9. The Vatos’ Fate Revealed (Season 2)
Remember the heady days of The Walking Dead season one? When Rick and his gang were more concerned with staying alive than rebuilding the world, Glenn looked about 12, and Andrea and Dale were still alive?
During the fourth episode, the survivors arrive at a nursing home in Atlanta and find a gang called the Vatos holed up there, protecting their family from the endless tide of walkers. Rick leaves guns and ammunition behind for them before hitting the road.
Going purely off the footage which aired, the Vatos’ fate was left open-ended, but a deleted scene from season two’s premiere reveals exactly what happened to them, and it wasn’t pretty.
Rick and his crew return to the nursing home to find it overrun with zombies and littered with corpses. All of the Vatos are either dead or undead, and on closer inspection, the former sheriff realises this was the handiwork of human pillagers, rather than zombies.
Yeah, it’s pretty grim, but that’s not why it was cut. Season two’s premiere was actually two episodes spliced together as a result of a subplot involving Shane being nixed at the last minute, so the showrunners were forced to axe everything bar non-essential footage to keep the runtime from spilling over.
8. The Glenn Dream Sequence (Season 7)
One of the saddest scenes from The Walking Dead’s seventh season – and let’s face it, there’s a good few – ended up on the cutting room floor when Rick’s daydream sequence from the premiere was streamlined.
The longer version of the dream brings back Glenn, Abraham and other characters who died horrible deaths to paint a picture of what Alexandria might be like in the future had they survived.
It’s a haunting scene which shows Glenn playing with his future son while Abraham and Sasha watch on, and it serves as a grim reminder that this child is destined to grow up without a father thanks to Negan.
There’s no official explanation for why this scene was cut. Presumably it was to tighten the episode’s runtime, or perhaps it was because its tone clashed with the abject horror of the rest of the episode.
7. Rick’s F-Bomb (Season 4)
F-bombs are finally fair game in Walking Dead, so expect a couple to be dropped in season eight, but Rick and co were forced to watch their language in the past.
This was felt at the end of season four when the Terminants imprisoned the gang and Rick launches into a dramatic monologue, punctuated by a panning camera.
“They’re gonna feel pretty stupid when they find out,” he says. “They’re screwing with the wrong people”.
In the comics, and indeed the original script for this episode before it was censored, Rick lets off a massive F-bomb instead of saying “screwing” and it sounds 10 times more badass.
Remember that episode of South Park where every other word is an expletive, a stunt it pulled to prove that swear words are only effective when used sparingly? This particular F-bomb would have been impactful had it been left in for this very reason.
Fortunately, the uncensored version of the scene wound up on season 4’s DVD and Blu-ray boxsets, and it hits home so much f***ing harder.
6. Zombie Lori (Season 3)
Rick Grimes tends to have dreams so outlandish that AMC is forced to streamline them, or cut them from The Walking Dead entirely.
For instance, in season three, after the tragic passing of his wife Lori, the former sheriff has a hallucination in which she turns into a zombie. It starts off nice and peaceful before descending into something nightmarish.
The scene required actress Sarah Wayne Callies to undergo hours of zombie makeup, only to end up on the cutting room floor.
Callies told TV And Film Review that the sequence was axed because it looked “really dumb”, but there’s no denying it would have made the episode more unsettling and added a more emotional gut punch.
5. Carl Confronts Rick (Season 7)
A scene removed from The Walking Dead’s seventh season was aired as part of a recap AMC broadcast ahead of the latest series, and it could hint at tensions to come between Rick and his son Carl.
In the clip, Coral confronts his father and asks him how he would have acted when Negan demanded he cut his son’s arm off if the villain hadn’t backed down.
“Would you have done it? Cut off my arm?” Carl asks. “Could you do it now? Because it could happen again.”
Rick admits he doesn’t know the answer, but their conversation is cut short when Michonne enters the room.
This is a charged sequence between father and son which could hint at a division between the pair in the future. In the comics, Carl strikes up a weird friendship with Negan and eventually leaves Alexandria to become a blacksmith’s apprentice at the Hilltop Colony.
His relationship with Rick is often strained, and this scene possibly foreshadows some of the tension to come.
4. Andrea’s Alternate Death (Season 3)
When Andrea met her end in season three’s finale, the worst part of her demise occurred off screen. Left handcuffed to a dentist’s chair in a room with a turning Milton, her fate was ambiguous until Rick and the group found her bitten a short time later.
The original plan was to have Andrea meet a grizzlier end, unable to free herself while the zombie Milton bites chunks out of her, with the whole thing captured on camera.
AMC shot the more graphic, shocking scene and intended to go with it, but poor lighting and production in the initial take forced the network to improvise, rather than shoot the whole thing again.
Admittedly, having Rick find a bitten Andrea made for a tense conclusion to her character arc, but if shock horror was what they were going for, her original death would have delivered more of that.
3. The Empty Baby Carrier (Season 4)
Most significantly, it reveals how the young girls react to the apocalyptic new world around them and ultimately foreshadows their tragic fates.
The scene comes to a chilling head when the group spot an empty baby carrier swinging from a tree. Mika is distressed by the discovery while Lizzie dispassionately moves towards it. The contrast between their responses is very telling.
AMC chose to remove this scene because the subject of deceased babies is too taboo even for Walking Dead. The show also swerved the topic during The Governor’s attack on the prison, which ended with the demise of Rick’s infant daughter Judith in the comic books.
2. Fat Joey’s Bloodier Demise (Season 7)
Who’d have thought Walking Dead fans would mourn the death of one of Negan’s henchmen? Very few after what he did to Glenn and Abraham, but Fat Joey was no ordinary henchman.
As he said to Daryl right before he bashed his head in with a metal pipe, he was just trying to “get by”, which is what made his demise all the more tragic.
When this harrowing scene plays out, the camera focuses rigidly on Daryl, never panning down to show off his handiwork, but that wasn’t the original plan.
According to Joshua Hoover, the actor who plays Joey, the original cut was far bloodier with shots of his head opening up under the blunt-force trauma. He even shared an image of how that would have looked on Twitter.
Hoover told ComicBook.com…
“Yeah I took a hit. I took a hit on the head from Mr. Norman Reedus, and it was a good hit. Norman Reedus has swung a metal pipe before in his life I think.
“Yeah I got hit right square in the head. There was the special effects that they do with the blood packet. They had a blood packet on the pipe and it just went everywhere. Everybody said it looked so awesome, but also pretty graphic. So i’m assuming that’s why they didn’t show that angle, they probably had a little too much already with Spencer’s guts. But, yeah, there was definitely another shot, and I’d like to see that footage.”
The Walking Dead came under fire for its overly gory season 7 premiere, so AMC’s decision to tone down this sequence was likely a response to the backlash, a rare moment where the show chose to pull a punch.
1. Nicholas Thanks Glenn (Season 6)
Glenn’s motivation for allowing Nicholas to get away with his crimes could have used fleshing out, so it’s surprising this scene was left on season six’s cutting room floor.
Obviously, Glenn is a good guy, but cowardly Nicholas left him and Noah to die surrounded by walkers, and later attempted to murder him in the woods.
Nobody would have blamed him for taking revenge or at least reporting Nicholas for what he did, but he chooses to give him a shot at redemption, and this nixed footage offers a shred of insight into why.
In this short clip, Nicholas apologizes to Glenn and the latter explains that he didn’t have it in him to condemn a fellow Alexandrian to death.
Of course, Glenn might as well have killed him for all the good keeping him around did, but this scene would at least have fleshed out their collective arc.