[This post contains SPOILERS for The Walking Dead season 7 premiere.]
For the past six months, millions of eager fans of The Walking Dead have been left in blood-curdling anticipation. The end of season 6 saw almost the entire cast of the show bound and awaiting execution at the the hands of the villainous Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan). It has been a long and grueling summer, but fans will finally find out which one (or more) of the members of Rick’s group of survivors won’t make it until Monday morning.
The scene is torn directly from the page of The Walking Dead comics, in which a core member of Rick’s surviving camp is unceremoniously beaten to death with a baseball bat wrapped in barbed wire. Fans of the show have grown accustomed to a rotating door of cast members, due to the violent and unpredictable nature of the show. However, losing beloved characters is never an easy thing for either the audience or the actual cast.
Actor Steven Yuen plays Glenn and has been an integral part of the series ever since the pilot episode. Over the course of the past six seasons the character has had his share of life-threatening close calls on the show, while watching many others not have the same fortunes. In an interview with Variety, the actor talked candidly about shooting the tragic season 7 premiere.
“It’s always tough to see people exit the show. As an actor you come to terms that things might be ending for somebody. You go over all the things you experienced together and what a great time it was for everyone. So [in] that way, it’s beautifully terrible. It’s bittersweet.”
If anyone should understand the pain of watching fellow cast members fall victim to the zombie apocalypse, it’s Yeun. As his character has had to say goodbye to dozens of fellow cast members who weren’t as nimble, resourceful, or lucky as Glenn. Many of those actors, such as Jon Bernthal, have gone on to even greater heights after experiencing death at the hands of The Walking Dead. However, that doesn’t seem to make it any easier for the actor.
While there is a definitive dark cloud hanging over the season premiere of the series, don’t expect the entire season to feel like a bat to the head. Producer Scott Gimple has teased to fans that there is “lightness… humor… warmth…. It isn’t all misery” in the show’s seventh season. While the show made its name behind its creative visual effects and horror movie chills. The Walking Dead has made a connection with audiences over the years by showcasing the pliability of the human spirit during times of extreme crisis. Hopefully, after the gut-punching events of the premiere, fans won’t be too bitter to taste the sweetness in store for the rest of the season.
The Walking Dead season 7 continues next Sunday with ‘The Well’ 9PM on AMC.