The Walking Dead is thisclose to finally revealing who met their maker at the hands of Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) as seen in the season six finale. The cliffhanger was a move that, well, frankly enraged viewers. Instead of showing who died, viewers were shown the murder from the victim's eyes.
Rick (Andrew Lincoln), Michonne (Danai Gurira), Glenn (Steven Yeun), Daryl (Norman Reedus), Aaron (Ross Marquand), Rosita (Christian Serratos), Carl (Chandler Riggs), Maggie (Lauren Cohan), Eugene (Josh McDermitt), Abraham (Michael Cudlitz) and Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) all remained in harm's way for close to six months. All will finally be revealed on Sunday, Oct. 23, but to say the wait irked viewers is an understatement. The powers that be know that. Lesson learned?
"The biggest lesson would be that people are really engaged in the show. You have to take the good with the bad. Whether people are complaining or cheering, it means that they're invested in what we're doing. Rather than allow the negative response that we got to change our course of action and make us radically change the show in some way, we're staying the course. We're very confident. We've done six seasons of the show and think our seventh will be the best one yet," Robert Kirkman, executive producer and The Walking Dead comic book scribe, told The Hollywood Reporter.
"Luckily we were very deep in doing the seventh season when those episodes aired. Look, message received. The modern audience isn't too happy with cliffhangers. But we're still very confident that this is going to be a great season and we know the payoff is going to be worth the wait and that the premiere is going to be really great. We're excited to get these episodes out and see what people think and give people more Negan because this season is going to be chock-full," he continued.
Kirkman said he and showrunner Scott Gimple discussed the cliffhanger for nearly a year and ultimately decided keeping the death a secret was the right course of action and he would indeed do it again. "When you see the episode, you'll understand: 'This is a thematic break and there is a transition of what came before and what came next.' That is the cool way to put a division there," he said.
Norman Reedus previously warned the death reveal could send viewers into a tailspin.
Could it be deaths?
"I don't know that our audience is necessarily bloodthirsty enough to be wanting to hear that there's another death. One death should be enough for this audience and one death will definitely have the affect that we're looking for. It will certainly set the stage for a very exciting season," Kirkman teased. "It's going to be a rough, rough, rough episode emotionally. Knowing what's coming and knowing what happens, it's really hard for me to watch. We've gotten to know all these characters over so many years and to see not only the one that dies but how it affects all the other characters involved? You can feel their emotions because you know their relationships and what they're experiencing. It's a really gut-wrenching episode. I don't think anyone will be hungry for more blood when the episode airs."
The Walking Dead returns Sunday, Oct. 23 at 9 p.m. on AMC.