[WARNING: Major Walking Dead season finale SPOILERS below!!]

Going into The Walking Dead season 3 finale last night, fans of the show likely expected a few surprises, grisly deaths, and cast departures, but few were likely prepared for what Robert Kirkman, Glen Mazzara, and company had up their sleeves.

Long a character that polarized fans, Laurie Holden’s “Andrea” died last night, despite still living on as a prominent part of the comic book and serving as one of the show’s more layered and interesting characters. Don’t worry though: creator Robert Kirkman says her death is a good thing.

While speaking with THR, Kirkman defends the killing of Andrea, explains why he likes to see major differences between his comic and the show, and touches on the risk of a fan backlash.

On killing Andrea and giving her a “worthy” death:

“It’s a big departure from the comics, which to a certain extent is somewhat risky but at the end of the day I like the idea of there being big differences that key in to this is the show, this is the comic. I like that there’s some kind of separation there.

It was definitely something that weighted upon us heavily. The unfortunate thing is that you’re not really going to see why this was a good decision and good for the show until season four. We thought having that tragic end to her story line — having [Andrea] work so hard to save these people of Woodbury and find a peaceful resolution to this conflict was really something worthy of the character.”

Sadly, we’ll never get a chance to see that character fully fleshed out, but Kirkman isn’t too scared about a backlash from fans of his comic book.

“There’s always a risk of that and we’ll see how things go. The comics still exist and I’d urge those people to continue reading the comics where Andrea is still alive. Just know the show is something different and we are telling different stories. It doesn’t mean we’re not going to see a lot of the big stories and big events from the comic book in the TV show eventually; it just means those things will be a little bit altered from time to time. Hopefully it will be exciting, new and fresh just like it was the first time you read the comic, which is really the goal.”

If one thing is clear after last night’s finale, it is that Kirkman and company are, indeed, telling different stories with the comic and the show. All season long, we have seen a tear away from the source material in a way that could be described as more severe than in previous seasons with jumbled timelines. And now Andrea’s death, the Governor’s survival, and the arrival of a bus load of refugees from Woodbury.

Whether that is a good thing or a bad thing for The Walking Dead is subjective, but producers had warned that those separations from the source material would continue and now it may finally be sinking in: none of us have a road map through the zombie apocalypse, and that, in and of itself, could be a good thing.

The Walking Dead season 4 premieres October 2013 on AMC

Source: THR