Skip To Content

    25 Behind-The-Scenes Facts About These Heartbreaking TV Character Deaths That Make Them Even More Memorable

    "May we meet again."

    🚨Warning: There are MASSIVE spoilers ahead for a ton of TV shows!🚨

    1. First, on Stranger Things, the original plan was to have Bob Newby die around Season 2, Episode 4 instead of in the penultimate episode of the season.

    Joyce screaming while a Demodog attacks Bob

    The Duffer brothers explained, "We just kept delaying it because we started to really like the character, and he started to become more important to the plot. We just kept pushing his death further downfield." Matt Duffer said right after they wrote it, he had a "bit of a breakdown," saying that it "really hurt" to kill off such a genuine character.

    2. On This Is Us, Mandy Moore had no idea that Milo Ventimiglia was actually going to be lying in the hospital bed when Rebecca finds out that Jack died.


    "We had shot all of our other scenes at the hospital together, but nobody had told me he'd stuck around," recalled Mandy. "So I had no idea and apparently that was the first take they used when I see his body and I didn't know he was going to be there. So it was all the more jarring and upsetting, and just indescribably sad." 

    3. And on This Is Us, even though Ron Cephas Jones knew William's death would happen — based on flash-forwards — he didn't want to know exactly when until the episode was written.

    William telling Randall, "'Cause the two best things in my life were the person in the very beginning and the person at the very end"

    Ron found out about William dying in "Memphis" when he got the script along with the rest of the cast. Talking about filming William's death bed scene alongside Sterling K. Brown, Ron said, "It was difficult. Sustaining those emotions over a period of time, and having to work through the technical stuff, that’s where most of the difficulty comes in. Everything that goes into it comes from inside, so you have to be prepared to open yourself up and let those feelings flow."

    4. After Lexa's shocking and awful death on The 100, fans raised over $100,000 for The Trevor Project, a charity that assists LGBTQ+ teens. At the time of Lexa's death, over 25 lesbian and bisexual characters had died on TV in 2016 alone.

    Lexa telling Clarke her fight is over, and Clarke saying, "May we meet again"
    The CW

    Lexa's death rightly sparked fan outrage as another character fell into the "Bury Your Gays" trope, which sees LGBTQ+ TV characters dying in unnecessary ways, sometimes in service of the plot lines of their heterosexual counterparts. In 2020, Alycia Debnam-Carey, who played Lexa, returned for the series finale of The 100. She said, "I wanted to do it specifically for the fans and to have a little closure to finally feel like there was a positive spin that had happened. It was an ode to how much [Lexa and Clarke] loved one another and to have some healing for the fans."

    5. On Grey's Anatomy, most of the cast members didn't know Lexie was going to die and Chyler Leigh was leaving the series until the table read for the Season 8 finale.

    Mark telling Lexie they're meant to be and then repeating "I love you" after she dies

    Sarah Drew, who played April Kepner, recalled finding out, saying, "We were all weeping at the table read because nobody knew it was coming. There were rumors that maybe somebody might die, but nobody [except Chyler] knew who."

    6. On Bones, the very last scene John Francis Daley filmed was when Sweets is being zipped into a body bag. They shot the scene at midnight, most of the crew and writers had gone home, and some of the cast and producers were at Comic-Con, so he didn't get a chance to say goodbye.

    Booth telling Sweets he's gonna be fine, and Sweets saying, "The world is a lot better than you think it is"

    John remembered being "covered in blood" so he couldn't hug anyone once he wrapped. He said, "We were shooting at midnight, so most of the primary crew were already gone for the day. The writers had all gone home. The producers were at Comic-Con, as were Emily [Deschanel] and David [Boreanaz]. So I walked out of a nearly empty stage and couldn’t say a proper goodbye to people."

    7. On WandaVision, the moment when Wanda says goodbye to Vision before he dies (again) was written "very early and stayed pretty much as is," even though other aspects of the series finale changed.

    Wanda telling Vision they'll "say hello again" before Vision disappears
    Marvel / Disney+

    Writer Jac Schaeffer said Wanda and Vision's goodbye and "moving toward a place of acceptance" was always going to happen during the series finale, so this scene was written very early. Meanwhile, director Matt Shakman recalled that the scene was complicated to film because it moves through several decades, but it was worth all of the work because it was a "beautifully written" and "beautifully acted" scene that perfectly encompassed Wanda's journey.

    8. On Orange Is the New Black, Samira Wiley knew about Poussey's tragic death for a "little over a year" before the final two episodes of Season 4 started production.

