Production on The Walking Dead's eighth season was temporarily halted earlier this month after an on-set accident resulted in the death of 33-year-old stuntman John Bernecker. According to the show's executive producer Robert Kirkman, who also created the comics upon which the show is based, the tragic incident will not affect the plot construction of the forthcoming new season.
As detailed by Entertainment Weekly, Kirkman spoke with press after an"AMC Visionaries" panel at the Television Critics Association summer press tour and said, "No storylines were changed. That was a tragic accident. It wasn't story-related, it was just a freak accident that happened on set, and it's something we're dealing with, but it hasn't affected the storyline in any way."
Bernecker fell from a 30-foot balcony onto a concrete floor during production of a fight sequence. He was rushed to the hospital before succumbing to his injuries.
Kirkman said that the cast and crew of The Walking Dead have been mourning the loss and that, even though Bernecker's death won't affect the outcome of the series, it will still weigh heavily on their minds. "They're dealing with it. It's a tragedy, so it's something that everyone is dealing with in their own way," he explained. "It's something that will continue to stick with us for years to come."
A TCA panel for the popular zombie series that was scheduled for Saturday was canceled so the producers could attend his funeral.
The Walking Dead returns Sunday, Oct. 22 at 9/8c on AMC.