Shane’s Outlook On The World Defended By Walking Dead Star

The Walking Dead alum Jon Bernthal gives a blunt defense of his character Shane and his outlook on life. A main character during the pivotal first two seasons of The Walking Dead, Shane leads a group of survivors until the arrival of Rick, but there are signs that their reunion is somewhat troubled. As the series develops, Shane becomes more villainous in part because of his jealousy regarding the relationship between Rick and his wife Lori. Up until his death in season 2’s penultimate episode, Bernthal’s character occupied an increasingly murky moral space.


Speaking at a Q&A panel for Fan Expo Dallas recently, per CinemaBlend, Bernthal touched on Shane’s legacy in The Walking Dead and talked about why the character still remains popular so far removed from those early episodes. The Punisher star detailed how Shane was the first to understand how the rules of the world had changed, leading the way for what would happen after. In the quote below, Bernthal also mentions rewatching The Walking Dead with his son and seeing that Shane was right. He says:

I just think he was the first one to get it. You know what I mean? He was the first one to understand what that world was. And what great writing by Frank Darabont to figure that out. It was all perfectly mapped out. There’s that scene where he’s beating Ed by the river; he puts his hands on him, he hits him, he hits him again, and you could see it. He’s like, ‘You know, man, I could just f–king keep hitting you, dude, and there’s nobody that’s gonna do a damn thing about it. There’s that discovery: ‘Oh, shit, the world’s changed.’ Then he’s tracking the gun on Rick in Season 1, and he gets him in his crosshairs. He’s like, ‘Shit, I could actually just kill you, and nothing would really happen.’ So he was the first one to start figuring out that the rules were different. And then, you know, it leads to Otis and leads to everything that happened.

But it was all such a blessing for me, because it’s very rare that you get to play a part that has a beginning, middle and end, and there’s so many buoys along the water of your character’s journey that make so much sense and are so well-written and so well-executed. But he was the first one to figure it out. So it’s easy to go back now and say, ‘Man, Shane was right.’ Me and my son, my oldest, we’re watching it right now. I’m like, ‘Damn, that motherf–ker was right.’

How Shane Helped Set The Template For Walking Dead

Shane (Jon Bernthal) in The Walking Dead

As he grew more antagonistic toward Rick and the group, Shane becomes more prone to abandoning or even killing those he views as a liability, and feels no responsibility for those he’s written off. His main concerns are Lori and Carl, Rick’s son, who is angry and ultimately changed by Shane’s death. This gives The Walking Dead a nice bit of conflict with Rick over who is the more natural leader, but it also serves as a prime example of the sort of themes the series would reach for again and again during its long run in terms of how to live and behave in a world left for ruins.

There’s an argument to be made that Shane’s influence on The Walking Dead is strongly felt through Negan. Introduced as a traditional villain, with Jeffrey Dean Morgan chewing up the scenery during those introductory scenes, Negan had to be softened up and at least partially redeemed the longer he remained with the show. Now he’s leading his own spinoff, with some fans wanting to Negan and Maggie in a romantic relationship. Through that lens, it’s probable that Shane would have been redeemed to a degree if only he’d been part of the ensemble for longer than a few seasons.

Related: The Walking Dead: Why Shane Really Died In Season 2

Shane had to die, however, to prove one of the golden rules in The Walking Dead franchise, which is that main characters can be just as likely to perish as minor and supporting players. It’s a controversial approach, because of how it removes the faces that viewers have grown fond of, but it’s also helped to keep the story going by bringing new protagonists and antagonists that can build on the story foundations that were set up before their arrival.

Source: CinemaBlend

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