The Walking Dead has never been a show to shy away from recognizable guest stars, as long as it suits the purposes of the story and they’re a good fit for a character. Xander Berkeley just appeared last week as the slimy Gregory, and it’s been known for some time now that Jeffrey Dean Morgan will soon make his debut as villainous shit-heel Negan. But last night, the series grabbed its most high-profile guest star to date with an appearance by sentient cosmetics supply chain Johnny Depp. Well, sort of: A sculpt of Depp’s severed, dessicated head was used in a scene involving a key plot point. Somewhere, Dave Grohl is making a joke about Depp having a real head for show business.
In a scene where Rick and company went searching to find a zombie whose head they could reasonably pass off as belonging to Gregory, the team ended up choosing between three decapitated zombie heads. One head is an unknown; a second one turns out to be modeled on special effects guru and director of the episode, Greg Nicotero. But the third head was that of actor and scarf aficionado Depp. Nicotero tells Entertainment Weekly, “One of the other heads, I don’t know if I’m going to get in trouble if I say this, was Johnny Depp. I think we had sculpted an emaciated version of a dummy head for something and we used Johnny Depp’s head as a basis just for a clay sculpt.”
While Depp’s head isn’t ultimately the one chosen by the gang for most resembling Gregory—that honor ended up going to the broken-nosed head of Nicotero himself—it does set a valuable precedent of giving Walking Dead fans a chance to see famous people rendered in zombie form and then beheaded. In this case, we’d like to think it was punishment for The Tourist.