season 3, though, and Merle was killed by the Governor only to reanimate, and Daryl was tasked with having to put down his sibling.
If what Rooker says is true, Merle’s death was pre-emptive. At the time, it seemed like a good storyline as viewers sympathized with Daryl. However, perhaps in hindsight, there could have been more of a display of family rivalry and Daryl’s heartache regarding his brother as the series continued.
As yet, AMC has not responded to Rooker’s comments regarding the death of his character.
As previously reported by The Inquisitr, AMC has recently gone on the record to state that the introduction of super-villain, Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), saw a fall in viewership. They cited that the character was “too hopeless” to keep fans tuning in.
Season 10 of AMC’s The Walking Dead will return on February 23.