In The Walking Dead #186, Rick Grimes shot Dwight in the head when the latter attempted to pull a gun on the leader of the Commonwealth, Pamela Milton. The death drove a wedge between Rick and Michonne, while also incensing a lot of the character's fans. However, series creator Robert Kirkman is defending the choice to kill Dwight.
"Dwight was always a favorite of mine, but I, like [editor] Sean [Mackiewicz], have been very surprised by the outrage over his death," Kirkman wrote in the "Letter Hacks" column of this week's The Walking Dead #188. "I guess we’re doing our jobs right, after all? I’m always sorry if a death in this story upsets you... but that is the price of admission here, to a certain extent. Dwight had Rick at gunpoint recently over the death of [Dwight’s wife] Sherry. So he knew him to be a loose cannon who had been dealing with a lot recently. But he was working through it."
"He’d been urging Rick to basically back him against the Commonwealth in a bid to take over," Kirkman continued. "Rick knew his goals. And he had Governor Milton at gunpoint... he knew Dwight could pull the trigger at any moment. Michonne and Rick in a room with Dwight who just killed Governor Milton? Rick doesn’t know if he or Michonne get out of the Commonwealth alive... and he definitely knows that leads to a war of some kind. MANY, MANY people die... unless he kills Dwight. Rick had no choice. That’s why he had to act so quickly."
It certainly was an unexpected moment, given that Dwight had redeemed himself since his days of being Negan's right-hand man. But as is the case with TWD universe, everyone is expendable, and one bad choice can result in death.
The Walking Dead #189 will go on sale Mar. 6.