Last night, AMC aired The Walking Dead Season 7 finale, The First Day of the Rest of You Lives, which featured one pivotal death, and set up the show for what could be an action-packed Season 8. While discussing the season finale, showrunner Scott M. Gimple revealed that there was a scene towards the end of the episode that ultimately was cut from the broadcast version of the show, but one that fans will likely see on the deleted scenes on Blu-ray and DVD. If you haven't seen last night's season finale yet, there will be potential SPOILERS below, so read on at your own risk
With his newly assembled army of Scavengers by his side, Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) waited for Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and his Saviors to approach Alexandria, where they had a bomb waiting to detonate that would have taken out a number of Saviors, perhaps even Negan himself. What the Alexandrians did not know is that the Scavengers double-crossed them, since Negan offered them a better deal. An intense battle ensued, which appeared to have been won by the Saviors, with Negan making both Rick and his son Carl (Chandler Riggs) kneel before him. Negan was just about to kill Carl, as punishment for this attack, but The Kingdom arrived in the nick of time, with the massive tiger Shiva maming one of the Saviors, with fighters from Alexandria, The Kingdom and The Hilltop pushing the Saviors back, as the start of a massive war. Entertainment Weekly caught up with Scott M. Gimple, who was asked if there were any scenes that were shot which didn't make the final cut. Here's what the showrunner had to say, teasing a scene between Rick, Carl and Michonne (Danai Gurira) that helps set up the Negan scene.
"There is a lovely scene with Rick and Carl with Michonne and I'm hoping I put it in the deleted scenes. I'm pretty sure I did. That sets up that moment a little bit between Rick and Negan. And I don't feel we needed to set it up. But it was a lovely scene that kind of did. It was strictly about time. This was already an hour and a half episode. This was sort of a long scene and it wasn't 100 percent necessary, but I really did like it and I believe it will be included as part of the deleted scenes. That scene in my mind absolutely did happen in the show. You just didn't see it. And I think about that a lot. I think there are a lot of scenes that go on that we don't see. And I could have followed any one of those characters throughout the whole day. It's actually a very flummoxing sort of part of this. When you have an ensemble show and you want to have beginnings and middles and ends of each character's story, you could easily tell those. It's just a factor of time and also wanting to also keep things moving along and not overload the audience with information. Maybe in the future, we'll be doing ensemble shows where we do all 18 characters and take a deep dive. [Laughs]"
The season finale also featured the death of beloved character Sasha Williams (Sonequa Martin-Green), a character who was created specifically for the show, and did not originate in the Robert Kirkman comic books. However, Sasha's arc on the hit series did mirror a character from the comics who was not featured on the TV show, Holly, who was killed by Negan and then taken to Alexandria with a bag over her head, with the Alexandrians thinking she was still alive. When Negan took the bag off her head, it was revealed Holly was a zombie, who then bit and killed Dr. Denise Cloyd, who was played on the series by Merrit Wever and was killed off towards the end of Season 6. Instead of helping Negan hurt her people, Sasha decides to end her own life, taking the poison pill Eugene (Josh McDermitt) made for her, while spending the trip from The Sanctuary to Alexandria in a casket. When Negan goes to bring her out of the casket, she has already turned into a zombie, attacking Negan and knocking him off the truck. Scott M. Gimple also spoke about how that zombie prisoner exchange was taken off the table, since it was already used in an episode of Fear the Walking Dead, while discussing how Sasha's death had to be much different from Holly's.
"I would say the difference was always going to be there when we finally made it with certainty on Sasha's fate. I also knew that Holly was very much a victim of Negan in the book. And that wouldn't be the case here. That it was her choice. This was something that Sasha was doing. So that butterfly effect sort of took things further. I will say that it was a big moment for the book that we weren't going to do once it was done. It might have changed. Certainly, the circumstances behind it changed. The purpose of it changed. I wouldn't have been surprised if more had changed beyond that as well. (The Fear episode) sort of took it off the table, but I don't know if so much of what was happening in that moment was changing anyways. So much of it was predicated on Negan using Sasha as leverage. In the book, Holly is basically an ambush. And on Fear, it was something out of desperation, didn't have a choice but to do it that way. But the story was about Sasha getting the final word. And I will say, that all that stuff is floating around in our head about how that's going to change. We knew we had this Eugene story that was independently predicated on poisoning Negan. And all this stuff was flowing together. And I love that Eugene and Sasha were playing off each other. Because they're completely different characters. You have one character that is sacrificing herself to strike a blow against The Saviors, and you have another guy who's like, 'Cool. I'm a Savior!' I mean, they're complete and total opposites, and yet they're friends. A lot of story strands came together in really cool ways I felt."
At the end of the episode, Negan told a group of his Saviors that they're going to war, which sets up Season 8 as potentially one of the most action-packed seasons yet. The Walking Dead Season 8 will be based on the comics volumes All Out War Part 1 and All Out War Part 2. There are still several lingering questions, including what will happen to the Oceanside community, since they didn't join the fight in the finale, and whether or not the Scavengers will ultimately side with Rick or Negan in the war ahead.