    Taystee weeping over Poussey's body

    Writer — and Samira's wife — Lauren Morelli wrote "Toast Can't Never Be Bread Again" and Samira said she "felt so honored to be able to have Lauren write the final episode of Poussey." A lot of the cast found out about Poussey's death after reading the script. Blair Brown, who played Judy King, said after the script was sent out, you could tell who had read it and who hadn't based on everyone who was crying.

    9. On The Originals, Hayley's death was accidentally leaked on Twitter months before the episode aired when a writer posted the writers room's whiteboard, which detailed the outline for the final season.

    Klaus saying, "No" after Hayley catches fire after leaping out the door and into the sunlight
    The CW

    "We had started shooting, but we hadn’t shot that," creator Julie Plec revealed. "We could either stay the course to kill Hayley or not, but our entire season pitch was built around killing Hayley." So, despite the massive leak and fans knowing, The Originals stuck to the plan. Looking back on her last day of filming, Phoebe Tonkin said she wrapped at 1 a.m. and a lot of the cast and principal crew weren't around, so she ran through the studio finding as many people as she could and gave "many tearful hugs."

    10. Before filming "The Quarterback" episode of Glee, the cast and crew had a private memorial for Cory Monteith where people sang, and they honored both Cory and Finn Hudson.

    Rachel saying Finn loved her and everyone in Glee Club, and then saying she used to sing alone in the car before Finn

    "I feel like, for me personally, I've lost two people: Cory and Finn," Lea Michele said about filming the episode back in 2013. She continued, saying, "We had a beautiful memorial for Cory in the auditorium and some of the cast members sang and people spoke about him. It only felt right that we would do the same thing for Finn, so I felt it was very therapeutic."

    11. The Haunting of Hill House creator and director Mike Flanagan said when he first thought of Nell's devastating arc, he started crying and that "The Bent-Neck Lady" was the episode that made him want to "make this show."

    Olivia telling Nell, "It's time to wake up, sweetheart" and Nell screaming as the Bent-Neck Lady

    Mike recalled, "My favorite is probably Episode 5. I remember when the idea for Nell's arc with the 'Bent-Neck Lady' occurred to me, I started crying." Mike said it was important that we learn how exactly Nell died in the middle of the season, saying, "This was the heart of the show, and that's why it's nestled right in the center. It completely changes everything that came before it."

    12. On Sons of Anarchy, while you only see Jax, Tig, and Chibs during Opie's final moments, the entire cast was standing in front of Ryan Hurst so he could look at everyone during his last scene.

    Jax crying while looking at Opie

    Creator Kurt Sutter explained, "I do know that Ryan had requested that the guys be there for those final moments so he could actually look out over the guys that he’s been working with for the last five seasons. It was very emotional."

    13. Between The Walking Dead Season 6 finale and the Season 7 premiere, it took a total of six days to film Glenn and Abraham dying at the hands of Negan.

    Glenn saying, "Maggie, I'll find you"

    Looking back on filming the episode, Steven Yeun explained that it was "gnarly," saying the shoot consisted of being on "your knees, on the gravel, pretending and believing that you're about to die." As tradition on The Walking Dead, the cast put together "death dinners" for Steven and Michael Cudlitz as a way to say goodbye.

    14. On Riverdale, Luke Perry's family read the script for Fred's farewell episode before filming began. Luke's family provided real-life photos of him for Mary to look through in a scene.

    Archie saying, "Fred Andrews will always be a part of Riverdale"
    The CW

    "We involved them as much as we could. … They read the script, and then they provided those great photos. I loved seeing him in his baseball uniform," recalled showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa. Also, Shannen Doherty guest-starring was a way to honor Luke's wishes because he always wanted Shannen to appear on Riverdale.

    15. On Game of Thrones, Richard Madden booked a flight right after filming the harrowing Red Wedding episode. He didn't even have time to change, so he was covered in fake blood and was sobbing on the plane.

    Robb uttering "Mother" before being stabbed and hearing, "The Lannisters send their regards"

    Richard didn't have another job to get to, he just wanted to get as far away from the heartbreaking set as fast as possible. When he sat down on the plane, he started crying. "I sobbed and sobbed on that Friday. I was hysterical, actually. I was so exhausted. I cried all the way home," he said. "I was sobbing and covered in blood. I looked like I’d murdered someone and got on that flight."

    16. On Money Heist, Alba Flores said one of the worst parts of filming Nairobi's shocking death was watching all of the other actors crying over her body.

    Gandia saying, "I said I was going to kill you" before shooting Nairobi

    Alba said it was "very traumatic to see all the characters cry because of my death." When thinking about Nairobi's death, which she called "inevitable," she hoped that Nairobi would jump in front of a bullet to save one of her friends. However, the death scene that was written ended up leading to a very beautiful episode where they all fight to avenge her, which Alba loved.

