Fans of The Walking Dead have been hit with a number of interviews from showrunners to cast and crew members about their thoughts and emotions during the filming of the first half of the heartbreaking and hard to watch 7th season. From the death of two of the most beloved characters on the series to those who remained being broken and stripped of the very items and spirits that made them who they are, no one got through the beginning of the season smiling. Not even those of us who actually have a soft spot for Negan. It was all impossibly hard to stomach but it did go to show how big and how passionate The Walking Dead Family truly is.
With the heartbreaking episodes being watched at home by fans who weren’t sure what to do with their emotions, the cast members had an equally hard, if not harder, time acting out those episodes and making sense of it themselves. This is the lowest we’ve seen the characters we’ve grown to love, but also the most pained we’ve seen the actors and actresses as well. They knew, going in, that the episodes had to be shot with the violence and the despair but it didn’t make them any easier to stomach.
Most recently, there have been interviews that left fans feeling confused about where the season would pick up and what to expect from those episodes. Some were saying that the violence has been toned down due to fan reaction while Scott Gimple and Greg Nicotero said they wouldn’t be pulling back violence because it had to be portrayed. Even Andrew Lincoln spoke up about the violence and said it was necessary to tell their story.
Another thing that’s necessary to tell their story is togetherness and Norman Reedus gave an interview to EW recently that has us all feeling like we just might find redemption when the series returns in two weeks.
Referring to chatter and complaints about the first half of the season, Norman had this to say.
“I was saying that about the first half, I think part of that chatter you’re talking about came from me. But you know, it’s true: You can’t make everybody happy about everything. But we try, and you have to keep the story moving forward at all times or you just tell the same story over and over again. But I know new actors that came onto this show that were like, “Man, I miss the old group,” and they were playing new roles this season. So I know that everybody felt it, but people think we’re headed to the left, and we go to the right. So that’s just how we keep people on their toes. But I’m happy that we’re back on that first track again, you know?”
While admitting to feeling the pain that fans felt at home, he also said he knew there was a reason for it.
“I understand when characters go through certain things, and mostly they’re cut off from the rest of the group, but I didn’t even see anybody. I was in a hole by myself, naked. It just did not feel right to me. I’d talk to Gimple, and I’d be like, ‘Man, this sucks. I hate this.’ And he’d be like, ‘You’re supposed to.’ I’m like, ‘Oh, there you go.’ You know what I mean? He was right. It was supposed to suck, and it did suck — for me, anyway. But you know, it just makes coming back together that much more special.”
When the season returns the group will be reunited, as we all know, and quite frankly, cried about during the mid-season finale, and Norman says the cast appreciates being back together too, they appreciate how much it feels like it did in the beginning.
“You know, this show always feels like the show to me when that group is working in unison, and that first half was very hard for us to film. It was just rough. We were all separated, and we just kind of missed each other. We missed having the feeling that we had when we started this thing. I mean, I know the show evolves and all of that stuff, but man, that first half was rough, so I’m excited that we’re all back together. I know everybody’s excited.”
If you’re anything like us, these last few weeks have gone by way too slow and you’ve already canceled any plans on February 12th so you can rewatch some of the painful episodes from the first half of the season, and fully immerse yourself in the togetherness that we’ll be met with that evening.
We can’t wait to see the dynamic again, but more than that, we’re interested to see how the time they spent apart will make them stronger where Negan expected them to be broken. We’re in for a hell of a fight.