Walking Dead fans have likely heard some of the development struggles it took getting AMC’s horror powerhouse off the ground, including an NBC that didn’t want zombies, but it seems the series very nearly looked quite different. Original showrunner Frank Darabont actually wanted ex-Punisher Thomas Jane for the role of Rick Grimes, before Andrew Lincoln came along.

Granted, The Walking Dead has come a long way from its original showrunner Frank Darabont, who himself ended up replaced in Season 2 with some of his material discarded, some 2013 comments on the show’s development have been making the rounds (h/t/ UPROXX). Per the L.A. Times’ Hero Complex, Darabont wanted The Mist star Jane to take up Rick Grimes’ iconic six-shooter.

A Reddit update to the story also goes a bit further into why HBO declined The Walking Dead initially, as well as some of Darabont’s potential plans, including to explore the origins of the zombie apocalypse. As has also been previously revealed, Darabont intended the second season opener to flash back to the story of a walker Rick found inside the series premiere tank, then played by Sam Witwer.

Andrew Lincoln has since elevated Rick Grimes to his most iconic role, one admittedly more intense than his comic counterpart, but would Thomas Jane have changed our concept of Rick entirely? While we ponder, The Walking Dead Season 6 will return on February 14.

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