David Morrissey, who played the Governor for two seasons on The Walking Dead, laments his character killing Hershel Greene in season 4. Phillip Blake was first introduced as “the Governor” of the seemingly idealistic Woodbury in season 3 of AMC’s post-apocalyptic series. While at first, the Governor appears to be a good leader, his true nature as a brutal psychopath is revealed as he comes into conflict with Michonne (Danai Gurira) and Rick Grimes’ (Andrew Lincoln) group at the prison. ‘
Following the fall of Woodbury, the Governor manipulates a new group into taking the prison in season 4. The midseason finale, “Too Far Gone,” sees the Governor use Hershel (Scott Wilson) and Michonne as hostages to convince Rick to give up the prison. Despite the latter’s plea for peace, the Governor uses Michonne’s katana to decapitate Hershel—which is also one of the goriest and most heartbreaking deaths in the comics. This results in a conflict that devastates the prison and ends with Morrissey’s character beating Rick to a pulp before being shot by Lilly Chambler (Audrey Marie Anderson).
During a panel at Fandemic Tour Atlanta, Morrissey discussed filming his and Wilson’s final episode of The Walking Dead. Specifically, the Governor actor remembered Wilson, who died from leukemia in 2018, and talked about being upset that his character killed Hershel. Read the full quote below:
“We’re all upset [when we’re killed off]. The thing I was really upset about was killing Hershel. [Scott Wilson was] one of the greatest men I’ve ever worked with or known. He loved being on the show, and so did I. You’d read [the script], you’d turn it backwards to make sure you were still alive [laughs]. As the season is going on you think, ‘Someone is going to go.’ I got to the trailer, looked at [the script], and then I saw I killed Scott. I just couldn’t believe it,” said Morrissey. “I was like, ‘Oh no, I’m never going to be able to walk down the street again. This is going to kill me,’ [laughs]. So, it was really tough.”
Morrissey went on to talk about his and Wilson’s tearful final days on set. “Wilson came out [on set] and he was sort of shaking everybody’s hands saying, ‘We’re going to make a great one, it’s going to be a great episode.’ And we did it, and it was really, really tough.” According to Morrissey, the whole crew showed up to work wearing Hershel-esque suspenders for Wilson’s final day then came in with eyepatches on Morrissey’s last day. While the Governor hasn’t been seen on the show since season 4, episode 8, Wilson reprised his role to film flashbacks scenes for season 4 and also for Lincoln’s “final” season 9 episode, “What Comes After.”
The Walking Dead is currently airing its eleventh and final season. Since the Governor, the show’s survivors have dealt with baddies including Terminus, the now-reformed Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), the Whisperers, and the Reapers. With Rick gone, Maggie Greene (Lauren Cohan)—whose son is also named Hershel—serves as Alexandria’s de facto leader. Season 11 has seen Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) join the seemingly idealistic Commonwealth’s military, learn all about its corrupt class system, and Maggie’s refusal of subjugation to Governor Pamela Milton (Laila Robins). In episode 13, “Warlords,” Maggie explains her reasoning by telling Lydia (Cassady McClincy) how Hershel repeatedly refused corporate farm developers. In The Walking Dead‘s final season, the series is still very much aware of characters like the Governor and Hershel.