The Background Survivors, also sometimes classified as "redshirts" are the survivors who linger in the background during episodes while the main survivors are engaged in the story. These survivors usually have no part in the main storyline and perform normal, everyday, non-crucial actions, such as laundry and chores in the camp.
Background survivors are usually left unnamed, have no speaking roles, and are uncredited. They are ideal for being used as redshirts, characters used to "dramatize the dangerous situation experienced by the main characters", such as the zombie attack on the camp in Episode 4 (Vatos). Background survivors also debut in the nursing home protected by the Vatos gang, as they are the thugs, volunteer nurses, and elderly residents living in security from the undead.
A large number of background survivors also live at the town of Woodbury. Rowan states that 73 survivors live in the town, with the majority of them being background survivors.
A total of 33 survivors lived in the camp set up outside of Atlanta, 13 being nameless, background survivors. They seem detached from the main cast as they have no dialogue (except screaming when the walkers attack), and only participate during significant events, such as T-Dog radioing camp and the confrontations with Daryl and Jim. During the zombie attack on the camp in the episode "Vatos", all background survivors were killed in the attack. The following morning, Glenn insisted that they all be buried on the hillside, instead of being burned along with the rest of the zombie carcasses.
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It appears that a handful of background survivors (Jan, Frances Cobb, L. Stephanie Ray, Male Survivors # 1 & 2) appear exclusively in Days Gone Bye and Guts, most likely due to filming days and availability while other background survivors appear in later episodes, or are seen in all of them (excluding TS-19). "Days Gone Bye", "Guts", and the beginning of "Tell It to the Frogs" appear to take place on the same day, while the rest of "Tell It to the Frogs" and "Vatos" take place the next day, which could lead to different extras being available due to multiple filming days.
Another reason for having more extras appear on the 'first day' could be to make the camp look busy, as several characters had not been introduced on the show yet (Daryl, Ed, Carol, Sophia, Miranda, Louis, Eliza). Despite some of the extras not appearing in "Vatos" and "Wildfire", their characters (as unnamed background survivors) are considered dead as numerous bodies were seen being buried and the fact that they do not appear in the aftermath and none are considered missing, otherwise it would have been stated in the episode.
- Speaking Roles
Even though Background Survivors are never shown talking, some of their voices can be heard in the episode "Tell It to the Frogs".
- "Hey, Dale, can you see what that is?" - said by an unknown background man when the group hears the approaching car alarm.
- "Let him get a good look at it." - said by an unknown (possibly the same) man when the group asks what the sound is.
- "Morning." - said by Mitch as Rick leaves his tent early the next day.
- "It's over there!" - said by an unknown background man when the group hears the screams of Carl and Sophia in the woods.
- "Over here! Come on, come on!" - said by an unknown background man telling they group where the sounds came from.
At the nursing home are more than a dozen Vatos gang members, both thugs and nurses, as well as more than a dozen elderly residents that live in the well-protected compound. The thugs are seen working on vehicles in the garage, patrolling the compound and rooftops, and back up Guillermo when Rick and his men confront him. The survivors are only seen in Vatos.
In the deleted scene from the Season Two premiere it is revealed that the compound was breach, with many thugs killed by zombies and the elderly residents all executed with gunshot wounds to the head. Whether the Vatos gang figured out everyone was infected and killed the old folk as a mercy killing/to prevent animation/death by zombies, or the compound was attacked by an separate group, is unknown.
- Thugs and guards
- Elderly residents and nursing staff
Six unnamed (most of them), uncredited National Guardsmen were seen at a small encampment in Season 3's "Walk With Me". They were all led by Corporal Brad and were murdered by the Governor's men as they led an ambush on the encampment.
A total of 73 survivors live in the town of Woodbury, with approximately 60 of them being unnamed. These men, women, and children live in the town and perform certain duties as apart of their jobs, such as landscaping or gardening, while children attend schools. Some men act as the town's guards and defenders, patrolling the walls.
