No, The Walking Dead Didn’t Tone Down Violence Following Season 7’s Premiere

Coming out of last week’s National Association of Television Executives conference, one tidbit that sparked conversation online came from The Walking Dead‘s executive producer Gale Anne Hurd, who claimed that the creative team had consciously scaled back on violence following criticism leveled at season 7’s premiere, “The Day Will Come When You Won’t Be.”

It’s a scene that had some fans reaching for the remote, even prompting the UK’s Fox TV to air a censored version of Negan’s by-now infamous kill scene. But for all the talk that spawned from season 7’s bloody opening, showrunner Scott M. Gimple has clarified the show’s handling of violence, stressing that The Walking Dead wasn’t toned down in response to recent fan feedback. The show’s producer/director Greg Nicotero echoed that sentiment, claiming that when it comes to Negan’s massacre in particular, “I don’t think we would have done it any differently.”

Per Entertainment Weekly:

“The violence in the premiere was pronounced for a reason. The awfulness of what happened to the characters was very specific to that episode and the beginning of this whole new story. I don’t think like that’s the base level of violence that necessarily should be on the show… If we’re ever going to see something that pronounced, there needs to be a specific narrative purpose for it.”

Long before The Walking Dead returned for its seventh season, the show’s impassioned community spent months deliberating Negan’s potential victims. That payoff was delivered in truly stomach-churning fashion – as is The Walking Dead way – but Nicotero believes the human vs. human violence isn’t gratuitous; rather, it’s designed in such a way to “serve the story.”

“I don’t think we would ever edit ourselves, and I think — even after looking at that episode 1 again — as tough as it was for people to watch, I don’t think we would have done it any differently. I don’t think we’ll ever pull ourselves back. There is definitely a difference between violence against walkers and human on human violence, but truthfully, we’re serving our story.”

The Walking Dead season 7 is set to stage its midseason premiere on February 12th. AMC has already confirmed an eighth season is on the way, though TWD‘s founding father Robert Kirkman believes the network’s apocalyptic flagship has the mileage to run all the way to 10 seasons.

Source: EW