The Walking Dead returned in a big way yesterday evening with the premiere of “The Day Will Come When You Won’t Be,” simultaneously kicking off the show’s seventh run on the airwaves and answering a question that had cast a shadow over TWD‘s fanbase all throughout the summer – who was Negan’s victim?
It’s a question that has been left lingering ever since the screen went black after the season 6 finale and last night, viewers got the pay-off in typically brutal fashion. As one of the biggest shows of the moment, social media channels and Internet forums were abuzz with reaction videos and fan theories, though Entertainment Weekly has gone straight to the source, interviewing founding father Robert Kirkman and series showrunner Scott M. Gimple about their own thoughts on what transpired.
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Still with us? Good. First up, Gimple reflected on how the creative team arrived at the nail-biting scene, revealing that they began drafting up the story arc almost two years ago.
“I think the hardest thing about it was thinking while starting the script, ‘Well, what would break Rick?’” said Gimple. “It was all in the book, in issue 100. But looking for a way to break the audience too. Not in a way that is in any way to hurt them, but for them to believe that Rick Grimes would be under the thumb of Negan. That he would go through an experience that would do that to him. That the audience would go through the experience too, so that they would believe that Rick could do what this guy says.”
Staying true to the comics was also important to Steven Yeun, who told EW that Kirkman’s dark and twisted source material provided all the inspiration they could ever need to close the book on Glenn’s journey.
“Personally for me, I think the death in the comic, Robert wrote such a messed up but at the same time incredible way to take something away — to make a story as impactful as it is. You read that comic, you kind of don’t want that to go to anyone else. It’s such an iconic moment and I think I even said, ‘Don’t give that to anybody else.’ It’s such a gnarly thing to say but sincerely, living that out was very wild but at the same time, that moment happening and being realized on television in a different medium and to do it in the way that we did it I think is brave and at the same time super affecting. And for me, that was the motivation to be like, ‘Yeah, that sounds great.’”
The Walking Dead season 7 continues on Sunday with the arrival of “The Well,” and you can check out the very first promo right here. Meanwhile, if you’re looking for a more in-depth breakdown of last night’s premiere, look no further than the latest installment of We Got This Covered’s TV Talk.