We’ve recently heard that the violence on ‘The Walking Dead‘ which opened with the brutal murder of one of the show’s leading characters was toned down from viewer and critic feedback though the producers are now claiming that this actually wasn’t the case. It all started on January 18th during the National Association of Television Executives conference in Miami when Gale Anne Hurd said that:
“We were able to look at the feedback on the level of violence. We did tone it down for episodes we were still filming for later on in the season.”
That really seemed to confirm it right there, but now showrunner Scott Gimple and executive producer Greg Nicotero are saying that wasn’t the case at all. Gimple was quick to bring up that the graphic nature of the first episode was intended to be more out of bounds than they’ve gone before due to the nature of the proper introduction to Negan and the importance of the scene:
“The violence in the premiere was pronounced for a reason. The awfulness of what happened to the characters was very specific to that episode and the beginning of this whole new story. I don’t think like that’s the base level of violence that necessarily should be on the show. It should be specific to a story and a purpose, and there was a purpose of traumatizing these characters to a point where maybe they would have been docile for the rest of their lives, which was Negan’s point. But I will say again, the violence in the premiere was for a specific narrative purpose and I would never say that that’s the baseline amount of violence that we would show on the show. If we’re ever going to see something that pronounced, there needs to be a specific narrative purpose for it.”
To add on to that, when executive producer and director Greg Nicotero were asked if they had toned down anything, he had a bit more to add:
“No. As brutal as that episode 1 was, it’s still part of our storytelling bible, which is what the world is about. I don’t think we would ever edit ourselves, and I think — even after looking at that episode 1 again — as tough as it was for people to watch, I don’t think we would have done it any differently. I don’t think we’ll ever pull ourselves back. There is definitely a difference between violence against walkers and human on human violence, but truthfully, we’re serving our story.”
While we did see the violence and graphic nature of the series ramped up for the premiere episode of the seventh season, it was by no means their plan to have that set the tone going forward unless the story called for it.
While that does seem to be the case, when Joshua Hoover as Fat Joey took the receiving end of a violent death from Daryl Dixon, it is known that the initial scene was a bit more gruesome:
“Yeah I took a hit. I took a hit on the head from Mr. Norman Reedus, and it was a good hit.… I got hit right square in the head. There was the special effects that they do with the blood packet. They had a blood packet on the pipe and it just went everywhere. Everybody said it looked so awesome, but also pretty graphic. So I’m assuming that’s why they didn’t show that angle, they probably had a little too much already with Spencer’s guts.”
It is hard to tell if this was cut due to timing, not fitting with the episode, or because producers ended up wanting to tone things down. It is doubtful we’ll ever actually know but some of that might come to light when the series returns on February 12th, 2017. when we see exactly how far Negan and Rick will go when they go at each other.
Do you think that the series cut down the violence after the brutal deaths of the season premiere or are things just back to normal after how shocking being at the end of Negan’s bat looks on the small screen? Share your thoughts below!
‘The Walking Dead’ will “Rise Up” when it returns to AMC on Sunday, February 12th, 2017.
Sources: Entertainment Weekly
Stuart Conover is an author, blogger, and all around geek. When not busy being a father and husband he tries to spend as much time as possible immersed in comic books, science fiction, and horror! Would you like to know more? Follow him on Twitter!