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Former The Walking Dead actor Michael Rooker said one of the reasons Merle Dixon was written off the show is because AMC didn’t know “what to do” with the character.

The veteran actor sat down for an interview with SyFy Wire on Friday ahead of his virtual appearance at GalaxyCon and talked about several roles he’s taken over the course of his career.

Rooker said producers and then showrunner Frank Darabont knew they wanted Merle to be a part of the show, but “held off” because they couldn’t figure out how to use him.


Merle first appeared in the second episode in season one of The Walking Dead when Rick Grimes attempted to get in the middle of a fight between Merle and a Black character called T-dog.

Merle was unapologetically racist during his short run in that first season and Rooker believes that’s one of the reasons he didn’t get much screen time in the early going.

He appeared twice in Season 1 and just once in Season 2. His second season appearance was as a hallucination by his brother, Daryl (Norman Reedus).
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