Batten down the hatches and fortify those heartstrings; The Walking Dead‘s mid-season premiere has its crosshairs placed on our collective hearts.
And if Greg Nicotero is to be believed, it’ll leave us sobbing into our popcorn. The series stalwart and executive producer, who took on directing duties for what is undoubtedly season 8’s biggest episode yet, spoke to Entertainment Weekly as part of the outlet’s ongoing TWD coverage, and it was here where he admitted to breaking down in the editing room.
In case you’ve been hiding under a rock, death has come knocking for the young Carl Grimes, evoking all sorts of passionate reactions from across the industry – even Robert Kirkman has weighed in with his own two cents. Nicotero, meanwhile, told EW that it’s “never easy” to lose a series regular.
It’s never easy. It’s never easy because you can never really understand what they’re going through. There’s never really anything you can say that will make them feel better. You just really, really want to make sure that they have an opportunity to show people what their character was made of. Between Michael Rooker and Chad Coleman and Sonequa [Martin-Green] and the people that have brought so much to the show, it’s really making sure I honor them and give them that opportunity.
And just because Greg Nicotero was orchestrating the action from behind the lens doesn’t necessarily mean that he wasn’t affected by season 8’s shock twist; in fact, after The Walking Dead had wrapped production, Nicotero was reduced to tears upon watching his episode back in the editing bay.
I really try not to get super emotional when we’re shooting that stuff. But it’s always this delayed reaction. It was the same with Dale. I remember directing the episode with Jeffery DeMunn, and I was so wrapped up with the technique of shooting it and making sure I got all the beats and all the character moments, that it didn’t really hit me until afterwards.
Nicotero ended with a heartfelt message to the community, stating that viewers will have the chance to “make some peace” with Carl’s demise on February 25th. It’s seemingly a “beautiful episode,” too, which only has us counting down the days until the show’s return.
It’s a beautiful episode and the people that clearly are upset about losing Carl and questioning where the show goes without Carl — I really do believe that a lot of people will put those feelings aside when they watch this episode because they’re really going to get an opportunity to make some peace with it. I mean, that’s what I think. I don’t know, I could be completely wrong.
AMC’s The Walking Dead will return for the second half of its eighth season on February 25th, and when it does, we’ll seemingly all be reduced to blubbering wrecks.