The Walking Dead season 6 finale is just a few days away, and obviously, with all the attention that has been paid to the arrival of Jeffrey Dean Morgan's Negan, and all the bloodshed that is rumored to follow in his wake, the eagerness among the show's audience continues to grow. With sneaky promos and photos, like the one AMC released just a few days ago, treating Negan's trusty bat Lucille as a character in her own right and choosing to obscure Negan's face until the moment he walks on screen (provided he actually does), the network's marketing team has been doing a workmanlike job in keeping the fires of anticipation burning hot.
It doesn’t take much to sell fans of The Walking Dead on watching more of the show, and it certainly helps that the series is on the verge of introducing an incredibly popular character from the comics. In fact, the show has hit a particular sweet spot, one coveted by all television programs but attained by few. That would be the spot where the need to advertise has ostensibly vanished; the show sells itself through its continued existence and so AMC (and anyone associated with the show, really) is free to do as they please in terms of marketing. Season 7 could be sold right now on little more than a two-minute clip of Rick staring off into the middle distance, all while fans intuit the almost imperceptible growth of his beard.
In other words: the series sells itself. Still, as nice a position as that must be for those involved in the making and the marketing of The Walking Dead, the show's "no selling required" status doesn't stop executive producer David Alpert from delivering some pointed carnival barker-style remarks about 'Last Day on Earth.' His interview with Access Hollywood is a veritable treasure trove of gleefully over-the-top selling points for not only Negan (and Jeffrey Dean Morgan), but for the events that are about to unfold in the season finale.
To his credit, Alpert opens big and stays there through the whole interview. He begins by talking a little about Lucille and what the barbed-wire-wrapped bat gets up to in the comics (spoiler: "very bad things") before he says the following:
"I am so excited to see the horrified faces on all my co-workers when I walk into the office on Monday morning, cause people are gonna be losing their minds. This weekend's episode is going to melt the Internet."
That's a great way to sell the upcoming 90-minute finale without revealing any specifics. In fact, Alpert's comments could fit the idea of a blood-soaked episode in which one of the core survivors finally meets his or her end – currently, most people seem divided between Glenn and Daryl – or his remarks could aptly describe the supposedly leaked events that see the ending happen a little differently. Either scenario certainly seems likely to cause audience members to lose their minds – the only question is: will it be out of shock and horror or will it be from total frustration?
Regardless of how it ends, it sounds as though one big positive takeaway from the episode may just be Jeffrey Dean Morgan's performance. Look around the Internet (hurry, before it melts) and you'll be hard-pressed to find anyone who objects to the casting of this particular Big Bad, and isn't looking forward to see him go toe-to-toe with Rick. Unsurprisingly, Alpert is also a fan of both Negan and the man whose smoldering good looks will bring the character to life.
"Negan is maybe the most insane villain ever created, because he's incredibly violent, but you kind of understand what he's doing; he does it for a purpose. So you have to communicate that level… a sane, charismatic level of insanity, and Jeffrey Dean Morgan nails it!"
That description also sounds like a certain someone who has been leading survivors into and miraculously out of some pretty intense situations for nearly six seasons now. Whether or not the show will play up the similarities Rick and Negan share, or if that will all go out the window once the bat-wielding menace makes his entrance remains to be seen, but the show has done a decent job so far in suggesting that the Alexandrians and the Saviors are more or less a reflection of one another.
That means it may come down to the actions of Negan to demonstrate what, exactly, the difference is, both to the characters he's threatening and for those watching at home. Given that Alpert says Morgan didn't even have to audition for the part, it sounds like the folks behind The Walking Dead are certain they have a momentous episode on their hands. Luckily, for those who can't wait to find out, Sunday is just a few days away.
The Walking Dead season 6 finale 'Last Day on Earth' airs Sunday @9pm on AMC.
Source: Access Hollywood