Given that it takes place during a zombie apocalypse, it's no surprise that The Walking Dead has said goodbye to more than a handful of major characters over its six seasons on the air. One character to have long since met an unfortunate end is Andrea (Laurie Holden), who fans will recall perished near the end of season 3. Her end was part of a season-long arc that involved Andrea becoming romantic with the season's big bad, the Governor, and temporarily acting as a go-between as tensions between Rick and the other survivors in the prison and the people of Woodbury escalated. In the end, Andrea ran afoul of the Governor and wound up dying as a result.
However, according to Holden, that wasn't the original plan for Andrea's death at all. In fact, the original plan for Andrea would have the character still be alive going into this fall's seventh season.
Holden revealed this scoop during a recent appearance at Walker Stalker Con, which as one might have guessed is a fan convention focused primarily -- although not entirely -- on The Walking Dead. She laid things out as follows:
"Well I had an 8 year deal, I was supposed to be there until the end. I was supposed to end up with Rick. I was supposed to save Woodbury on a horse, and I was buying a house in Atlanta. I got the call at 10 o’ clock the night before, while I was shooting, from the show runner who is no longer a part of The Walking Dead, saying that they couldn’t write the episode and that he was killing my character. So we all got the script everybody on the set was sobbing. I felt like I got shot. None of it was supposed to happen the way it did."
For those who may not recall, the show runner Holden refers to above was Glen Mazzara, who assumed the position following Frank Darabont's abrupt departure over creative differences with AMC and Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman. Mazzara himself exited stage left from the series after the conclusion of season 3, and was subsequently replaced by current show runner Scott Gimple. What exactly Mazzarra meant when he told Holden that "they couldn't write the episode" is up for debate, although it could logically mean that he and the writing staff just didn't feel that Andrea's storylines were coming together in a satisfactory fashion.
As far as Andrea ending up with Rick, the two characters did eventually become an item in Kirkman's comics, and remain one to this day, due to Andrea not having died in the print realm. Whether that could have worked on-screen is anyone's guess, as a potential romance between the two was never really broached, and Andrea was off with Shane by season 2. Of course, there's also the question of whether fans would have even accepted the relationship, as Andrea was a prime target for online hatred for much of her time on The Walking Dead.
Should Rick and Andrea have defeated The Governor together and began a love affair? That's debatable, but it would sure make the current Walking Dead landscape quite different, especially when one considers that Andrea's best friend Michonne ended up in a relationship with Rick herself.
The Walking Dead returns for season 7 this October on AMC.