The season 6 finale of The Walking Dead left audiences holding their breath as a result of the show’s most daring cliffhanger yet. One of Rick’s survivors is beaten to death by the series’ latest bad egg Negan, and we won’t know who got Lucilled until this fall. Fans reacted in a number of ways. For the majority, the show’s decision to let us wait seven months to discover the identity of said victim was frustrating as hell.
For comic book creator and executive producer Robert Kirkman, it’s all part of The Walking Dead experience. One that the show won’t be repeating again for season 7, he told Entertainment Weekly:
“Look, I think as a creative person I have to acknowledge that all responses are valid, so I definitely have to take note that there’s a seemingly significant portion of the audience that wasn’t happy with that direction, so in that respect I think everyone on The Walking Dead creative team has taken note of that, and I don’t know that I would expect a similar cliffhanger at the end of season 7.”
“A lot of the responses were like, ‘Ah, these jerks trying to pull one over on us,’ and it’s like, ‘No. It’s all done in an effort to keep you entertained.’ At the same time, I know it’s just a small portion of the audience, and a lot of people actually like the mystery and are enjoying the guessing game that they’re playing over the summer.”
He’s not wrong. Leaving everyone hanging is one way to incite heated discussion and even encourage fans to do some seriously technical sleuthing. Like devising an intricate system based on Negan’s “eeny meenie” game to determine who he killed. And while none of those efforts panned out, it’s been an amusing summer trying to crack the identity of Negan’s victim.
We’ll find out for certain who perishes when the season 7 premiere of The Walking Dead airs on October 23.