The Walking Dead: Why did Sarah Wayne Callies really leave TWD?

In the first few seasons of The Walking Dead, major character deaths were aplenty. However, arguably no-one’s demise hit the characters harder than that of Lori Grimes (played by Sarah Wayne Callies). In the years since the character’s exit, actor Callies has revealed why she left the AMC series.

Why did Sarah Wayne Callies leave The Walking Dead?

Lori Grimes died while giving birth to Judith inside the prison.

Accompanied only by Maggie (Lauren Cohan) and Carl (Chandler Riggs), Lori died delivering the baby via a caesarean which ultimately cost her her life.

In heartbreaking scenes, she said goodbye to her son Carl as she became aware of the scenario she was in.

Carl then took it upon himself to shoot his mother in the head to prevent her from turning into a Walker.


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Her death, which came in season three, episode four, may have seemed brutal but it wasn’t quite as harrowing as the character’s fate in the comics.

In the comic-book series, Lori is shot in the back by one of the Governor’s soldiers, Lilly.

Not only that, she falls on Judith which ends with her newborn being suffocated.

It was the fate of Lori in the comics which inspired actor Callies to leave the TV series.


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Speaking to Collider in 2012, Callies said: “I knew from the get-go that Lori died in the comic books, so I came to this job assuming that she had an expiration date. 

“There was the death of Shane (Jon Bernthal) and the death of Lori. To me, those were very difficult things to get around. 

“Frank (Darabont) said, ‘I’ve never had a leading lady argue her way off the show.’ 

“In the books, Rick (Andrew Lincoln) goes nuts because his wife dies. Lori had to be a big girl to make that call.”

Callies also mentioned how she was happy for her character to go but wanted Judith to suffer a different fate.

She said: “When they told me Lori was going to die, they pitched me what they had as an idea for how.


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“My first question actually was, ‘Does the baby make it?’

“They said, ‘Yes.’ For some stupid reason, it made all the difference.”

The Walking Dead star added: “I was like, ‘Okay, well, as long as the baby makes it, that’s good.’”

In a separate interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the Lori star revealed she has nothing but positive feeling towards the role.


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Callies said: “(It was a) tremendous, tremendous [experience]. Walking Dead started as such a humble show,

“We didn’t think anybody was watching, and we’re all really brave when we don’t think anybody is watching.

“Everybody was just taking these huge risks, which was thrilling to be a part of — absolutely thrilling.”

Lori went on to appear in a handful of episodes after her death as a haunting vision to husband Rick.

Callies also leant her vocal talents to season nine episode What Comes After – the same episode Rick departed in.

The Walking Dead season 10 continues every Sunday on AMC and every Monday on FOX UK.

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