Hey Walking Dead fans, remember the seemingly endless weeks this fall you spent agonizing over whether or not Glenn had actually died on the ground next to that dumpster? The radio silence on his condition, the absence of his story on the show—and who can forget how the producers went so far as to remove Steven Yeun's name from the opening credits? It was torture. Honest-to-goodness storytelling torture.
One person who doesn't really feel all that bad for the agony? Yeun himself.
In a new interview, the star of the hit AMC series has finally opened up about the choices made in the first half of season six. "I was all gung-ho and in for it, and whatever anybody wants to say about the execution—people might be bummed about it or be fine with it, and I have my own personal opinions about it—but the core of it all is really that we went for something, that we tried something, in a time when we're getting drudged-down, safe versions of everything," he told EW.
"We tried for something that could have been dangerous, and to some, it was. And to some, they didn't like it, and things became polarizing to an extent for that move," Yeun said. "But I never felt like our heart was at a place where we were trying to deceive the audience. Never were we like, "People are going to go crazy for this!" It was more just like, let's tell this story and make it compelling and make it purposeful."
As Glenn's fate remained a mystery, Yeun was notably absent from social media, a decision he says that was made with the intentions of the fans in mind. "We live in a place where you can deduce what's happening on a show based on whether the actor is present in a city or somewhere. And so, for me, again, it wasn't coming from a place of, I'm going to deceive the audience," he said. "It was coming from a place of, I don't want to spoil anything for anybody on how you're going to consume or take in this storyline. So the best way to do that is to literally say nothing, and just get off the accessible grid."
And as for the decision to remove his name from the opening credits? Well, you can blame that the little talk show that airs right after The Walking Dead. "I wonder what would've happened if we just went full-tilt on bringing me out there, doing the Talking Dead thing, and going for a full-on—I guess you could call it—deception," Yeun said. "But in this day and age, when you have the Internet, and you have that show that follows our show, we're having to deal with things that traditionally you don't have to deal with in a storytelling structure."
"It was never 'Let's make them think that he's gone for a second, just to screw with the audience,'" he said. "It was always 'What is the best method by which we can achieve this story to be at its purest way of digesting it for the audience?' because they have so many other resources to, in a weird way, taint it."
What do you think about Yeun's defense of the Glenn controversy? Sound off in the comments below.
The Walking Dead returns Sunday, Feb. 14 at 9 p.m. on AMC.