The survivors gathered around The Governor when he and his men returned to town with several military vehicles, and they examined the vehicles after The Governor's speech. (Walk With Me)
Many of the town's residents were seen enjoying the midday barbeque and listened to The Governor's speech and attended the gladiator fight at night between Merle Dixon and Caesar Martinez. (Say the Word)
Many survivors were seen out and about on the streets after Warren's gun went off. Many are reassured by The Governor that things are okay and are told to return to their homes, while a few other armed residents were told to be on the look out for the intruders. When Rick and his group start shooting in town, the residents start fleeing and racing for cover. The gunfight left six of the unnamed guards dead. A large group of angered residents gather at the arena and demand the deaths of the Dixon brothers. (Made to Suffer)
The residents flee in terror after Rick and Maggie shoot out the lights and throw in smoke grenades in order to rescue Daryl. The next morning, many are seen trying to flee Woodbury, but are prevented by Caesar Martinez and the other guards. They also witness the attack and mercy killing of Richard Foster. Later, they are back on the street but are calmed down by Andrea, who gives a speech about sticking together. (The Suicide King)
Many of the already-trained townspeople are seen on guard duty on the walls and streets, an increased presence than before. Others help board the buildings' windows with wood and secure the fence to make it stronger. A number of residents, including Noah and Ms. McLeod, are evaluated by the Governor, as they are drafted to be trained in firearms in order to increase the town's number of defenders and soldiers. (I Ain't a Judas)
A group of nine unnamed men, in addition to Ben, Allen, Shumpert, and Martinez, accompanied the Governor to the feed store to ambush Rick's group when they came with Michonne. Instead, they were attacked by Merle, who was able to kill eight men (including Ben), before being attacked by two surviving unnamed men, Martinez, and the Governor. (This Sorrowful Life)
The town is divided in two, as a group of armed residents head to the prison to attack Rick's group while a few others, mostly children and elderly, stay behind in Woodbury. The prison assault fails and everyone flees. The Governor stops the fleeing convoy on the road and demands everyone to go back, in which people begin to protest. As a result, the Governor opens fire in a rage, killing everyone, including Allen and Paul. The residents back at Woodbury are brought to the prison to join the community after they find out that the Governor has slaughtered everyone. (Welcome to the Tombs)
- Despite some of the background survivors not appearing in the army for the prison raid or even the episodes after the mid-season finale, it is assumed that they all have been killed by the Governor. As for all of the children not seen at the prison afterwards, it is unknown what happened to them. Regardless, even with with the lack of continuity in the extras, it is assumed that anyone not at the prison is simply dead.
- Three background survivors have been identified as Eileen, Warren, and Ms. McLeod while any of the others may be Pete or Robbie, as those two characters are unseen. In addition, two of the guards killed in "Made to Suffer" are Bob Adams and Eisenberg.
- There far more extras in total than the official population count, as some extras may not be able to return for scenes in certain episodes and have to be replaced by others.
- Since the arena is a separate set & filming location, there is a noticeable difference in the extras that play the Woodbury citizens. Some are seen only at the arena while others are only seen in town, though there are numerous people who appear at both locations.
- In the first scene of residents gathering at the Arena in "Made to Suffer", the shot of people sitting on the bleachers is actually from "Say the Word" as they are in same clothing and do not appear in the rest of the scenes during "Made to Suffer".
- Since most of the survivor extras do not have crucial roles to perform during filming, it is not uncommon to see the same person walk back and forth during a scene. For instance, when Michonne and Andrea talk while walking through town in "Walk With Me", a red-haired boy in a blue shirt can be seen walking in the background past the women, but when the camera turns to Shumpert , who is watching the women, the boy is suddenly in a chair next to him. These are minor bloopers.
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After the Governor slaughters the majority of the Woodbury townspeople, the remaining survivors, including Tyreese, Sasha, and Karen, move to the prison and join Rick's group.
- It is said that all of the children and elderly have been moved to the prison. However, there were significantly more children extras seen in town that have not been seen past the mid-season finale. This is most likely due to lack of extra continuity.
The following are miscellaneous characters, though not all necessarily survivors, that have appeared in the TV series.
