‘Walking Dead’ Star Chad Coleman on Tyreese’s Death: I Want Fans to Riot, Peacefully

Spoiler Alert: “Chomp – the zombie got me,” AMC star tells TheWrap

Last Updated: February 9, 2015 @ 9:53 AM

(Spoiler alert: Do not read on if you have not yet seen the Season 5 midseason return episode of AMC’s “The Walking Dead” entitled “”What Happened and What’s Going On.”)

“The Walking Dead” has done it again.

Chad L. Coleman’s character Tyreese has been a fan favorite on AMC’s hit horror drama since his Season 3 debut. But the ferocious protector let down his guard for one brief moment on Sunday’s return episode and was overpowered by a single zombie.

“[My character] was overcome with grief from looking at pictures and – chomp – the zombie got me,” Coleman told TheWrap. “Here comes the blood bath that never stops.”

“The Walking Dead” has killed off beloved characters without warning before, like when Beth (Emily Kinney) was murdered on November’s midseason finale, but Coleman thinks fans might have serious trouble adjusting to the loss of Tyreese.

“I think they will be stunned and there will be a lot of weeping. I want them to riot, peacefully, but riot,” he said.

In addition to describing the harrowing scene that led to Tyreese’s demise, Coleman revealed why he’s so proud of his work on the series and who he thinks would win if his “Wire” and “Walking Dead” characters got into a fight.

TheWrap: How did you find out you were getting killed off?
Chad L. Coleman: [Showrunner] Scott [Gimple] asked me to come see him, saying he was checking in with everyone face to face for the midseason break. ‘Scott, I’m busy,’ I told him. ‘I’m watching Netflix and I don’t have time.’ Finally he sits me down and says, ‘the time has come for Tyreese to go.’ I said, ‘Scott, stop joking, man.’ But then he teared up and I [knew it was for real.] I kept saying ‘Wow, wow, wow.’ … I didn’t see it coming, put it that way… After he broke the news I immediately started to put it in perspective — I was a part of one of the greatest episodes ever shot, I’ll be fine.

So, tell me about Tyreese’s death. Describe it in your own words.
I’m looking at these pictures of his family’s life, a little boy on the bed, a gruesome scene. But I didn’t put two and two together — no pun intended — where’s the other twin? So, I was overcome with grief from looking at those pictures and – chomp – he got me. Now it’s on. Here comes the blood bath that never stops.

How was working with the ghosts of “Walking Dead” past?
I was so excited all these cast members who mean so much to me were back… It was one big love fest… It all went so perfect.

Was it a challenge as an actor?
[I had to] get inside the pain and the desparate fight to live. It was exhausting, of course, but that’s the kind of work you want to do. This is the kind of storyine ‘The Walking Dead” is famous for serving up. It was truly, truly amazing.

So, it was a good experience?
It’s always a warm and joyous environment being around the cast. My fealress director Greg Nicotreo was amazing. I was glad that he was at the helm to take me out. I feel good. I was grateful to be a part of two of the best episodes in show history.

Did you say goodbye to your cast-mates?
When it was all over, blood was everywhere. Everyone was like, “Hey, man, can you you put your bloody handprint on my script and sign it.? Can you put your bloody hand-print on this t-shirt?” I was completely wiped out. I was drained.

Any chance we’ll see Tyreese again?
What I’m hoping for — I have no idea, but this is what I would love – if you did something with Sasha, some type of flashback with her, and had me in that. A different time in our lives for whatever reason. Or she could be have a memory of her and I, something poignant and necessary to whatever the story line would be. I’m a fan,I’ll be watching to see where this thing goes.

We’ve seen Tyreese take out hundreds of walkers, but in the end all it took was one. What’s up with that?
A chit at that. It reminds me of when Omar was taken out on ‘The Wire’ by that little boy. He came out the deli and BAM. Guess what? This is the world we’re living in. No matter how virtuous you may be, no one goes unscathed.

Who wins in a fight between your “Wire” character Cutty and “TWD’s” Tyreese?
Cutty’s a boxer, so I gotta go with Cutty. Tyreese is an ex football player, but you know what happens to football players that try to be boxers… Wait. I shouldn’t say that. (laughs.) I’ll say it’s a draw.