Last night was the season premiere of the final season of HBO’s beloved hit series, True Blood. As promised, the showrunners are holding nothing back when it comes to characters not making it to the end of the seventh season. In the premiere’s pre-credits opening, viewers were shocked to learn that show constant Tara has been killed. Tara, who is the lead character Sookie’s best friend-turned vampire, has been a staple since the show’s very first episode.
Rutina Wesley has played Tara Thornton since the show premiered in the summer of 2008. Her character was killed off in heroic fashion, while saving her mom (Adina Porter) from another vampire. The killer vampire was infected with this season’s Big Bad, the Hep-V virus, which is turning sick vampires into killing machines. In True Blood‘s season six finale, we saw Tara jump in front of her mom to protect her, which was especially heroic considering their troubled past. In last night’s premiere, we didn’t even get to see Wesley on screen at all, except in the form of a pile of bloody vampire goo.
Wesley talked to Vulture magazine about her character’s death.
“It’s kind of fun. It wouldn’t be True Blood if someone didn’t die in the final season,” she said of her character’s demise. “I’ve loved my journey on this show, so I have no regrets. It’s like, ‘Okay, cool! Let’s do it!’ And I got this amazing kick-ass fight. I love that she went out winning, and then you cut to the scene where you just see [Tara’s mother] Lettie Mae, and you realize I lost the fight.”
The table reading of the season premiere’s script led to understandably emotional reactions from the cast.
“I got some applause, too. I remember it was really sad,” she said. “I remember crying, especially when Lettie Mae was like, ‘They killed her, my baby girl.’ I loved working with Adina. She always brought out the best in me, and just hearing how she connected to the scene, I was crying. Everybody was crying. Kristin [Bauer] was crying.”
“You can never have happy endings on True Blood,” she continued. “I always call Tara the flower that grew through the concrete, because she was incredibly insecure and vulnerable, but also fierce and strong and defensive, all of that mixed together. She was an incredibly complex individual. But if you remember her, I would hope you look back at her strengths, her laugh, her smile. I love that she always spoke her mind.
Of course, Thornton couldn’t give away much as far as what this season holds in store for fans. “I think Tara’s death is going to be the catalyst for the rest of the season. I can’t say more than that!” she added.
The 35-year old actress who, prior to True Blood, was most recognizable from starring in the 2007 dance flick, How She Move, discussed her favorite scene to shoot during the course of the series.
“When I was turned into a vampire, and I got to destroy the Stackhouse kitchen. That’s my ultimate favorite scene ever. I got to jump on the counter and squat like a gargoyle, and just be this angry awesome vampire destroying everything I got to touch,” she said.
The seventh and final season of True Blood airs Sunday nights at 9 p.m. on HBO.