The bloody deaths of Abraham and Glenn in the seventh season premiere of The Walking Dead stand among the series’ most shocking character exits, and provided an early sign of the threat of Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s Negan. Scott M. Gimple, who previously acted as showrunner and writer for the AMC hit, has now opened up on how difficult it was to put this scene together, and the impact it left on him.
Although Gimple did take the idea from the comics, it was still a tough sequence to bear. When asked which death he found the hardest to process, he had this to say:
“That episode was really painful to write, and I think I was going through it from Rick, Maggie, and Sasha’s perspective, and Rosita’s as well — feeling it from their side of things. On a script like that, everything is shut down in life, and you’re just working on that. And you’re just getting inside of that, and that was, from a writing perspective, very difficult to go down that road. And to live inside that episode and then to shoot that episode and feel it.”
The violent end for Steven Yeun’s Glenn was particularly painful for Gimple, who had worked with the actor since the beginning of the long-running program. Furthermore, Abraham star Michael Cudlitz had been a regular cast member since season 4, making both characters’ deaths a challenge for Gimple.
“It was traumatic for me especially, I’m close with Steven Yeun and Michael Cudlitz. Even to write that episode correctly, I think you had to feel it, and it was pretty traumatizing. All of the deaths have been very hard, extremely hard. But that one, I kind of lived through it to write it.”
Of course, there’ve been multiple shocking and tragic exits on The Walking Dead, with most of the core cast seemingly considered for the chop at one point or another. And with only about thirty episodes left to go for fans, we’d be surprised if there weren’t more hard to stomach kills planned for future stories.
Given the bleak world of The Walking Dead, the thought of a general happy ending is also a bit of a stretch. That’s not to say, though, that deceased figures couldn’t pop up again, especially now that we’ll be getting the anthology Tales of the Walking Dead, which opens the door to multiple comebacks.
We’re also not going to have a shortage of The Walking Dead content after 2022, based on the various spinoffs currently available or in active development. Whether or not the franchise’s producers can sustain interest in a universe that often tests the commitment of viewers is another question, however. Still, it’s hard to argue against The Walking Dead delivering some of the most memorable moments in television over the past ten years, and Glenn’s encounter with Negan’s bat is certainly one of them.