‘The Walking Dead’ Producers Defend Negan’s Cliffhanger Moment in the Finale

     April 4, 2016

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Beware of spoilers from The Walking Dead, but even those who need to catch up know that something pretty major went down Sunday night during the season 6 finale. Jeffrey Dean Morgan debuted as the infamous Negan, one of the most notorious villains in the entire comic series, and his big cliffhanger moment at the very end sent shockwaves through the Internet — even if most of it was out of frustration. Following the climactic event, executive producer Scott Gimple has addressed the scene, which AMC also released in full online for you to watch again, and again, and again.

Speaking with Entertainment Weekly, Gimple defended the moment, which showed Negan killing someone after a torturous game of eeny, meeny, miney, moe. But the POV shot didn’t reveal who was offed. That reveal will come next season. He addressed the decision as follows:

The reasoning behind this was… In many ways what we saw last night was the end of the story of [episode] 16. Where Rick winds up is completely different from where he started in 1 and where he started in 9. I know obviously what it is in 701. And presenting what occurs, to show what happened in full-force, is the beginning of the next story.


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Image via AMC

Director Greg Nicotero similarly defended the moment, likening it to the reveal of Luke’s father in Star Wars. “I don’t remember being angry. I don’t remember saying, ‘Oh, I give up on Star Wars because that’s lame.’ It’s an exciting time to be a fan of The Walking Dead.” Previewing the events to come, he continued,

Next season is really Negan’s story and how our group has to deal with who he is and what his way of life is, so I think it’s the perfect ending to this season: watching everyone on their knees, stripped down to the barest vulnerability, and knowing that the cavalry’s not coming over the hill. Our group has never been in this situation before, so I think it’s the perfect opportunity. We had early conversations about, would we show who it was at the end of the season? Yeah, you always have discussions of what’s the best story.

I was very passionate about ending this season on a cliffhanger and not knowing, because I feel like it propels us into next season in a great way. So people can be upset. A week from now, they won’t be upset anymore, and it’ll be fun.

As it turns out, not even the cast knows who died, according to Nicotero. Watch the moment below.


Will you get over the Season 6 finale and return for the Season 7 premiere this fall? Let us know in the comments below!

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