‘The Walking Dead’ has always been a divisive show. When emotions run so wild and your favorite character could die at any time, how could it not be? Then when you add the pressure of being adapted from a beloved comic book series in a genre where there have been some unforgettable classics, the bar is set even higher. So whenever the popular AMC zombie apocalypse drama does something to stress out the fans, the backlash is certainly heard loud and clear. Most recently, it was the massive cliffhanger at the end of the sixth season following the highly anticipated introduction of Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s Negan that has viewers up in arms. But the people behind the scenes knew that this was happened and they were prepared to explain their actions.
During an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, showrunner and episode 6.16 co-writer Scott M. Gimple shared that the show’s writers didn’t take the decision to keep Negan’s victim a mystery lightly. Before explaining that “to show what happened in full force is the beginning of the next story”, Gimple discussed building an experience around their show and the challenge of keeping the angry mob at bay:
“We’re trying to deliver them an experience. I suppose it’s good everything is met with skepticism and people are thinking critically and distrusting things put before them. I’d love a little more trust but it’s a good thing for society that people aren’t just trysting things coming across the TV set. It makes the challenge for us to win those angry people back with a great story — and that’s much harder — but that’s the business we’re in. We’re not trying to do the easy thing. … I do want to do right by this audience and I hope to win them back.”
Elsewhere, Gale Anne Hurd spoke with Deadline about the season finale and confirmed that someone is most definitely dead after being introduced to Negan and Lucille. Although, it may not necessarily be Glenn or Abraham, the two main characters that perished during this story arc in the source material:
“We love the comic book as much as the fans do, but at the same time, Robert Kirkman encourages us to defy expectations on ‘TWD’ the show. Now, sometimes we do and sometimes we don’t. But if I were in the fans’ position, I’d be speculating right along with everybody else. It is challenging not knowing. Season 7 certainly is going to be all about the game-changer that Negan and what that means to the world of ‘The Walking Dead’ and all of the characters in it. He’s certainly the most formidable foe that Rick has ever encountered, not only in the comic books but now on the show. We certainly got a taste of that in the finale. I’m really looking forward to Season 7.”
The words of Gimple and Hurd may not be enough to hold you over until season seven premieres, but the EPs bring up a very interesting idea. While we may not like what happens on the show, we have to trust that they will tell the best story possible. Like real life, things don’t always work out the way you want it to in ‘The Walking Dead’ and that adds to it’s allure. Sure, it’s stressful and cliffhangers like this aren’t ideal, but there’s a chance that this will all pay off in a crazy good way when the show comes back with the next chapter. Or none of that happens and we all suddenly have more free time on Sunday nights.
What did you think of the sixth season finale of ‘The Walking Dead’? Are you satisfied with the executive producers’ explanations for how the episode ended? Sound off in the comments.
Despite being a “professional writer”, Ben likes run-on sentences and puns far too much. For more of his attempts at being funny and the occasional insightful thought, follow him on Twitter and Instagram.