Fans of The Walking Dead had strong mixed emotions after the season 6 finale which housed one of the biggest cliffhangers in the show’s history. Negan ‘Lucilles’ one of our favorite characters but the identity of said character is left unknown – it could be anyone. Some fans thought this was an exciting prospect from the beginning while others were instantly up in arms; both emotions remain among the majority of TWD fans, especially as more talk about Negan and season 7 prove that life for our well-loved characters is about to change in every aspect.
Greg Nicotero has been the brains behind the premieres and finales of the seasons so far, so the major cliffhanger was in large part; thanks to him. Greg did an interview with Entertainment Weekly where he discussed why the cliffhanger was important and why he thought fans reacted so strongly to that episode – and of course, The Walking Dead in general.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Obviously you guys ended season 6 on this huge cliffhanger and some folks were really upset about that. Were you surprised by some of that anger?
GREG NICOTERO: I would say our fans are passionate, and for me personally, yeah, I was a little surprised that some of our viewers were angered by that. Because other shows that I watch and I enjoy have done similar things. They have ended with cliffhangers, or Did this person die or that person die? Or, What happened here? Or leading up to something. So yeah, I’m really proud of the episode, and I really loved it, and I was a little surprised that people had that reaction to it.
But I’d say in retrospect, I don’t think we would have changed anything. I would have still supported doing it the way that we did it, because of the fact that the story doesn’t end there. If we would have shown the deaths, then they wouldn’t have felt our characters in season 7 the way they need to. And the thing that I think a lot of people will get out of it is how that moment changes the entire makeup of our universe within a split second. And it’s that moment that launches our entire season 7 into that direction.
It’s been a widely accepted notion that the death in season 7 is a big one and it will undoubtedly change everything we know about the world our characters exist in. Their personalities, their strength, and likely their will to go on will all be damaged and the rebuild will take some time. To further add struggle, everything will take place in new conditions, ones totally unlike what the characters have known up to this point. In previews for season 7 you see new characters bow at Negan’s feet when he approaches, you see him walk around like he owns the entirety of the world, and you feel a sense of complete dominance from him; he’s unlike anyone the group has faced so far.
Also; did you notice Greg said deaths? Jeffrey Dean Morgan has hinted at the fact that more than one character we love will die in season 7, but is it possible that Negan and Lucille take out more than one in the premiere episode? It’s started some speculation online.
Greg’s explanation makes sense; saying that the way the characters need to be felt and the pain they’ll experience had to be saved for season 7 for viewers to comprehend what they’ve been through. If we’d seen the death at the end of season 6 instead of the cliffhanger, there would have been, seemingly, a jump in time and some of the emotions in the viewers own hearts would have shifted, leaving them in a different place mentally than they needed to be to fully embrace season 7.
Greg goes on to explain the shift in alignment of the ‘worlds’ in season 7 and how the cliffhanger was also necessary for the build up of that changing aspect.
And the exciting part of the season coming up is, it’s not just the Sanctuary that we’re going to experience, but we have the Hilltop, we have the Kingdom, so what we’ve done is, we’ve opened up our universe to bring in many more planets, for lack of a better description. So there was a reason behind it. It certainly was not just about who Negan kills. It was about showing Rick as completely devoid of any power or control, and he’s forced to do it in front of all of his people. So when Negan does bring Lucille down, it’s meant to show how helpless all of them are, and how that random act of violence will change their lives.
Helpless; a word that’s rarely – if ever – been used to describe Rick, Daryl and the rest of the group; but seemingly the only fitting word to use now. This is the first time in the apocalypse where they are 100%, totally and completely vulnerable and that emotion is what will drive season 7 and make it the harrowing journey that fans are finally accepting.