After months of waiting, fans finally learned who Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) killed in the Season 6 finale of The Walking Dead. This long-awaited moment was in fact faithful to the comics, in a manner of speaking, while also putting a new twist on the iconic death. While we wait for the second episode of The Walking Dead Season 7, comic book creator Robert Kirkman shed some light on why this death had to happen. If you haven't seen the Season 7 premiere, there will be huge SPOILERS below, so read on at your own risk.
In the comics, Negan killed Glenn Rhee in the 100th issue of the comics. In the series, Negan's initial victim is Abraham Ford (Michael Cudlitz) whose death in the comics actually happens a few issues before Negan's introduction, but that same death was changed to Dr. Denise Cloyd (Merrit Wever). After Negan kills Abrahm, Daryl (Norman Reedus) tries a surprise attack on Negan, which promptly fails, leading to Negan killing Glenn as punishment. Entertainment Weekly recently spoke with Robert Kirkman, who was asked why Glenn had to die, especially since the show has often strayed from the comics. Here's what he had to say below.
"It's just that there's a lot of material that comes from Glenn's death in the comics. And while we do try to change things up to keep things interesting for the audience, and for me, this is one that there's so much that comes from Rick, there's so much with Negan, because that character is someone that he killed, and definitely Maggie is someone that kind of gets put on the trajectory that affects a great number of stories and a great number of characters moving forward. So it was kind of essential that that part of the scene at least remained intact, unfortunately. We did discuss options. At the end of the day, we were like, pulling the thread on this sweater just pulls too many things apart and it's too difficult to get back on that trajectory without that death."
There had been theories that Lauren Cohan's Maggie would be killed, since she posted a number of photos of her trip to New York City while this season was currently in production, and she had reportedly been missing from the set after the third episode. It's possible that she my be killed at some point, but we don't know for sure. Robert Kirkman also added that this death was notable for another much different reason.
"Glenn was actually the first death in the comic that happened after the person was cast. Abraham died in the comic book before Cudlitz had ever been cast as Abraham. There are a lot of other big deaths that happened, but they were all done in the comic before the person was cast, so Glenn was actually the first time while I was writing the comic where I was like, 'Oh, geez.' There's an extra level to it because it's lines on paper that Charlie Adlard draws and it's a character that I've been writing so I have a connection to it and an affinity for it because I've been spending so much time with this fake character. But Glenn was the first time there was an actual human being type to it in such an intimate way so it does make things a little weird and more difficult, but at the same time I can't allow that to change the way that I write stories. I just push through it and stay the course, but I do find myself very hesitant to do character deaths on the show. Especially these days, just because you miss these people and it's just not a fun process. But it's something that we all agree the story needs, and it definitely makes the show better and it makes things heightened and cool. It's tough but we gotta do what we gotta do."
The Walking Dead Season 7 continues tonight with The Well airing at 9 PM ET on AMC. Fans will be introduced to The Kingdom and King Ezekiel in this episode, which was teased in the preview clip that was released after the Season 7 premiere. It remains to be seen if the show will kill off even more beloved characters as this season continues.