Warning: The following contain spoilers from the season seven premiere of The Walking Dead. If you haven’t watched yet, you might want to bookmark this page and come back once you have. Proceed with caution.
As it is written, so shall it be.
That was Steven Yeun‘s thought process behind accepting his character Glenn’s death in the season seven premiere of The Walking Dead. Keeping in line with the show’s comic book source material, the beloved character met his maker at the hands of Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and his trusty Lucille (aka his barbed-wire-covered bat). Though it seemed like he was in the clear when Abraham (Michael Cudlitz) was made into Negan’s first victim, that relief (if you can even call it that) was merely momentary as Negan decided one victim wasn’t enough.
And, as Yeun admitted on the Talking Dead post show, he didn’t want that iconic moment going to anyone else.
“Personally, for me, I think the death in the comic—Robert [Kirkman] wrote such a messed up, but at the same time incredible, way to take something away to make a story as impactful as it is,” he said. “And when you read that comic, you kind of don’t want that to go to anyone else. It’s such an iconic moment…It’s such a gnarly thing to say, but sincerely, living that out was very wild, but at the same time, that moment happening on television…I think is brave and super affecting.”
That said, Yeun admitted that having to keep the character’s ultimate fate under wraps for all these months “came with its own set of difficulties.” “It was fun to lie to people for a minute, but after a while, you just can’t lie anymore,” he added. “So, I just stopped talking to people.”
Showrunner Scott M. Gimple revealed that the decision to off both characters at once was made “inside two years.” While it was the show’s most brutal scene to date, Gimple argued that it had to be. “I think the hardest thing about it was thinking about, starting the script, what would break Rick…but looking for a way to break the audience too,” he said. “That the audience would go through the experience too so that the audience would believe Rick would do what this guy says.”
The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on AMC.