Glenn Rhee is a name that will live long in the memory of The Walking Dead‘s impassioned fanbase, even if the actor who played him believes Rick’s right-hand man “never got his fair due.”
Steven Yeun’s six-year spell on the AMC juggernaut came to a grisly end when his Glenn was left at the mercy of Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and his nightmarish weapon of choice, Lucille. That fateful scene took place during the season 7 premiere, “The Day Will Come When You Won’t Be,” and ever since, ardent fans of The Walking Dead have been wondering if Glenn will ever make a return in some shape or form.
It’s unlikely, of course, but even if the creative minds behind AMC carved out a means for Glenn Rhee to return – either via flashback or some unorthodox dream sequence – Steven Yeun may think twice about reprising his role on The Walking Dead. In an exhaustive interview with Vanity Fair, the actor touched base on that aforementioned death, and why he believes that Glenn was given short shrift on AMC’s flagship because “people didn’t know what to do with [him].”
I don’t feel like it was too much. I’ll be honest with you and put a full disclaimer here: I might not be objective, but I truly feel like people didn’t know what to do with Glenn. They liked him, they had no problems with him, and people enjoyed him. But they didn’t acknowledge the connection people had with the character until he was gone.
I look at what happened and I think, That wasn’t any more gory than what we’ve done before, per se. No one got their face ripped in half! People got their guts smashed out and their heads caved in. But this one felt gratuitous because one, it kept going, and two, I think they took away someone that I didn’t realize I had made such a connection with until they took him away.
Like all of his co-stars, Steven Yeun, who’s part of the all-star cast involved in Netflix’s Okja, is eternally grateful for his time aboard The Walking Dead, but he does take issue with how Glenn was represented. In the full interview, Yeun is quick to stress that he doesn’t consider AMC’s handling of the character to be racist; rather, the former series stalwart believes Glenn was overlooked when compared to the show’s other core players.
Internally, it was incredible. Externally, it was tough sometimes because I never felt like he got his fair due. I never felt like he got it from an outward perception. I don’t say this as a knock on anything. He always had to be part of something else to legitimize himself. He was rarely alone. And when he was alone, it took several years to convince people to be on his own.
I think the cruelest thing is that if Glenn had continued on, knowing how things usually shake out, I could totally foresee a situation where he just slowly, quietly disappears into the background and is kind of remembered but not really. But in this way, it was like holding up a battered skull to the world to be like, ‘Don’t forget, this Asian person existed in this medium and now he’s fucking dead.’ Like, he is fucking dead. That’s super cool! I’m cool with that.
The Walking Dead is currently on hiatus, and won’t return until season 8 premieres in the fall. Its companion series, Fear the Walking Dead, is expected to stage its two-part midseason finale on Sunday, July 9th.
Source: Vanity Fair