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.
While The Walking Dead can be considered fairly dark regarding its content matter, according to a previous actor on the show, there was one storyline that the network considered too “dark” for the hit zombie apocalypse series, according to NME.
Lew Temple, who played Axle in Season 3 of The Walking Dead, recently spoke to Skybound‘s Talk Dead to Me podcast and revealed that his character was originally supposed to be a serial killer.
“I showed up with the idea that I was going to be a serial killer and foreboding,” Temple explained.
“And then the day of, got a note to switch that, ‘No no, we’ve gotta lighten things up a bit, we’ve been pretty dark.'”
Viewers will remember that Axel was one of the prisoners discovered still inside the prison that Rick Grimes’ (Andrew Lincoln) group took over. While Axel’s backstory was believed to be that of a drug addict who was somewhat wrongfully jailed, Temple explained that this was originally going to be a facade that hid his darker side. In fact, as the actor explained further, there were a couple of disturbing storylines written regarding Axel that was eventually ditched by the network.
“There were some episodes that were written where I do take Beth out into the woods and slaughter her,” Temple said.
He also explained that another abandoned script saw Axel beating up Carol Peletier (Melissa McBride), who had previously been a victim of domestic violence. The storyline was later changed and a budding friendship ended up developing between Carol and Axel.
However, hints at his darker side were still left in regarding Beth (Emily Kinney), that saw him trying to hit on Beth and being stopped by Carol with a reminder about the girl’s age. At that point, there is a little ambiguity as to whether or not he would continue to proposition Beth until he discovered that Carol wasn’t a lesbian and set his sights on her instead.
While all of these storylines were planned for the character, it was later decided to ditch the original plan thanks to a need to have the Governor (David Morrissey) turn up to wreak havoc on the prison. As a result of this, the scripts were changed and Axel ended up being the one who was shot dead by the Governor, surprising all of those present at the prison when it happened and leading to panic over the potential that others could be taken out in the same way.