Linden County Edit
Harrison Memorial Hospital Edit
Road to AtlantaEdit
Dozens of background survivors were seen standing and milling around their cars, talking to others, and some fighting over supplies in the traffic jam outside of Atlanta, where they were heading to in hopes of safety, during the flashback at the beginning of the episode, "Chupacabra". They also witnessed the military firebombing of the city. It is unclear what happened to all of the survivors, whether they escaped or were killed by zombies, it is ultimately unknown.
King County SchoolEdit
In Season 2's Bloodletting, there are numerous mothers waiting outside the elementary school in King County. They can be seen chatting as Lori and Paula converse. After dismissal, the children, including Carl, head to their mothers to go home.
Cold Storage WebisodesEdit
Several animals are featured in The Walking Dead.
- ↑ Redshirt is a slang term for a minor stock character of an adventure drama who dies violently soon after being introduced in order to dramatize the dangerous situation experienced by the main characters. The term originated with fans of the science fiction television series Star Trek, from the red shirts worn by Starfleet security officers and engineers, who frequently meet their demise during the episodes. Redshirt, Wikipedia.
- ↑ Interview with Frances Cobb
- ↑ Frances Cobb, IMDB
- ↑ L. Stephanie Ray, IMDB
- ↑ Interview with Frances Cobb
- Special thanks to Brian of MyMedia-Forum.com for several screencaps of the background survivors.
- Frances Cobb is a frequent background extra in many movies & TV shows, including as a campground survivor in The Walking Dead episodes Days Gone Bye and Guts. Taken from her November 7 Facebook status posting:
- Her status: Well, no luck in being seen in either Due Date or For Colored Girls, but I was seen for the second time in The Walking Dead. Last week, I was seen after about an hour. This time, I was at the beginning in the background preparing my tent and space in the campground. Looks like they will be using the campground a couple of more times. They filmed this all in one day.
- A comment from a friend: I think I saw you in last nights episode. Don't think you were wearing your straw hat?
- Her reply: Yes, you picked me out again. I was in the background arranging things for my tent. It was near the end of the day, so, they asked that I "lose the hat." I took it off, since I was finally in the shade! I think I will be in a couple of more episodes now because of the way they are inserting these scenes. Even though we were only there one day, it looks like we were there for weeks.
- Hello. Yes that is me. Thanks for the picture. I was also in the "Guts" episode in the distance preparing my tent. I was not consciously killed, but I have not seen myself except in the first two episodes. I could not believe how many scenes there are in the campground. I was only used one day perhaps due to my need of wearing a hat due to the sun. I'm glad it has been picked up for another season, but due to the ending of the last episode, they may have to change locations of the campground!
- L. Stephanie Ray is an actress who appears in minor or non-credited roles in many movies and TV shows, such as Madea's Family Reunion, The Glades, October Road, and more. She has appeared as a background survivor during The Walking Dead pilot Days Gone Bye, watching Amy and Shane attempt to respond to Rick on the radio.
- Background cast, Lostpedia.
Unnamed TV Characters
|Linden County Officers||Officer 1 • Officer 2 • Officer 3|
|King County Criminals||Criminal 1 • Criminal 2 • Criminal 3|
|Atlanta Survivors||13 Unnamed Camp Survivors|
|Nursing Home Survivors||Thug 1 • Thug 2 • Unnamed Nursing Home Survivors|
|Woodbury Survivors||Survivor 2 • Survivor 5 • Survivor 6 • Woodbury Citizens • Survivor 3 • Survivor 1 • Survivor 4 • Survivor 7 • Survivor 8 • Survivor 9 • Survivor 10 • Survivor 11 • Survivor 13 • Mrs. Blake|
|Military Personnel||Guardsman 1 • Guardsman 2 • Guardsman 3 • Guardsman 4 • Guardsman 5 • Guardsman 6 • Governor's Victims|
|Yellow Jacket Creek Survivors||Father • Mother • Son • Baby|
|Miscellaneous Characters||Mother • Mother • Hermit • Hitchhiker|
|Dead and zombie characters appear in italics|