    17. On Mare of Easttown, when Evan Peters signed on to the show, he was given the first five scripts, so he knew from the beginning Zabel would die and he loved developing the character knowing his fate.


    Evan said he worked heavily with creator Craig Zobel to help come up with Zabel's backstory and his character. Originally, Zabel was going to be a little "more cocky," but that changed because Evan wanted the audience to feel the tragedy of his death and love him. Evan loved that he might not have been the best detective, but at the end he did great work and "at least got that."

    18. On Jane the Virgin, right before filming the moment when Jane finds out about Michael's death, Gina Rodriguez listened to a voicemail from Brett Dier, who was in character as Michael, and it detailed how much Michael loved Jane.

    The narrator saying, "And friends, I did say Michael would love Jane until his dying breath" and Jane screaming and crying
    The CW

    Showrunner Jennie Snyder Urman said they put off Michael's death — of course, he later comes back — as long as possible and eventually she sat down each cast member "individually" to break the news that Michael was going to "die."

    19. On Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Sarah Michelle Gellar filmed the one-shot scene when Buffy finds Joyce's body only "three or four times," and it was like a "choreographed dance" between Sarah and the crew.

    Warner Bros.

    Sarah elaborated, saying, "It’s not just hard on me emotionally, but the camera guy had to hold the camera the whole time, the soundman had to hold the mic and not be in the shot. I always say that performance was all of us together."

    20. On How I Met Your Mother, Jason Segel had no idea Marshall's dad was going to die until they filmed the episode, so the moment includes his genuine reaction.

    Lily telling Marshall his dad had a heart attack and died, and Marshall crying and saying, "My dad's dead? I'm not ready for this"

    Creator Carter Bays said that the only thing Jason knew going into the scene was that Lily's final line ended with "it." Carter recalled watching Alyson Hannigan and Jason film the moment, saying, "What Jason and Alyson were going through was so unbearably real."

    21. Veronica Mars creator Rob Thomas knew they were going to kill off Logan "long before" they pitched the revival series — they told Jason Dohring before going into the season too.

    Veronica saying, "Heroes upon whom we're doting. Logan" before looking shocked after an explosion
    Warner Bros. / Hulu

    Rob explained that they killed Logan because they wanted to get rid of the "half teenage soap" of Veronica Mars and focus on it being a "noir detective show." Jason said his "heart sank" when he found out about Logan's fate. While filming the season, Jason and Kristen Bell took the time to reflect on their work together and would even catch themselves looking at each other and thinking, "Damn, this is it." 

    22. How to Get Away with Murder creator Peter Nowalk said one of the hardest choices he had to make was deciding to kill Wes during Season 3. In fact, he didn't make the choice of who would die until halfway through the season.

    Annalise crying and repeating, "No"

    "I was like, 'I’ll make it when I have to,'" Peter explained. "Then eventually it was Episode 7, and I had to make a decision. It was the least fun aspect of this job that I’ve had so far. I’ve had to make hard decisions, but this one…" Pete also kept the cast in the dark as long as possible, and when they found out, everyone was heartbroken. Viola Davis said it was "fairly devastating" and she couldn't even think about it.

    23. On The Boys, Becca's heartbreaking death was decided on in the beginning of the series, and while the creators contemplated keeping her alive, it didn't work for Butcher's storyline.

    Becca crying and telling Butcher, "You promise me you'll keep him safe"
    Amazon Prime Video

    "I think we talked through every permutation really in the beginning," creator Eric Kripke recalled. "We looked at any version of keeping her alive and we found that the show ended whenever she was alive, Butcher was just way too functional and complete a person." Shantel VanSanten said she found out about Becca's death midway through Season 2 and she was covered in pints of fake blood while filming the scene.

    24. On Dead to Me, Linda Cardellini improvised Judy's emotional line after she finds out that Abe died and she didn't get to say goodbye.

    Judy sobbing and saying, "No. No. I didn't get to say goodbye"

    This moment was filmed on the last night of production for Season 1. In fact, a lot of times, Linda and Christina Applegate would improvise moments long after they finished the dialogue in the script, and creator Liz Feldman would wait to say, "Cut."

    25. And finally, on The Magicians, besides Jason Ralph, the cast didn't know Quentin was going to die while filming the Season 4 finale — the "Take on Me" scene preceded a fake scene in which Quentin actually lived.

    Everyone singing around a campfire and Quentin crying

    Jason Ralph explained, "There was a dummy scene at the end of the script that washed all of that away and found a way for Quentin to survive. So everyone — the crew and [the cast] — was under the impression that’s what was actually going to happen."

    TV and Movies

    Get all the best moments in pop culture & entertainment delivered to your inbox.

    Newsletter signup form