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Fear The Walking Dead Star Gets Real About John Dorie's Fate

Contains spoilers for Fear The Walking Dead season 6, episode 8, "The Door."

When The Walking Dead returned for new episodes in February 2021, following a hiatus in response to pandemic complications, the series temporarily scaled down in size. The Walking Dead's upcoming eleventh season will be its last, according to current plans, which meant that filming The Walking Dead's bombastic final season under COVID-19 regulations would have been logistically impossible. Instead, The Walking Dead now includes a once-unplanned mini-assortment of six decidedly low-key episodes, released as season 10C, intended to tide fans over until the real-world pandemic is no longer a hindrance.

Such is not the case, however, with Fear the Walking Dead. When the spin-off returned to the air, it was full-fledged, bloody, and plot-heavy. One of the storylines central to the show's return involves one-time police officer John Dorie (Garret Dillahunt). John experiences a crisis of consciousness after a woman in the Lawton, Oklahoma settlement — which the show's protagonists call home — is put to death for a murder which John knows she wasn't guilty. His wife June (Jenna Elfman), meanwhile, won't run away from Lawton with him. John decides that his only way out is suicide.

Before he can carry through, however, he encounters fellow survivors Morgan (Lennie James) and Dakota (Zoe Margaret Colletti). As it turns out, the real murderer responsible for the other woman's death sentence is none other than Dakota. As John attempts to reason with her, she shoots and kills him, leaving June to have to kill him again upon his return as a zombie. Dillahunt has since revealed that he had been anticipating such a fate for his character well in advance of the episode's production.

John Dorie's Walking Dead death was planned

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Dillahunt revealed that he had been discussing an exit from Fear the Walking Dead with the show's producers since midway into the series' fifth season. His rationale, he explained, was a mix of wanting to move onto work on other projects, as well as finding John's death to be a fitting story beat for the character.

One major reason Fear the Walking Dead's season premiere was able to retain the series' signature bombast, while season 10C of The Walking Dead proper could not, is that Fear's debut episode was filmed almost entirely pre-pandemic. The only scene Dillahunt was required to shoot mid-pandemic was his emergence as a zombie. Dillahunt recounts having to sit on the secret of his departure from the show for an entire year, knowing full well his time on the series had concluded, but unable to say so publicly.

Dillahunt expanded on his reasons for leaving Fear the Walking Dead in an interview with UPI. "I still probably haven't recovered physically from that show," Dillahunt said, citing cold temperatures during night shoots, lack of sleep, and exhausting fight sequences as among his on-set difficulties.

He also discussed filming the scene in which John returns, albeit briefly, in zombie form. By Dillahunt's estimation, since John is newly zombified, a part of John may still remain conscious in that moment. As he lunges toward June, John may be still showing affection for his partner, or he may simply be acting aggressively toward a living human being.

Dillahunt is currently slated to star in the Zack Snyder-directed zombie feature Army of the Dead for Netflix later this year, and then Michael Bay's Ambulance in 2022.