Ever since its inception back in 2010, AMC’s undead flagship hasn’t been afraid to bump off its leading characters in order to propel the story forward, and one need only look to the digital furore caused by Glenn’s sudden, brutal death – at the hands of Negan, no less – for evidence of that.
That being said, series creator Robert Kirkman believes killing off The Walking Dead‘s core characters is a necessary evil, as it simultaneously raises the stakes while also creating a tangible sense of drama. But even after eight years of apocalyptic action, Kirkman still finds it difficult to part ways with his hardened survivors:
It’s harder in the show because there are actors involved and the actors actually formed this very tight-knit community in Georgia. So not only are you telling a human being ‘you’re kind of fired now,’ but you’re also saying ‘hey, all you guys that hang out, and there’s a lot of camaraderie and stuff, we’re taking one of them away.’ So it’s very tough, it’s very difficult, and that part sucks. So I regret the deaths on the show more on a whole than I do in the comics.
And I’m very emotional with the characters, so they do upset me in the comic and the show, but it’s a thing that wears on you to a certain extent. I think on the writers’ room for season five or six, I came in on one of the first days and I was like, ‘Can we just not kill anyone this season and see what happens?…That didn’t work out. But I think it’s important that the fan base know that it is as upsetting, and as big of an event for us internally as it is for them.
And it’s hard to dispute Kirkman’s logic. Indeed, there have been rumblings that The Walking Dead will feature another one or two major deaths before season 8 is finished, so you can bet that we’ll be tuning into “The Key” when it hits the airwaves this Sunday, March 18th to find out more.