The Walking Dead has certainly not gone without its fair share of major character deaths. From Andrea’s little sister Amy kicking the bucket early on in the series all the way to Beth Greene and Tyreese, we have learned that saying goodbye is a normal part of watching the show. With so much death taking place on a weekly basis, it can be easy for one of them to get lost in the shuffle. That’s precisely what happened with Shumpert, a Woodbury resident back in Season 3.
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Admittedly, Shumpert is not what you’d call a major character. Casual fans of the series might be hard-pressed to even remember him by this point, let alone know his name (he was sometimes credited as ‘Bowman’ because he carried a crossbow). But for some hardcore fans of the show, Shumpert was a very interesting character, at least enough to warrant his own collection of memes.
Along with Caesar Martinez (and Merle Dixon, before his exile), Shumpert was one of the Governor’s most trusted confidantes. He had a very unique and intimidating appearance, so he always stuck out during most of the Woodbury scenes that featured him. Like Silent Bob, however, he rarely ever spoke, and I thought he may have even been a mute before he finally got a line of dialogue (“Martinez, we got biters!”). There was just a certain charm about him, easily making him the most memorable background character of The Walking Dead.
Travis Love also played a Vatos gang member in Season 1 (far right)
In the Season 3 finale, the Governor gunned down most of his followers after their failed attempt to overthrow the prison. Shumpert and Martinez were the only two of his soldiers spared and the three of them drove away together. It was fun to speculate what role Shumpert would play with the Governor in Season 4, until we learned that Martinez and Shumpert abandoned the Governor shortly thereafter.
Not sure if I’d ever get to see good ol’ Shump again in the series, I lit up when episode 407 closed out with the Governor reuniting with Martinez. You can just imagine my heartbreak when the following episode revealed, through a couple lines of dialogue between Martinez and the Governor, that Shumpert had already died. According to Martinez, Shumpert wasn’t the same after Woodbury, and had gotten himself bitten as a result of his own reckless behavior. This quick exchange between Martinez and the Governor probably went over the heads of millions of people watching the show, but for Shumpert fans like myself, it was disheartening.
Why didn’t Shumpert come back for Season 4? For one, Shumpert was portrayed by Travis Love, a production assistant who originally worked behind the scenes on the show. His look was what probably got him picked to portray a Woodbury henchman, and perhaps his lack of acting experience was why his dialogue was kept at a bare minimum. Maybe showrunner Scott Gimple was unsure if Love had the range to do a dramatic death scene?
In any case, though, it would have been a lot harder for the Governor to take over Martinez’s camp if he also had to take out Shumpert as well, so for the sake of the story, it was just easier for the big guy to be dead long before the Governor showed back up. Still, I never did see a body. Maybe Martinez was lying to the Governor, and Shumpert had actually struck out on his own as a lone, badass zombie slayer (much like how Morgan later became). That’s not very likely, but hey, a Shumpert fan can dream, right?