The Walking Dead Actor Is Defending Their Controversial Death

While on The VOC podcast, The Walking Dead actor spoke to the discourse surrounding the death of his beloved character

By Carolyn Jenkins | Published

This article is more than 2 years old

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After a decade of fighting for survival, The Walking Dead has seen many deaths. The current season of the popular AMC show will be the final one, but many deaths from previous seasons still haunt fans. Beloved character Tyreese Williams (Chad Coleman) did not have the most brutal death as opposed to other fan favorites, dying in season 5’s episode What’s Happened and What’s Going On. Tyreese was known for his empathy and commitment to doing the right thing, making his death a tragic loss. 

In the episode, Tyreese’s death is only revealed in flashbacks, as he is bitten by a sneak attack from a walker. In a surprising turn, he doesn’t succumb to the virus. Instead, he dies from blood loss after his arm is amputated (via Fansided). This cause of death is shocking, as it has been established in the past that infection can be stopped through amputation. Tyreese was not as lucky, earning ire from The Walking Dead fans.

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While on The VOC podcast, The Walking Dead actor spoke to the discourse surrounding the death of Tyreese. Though some stated that he “died the lamest way possible,” Coleman disagreed (per Express). “I don’t believe that at all,” the actor stated. “How many times do you see an African-American male with power and vulnerability like that?” The walker that had bit Tyreese was the brother of fellow survivor Noah (Tyler James Williams). Tyreese had not wanted Noah to see his brother that way which is why Tyreese was alone in the room with the zombie. Coleman states that if viewers only see that episode, they can understand what Tyreese is about. He is defined by the way he cares about people.

The Walking Dead has always had its share of shocking deaths, but Tyreese’s departure came at a particularly heavy time. The series had just shown the death of another empathetic character Beth Greene (Emily Kinney). Beth did not die due to a walker, but through the evil actions of people (via CBR). She is killed by a shot to the head, culminating in the devastating visual of Daryl (Norman Reedus) carrying her body out of the hospital. And as much as Tyreese wanted to spare Noah, he wasn’t so lucky either. The character died later in a particularly graphic scene (via Digital Spy).

Coleman noted that Tyreese’s death plays against type. Tyreese’s weapon of choice is his hammer so vulnerability is a nice change. But The Walking Dead fans will note that the character’s death in the comic is much different. In Robert Kirkman’s graphic novels, Tyreese’s death in the comic is far more brutal. He goes out in the famed confrontation with the Governor. Rick refuses to give away the prison to the Governor and in response, he decapitates Tyreese. Cinema Blend prefers the comic version, but some publications like Fansided think the show’s death is poignant.

As for Chad Coleman, his character’s death on The Walking Dead did not slow him down. He went on to act in another adapted television series, The Expanse. The sci-fi series based on the James S.A. Corey book series depicts a future where space travel is not only possible but used for profit. Mars and the Asteroid belt have been colonized but have caused a cold war between Mars and Earth while the Belt suffers injustices. Coleman portrayed Earth-born Fred Johnson who is fighting to liberate the Belt through any means necessary. Coleman’s legacy lives on in these properties, even though fans may be displeased from time to time.