Warning: Spoilers ahead! The Walking Dead lost two major characters in its season 7 premiere on Sunday, October 23, at the hands of newcomer villain Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan). As viewers immediately ran to social media to grieve the gruesome deaths of Sergeant Abraham Ford (Michael Cudlitz) and veteran mainstay Glenn Rhee (Steven Yeun), the AMC drama's cast members and showrunners revealed the secrets behind the shocking slayings on a 90-minute episode of Talking Dead.
Yeun revealed during Sunday night's aftershow that he and Cudlitz were well aware of their characters' unfortunate fates for over a year, and were forced to keep it a secret.
"Going into it, I think there was some excitement in the sense of when you know something that somebody else doesn't know and you're like, 'Yeah! I know this stuff. It's cool.' And then after a while you're like, 'I don't like knowing this by myself,'" Yeun said. "And then you just dive into a hole after a while because you're not allowed to say anything. It was fun to lie to people for a minute, but after a while you just can't lie anymore, so I just stopped talking to people."
The Korea-born actor, however, insists he was satisfied with the way Glenn's demise was portrayed. "I think Glenn died in a very Glenn way," he explained. "That's what my wife, Jo, said. She's like, 'He died in such a Glenn way, which is perfect. Still not thinking about himself.'"
Lauren Cohan, who plays Glenn's pregnant wife, Maggie Greene, on the zombie apocalypse series, echoed similar statements, saying, "I feel like, in this life or the next, they're star-crossed lovers. Time and place doesn't erase that. I'll find you. I'll be with you. I'll watch over you. I'll watch over the baby. I'll be there."
According to showrunner Scott M. Gimple and writer Robert Kirkman, the crew decided to kill off Glenn and Abraham on Sunday night's episode after introducing Negan's now-hated character.
"The introduction of Negan — besides how heartbreaking it is and how gut-wrenching it is — was really just to set the stage in a way of saying this show and this story isn't going anywhere," Kirkman explained. "We still have a lot to do and we're setting the stage for a lot more to come. There's so much that comes out of this scene that has to be resolved. We feel like, after as many years that we've been doing this, we wanted to send a clear message that we are just getting started."
Gimple added, "I think the hardest thing about [the deaths] was starting the script and thinking, 'What would break Rick?' then taking it further and looking for way to break the audience too. Not in a way to hurt them, but for them to believe that Rick Grimes would be under the thumb of Negan. That he would go through the experience that would do that to him. That the audience would go through the experience too, so that they would believe that Rick would do what this guy says."
The Walking Dead airs on AMC Sundays at 9 p.m. ET.
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