SPOILER WARNING: This article contains spoilers for the season seven premiere of AMC's "The Walking Dead.
Last Sunday's season seven premiere of "The Walking Dead" has become one of the most talked about pop culture events of the week. Michael Cudlitz is talking about it, Steven Yeun is talking about it, Norman Reedus is talking about it, even the Parents Television Council is talking about it. And now, via an interview with Entertainment Weekly, "Walking Dead" creator Robert Kirkman is talking about it.
The episode in question saw the violent, gruesome deaths of Abraham (Michael Cudlitz) and Glenn (Steven Yeun) at the hands (or rather barbwire covered bat) of Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan). Glenn's death was foretold in the comics, as that's how the events played out in "The Walking Dead" #100 back in 2012. And when it came to the tragic turn of events, Kirkman says there was just no getting around Glenn's death.
“It’s just that there’s a lot of material that comes from Glenn’s death in the comics,” said Kirkman. “And while we do try to change things up to keep things interesting for the audience, and for me, this is one that there’s so much that comes from Rick, there’s so much with Negan, because that character is someone that he killed, and definitely Maggie is someone that kind of gets put on the trajectory that affects a great number of stories and a great number of characters moving forward. So it was kind of essential that that part of the scene at least remained intact, unfortunately.”
Still, Kirkman and the "Walking Dead" braintrust did try to think of other options to keep Glenn alive. “We did discuss options,” said Kirkman. “At the end of the day, we were like, pulling the thread on this sweater just pulls too many things apart and it’s too difficult to get back on that trajectory without that death.”
Kirkman also noted that Glenn's death in 2012's "Walking Dead" #100 was the first time he killed a character that had a TV show actor attached to them. “Glenn was actually the first death in the comic that happened after the person was cast,” said Kirkman, who noted that Abraham died in the comics before Cudlitz was cast in the role.
“But Glenn was the first time there was an actual human being type to it in such an intimate way so it does make things a little weird and more difficult, but at the same time I can’t allow that to change the way that I write stories," continued Kirkman. "I just push through it and stay the course, but I do find myself very hesitant to do character deaths on the show. Especially these days, just because you miss these people and it’s just not a fun process. But it’s something that we all agree the story needs, and it definitely makes the show better and it makes things heightened and cool. It’s tough but we gotta do what we gotta do.”
Airing Sundays at 9 pm ET/PT on AMC, "The Walking Dead" stars Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes, Chandler Riggs as Carl Grimes, Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon, Melissa McBride as Carol Peleteir, Lauren Cohan as Maggie Green, Danai Gurira as Michonne and more.