Robert Kirkman does not regret killing off Glenn. Fans of both the television series The Walking Dead as well as the comic book series that it is based on, know that it's dangerous to become too attached to the characters. The intense story about a group of people trying to survive the zombie apocalypse is known for killing main characters - often in brutal and unforgettable ways.
In order to keep the fans of the books from being able to predict too much, the show often changes things up. Sometimes that means adding original characters, such as the popular Daryl Dixon. Other times, it means killing off characters who are alive in the books, or allowing those who died on paper to live on the screen. Carol was a very early death in the comics, where Andrea and Sophia are still alive. Sometimes - in order to really mess with the fans - one character's death is given to another. Bob suffered from the fate that initially belonged to Dale, and Denise died on the show the way Abraham did in the comics. So when it came time for one of the book's most famous and brutal deaths, audiences had no idea what to expect.
That death belong to Glenn Rhee, one of the first characters introduced on the show. Fans were very attached to the former pizza delivery boy, and watched him mature into a married man and fierce warrior. Hints and teases about his death in the comics popped up periodically on the show, and his death was faked for a few episodes before the show finally introduced Negan and his baseball bat Lucille. Audiences waited all summer to find out that Negan did kill Glenn with Lucille - after faking the fans out by killing Abraham first. It's a decision that Robert Kirkman does not regret - at least, based on what he said during The Walking Dead panel at San Diego Comic-Con.
Not only was Glenn - one of the show's few longtime characters - murdered in front of his friends and wife, but it was graphic. Negan hit him so hard that his eye popped out of the socket before he died. Since then, his death has been driving his wife Maggie - helping move her into more of a leadership role at Hilltop. It also devastated his friends, especially Rick and Daryl, leaving them emotionally helpless and unwilling to fight Negan for awhile. The repercussions have been huge. So it was not surprising that a fan asked Kirkman if he regretted killing the character. To which Kirkman responded:
“In the event that Steven Yeun eventually sees this, I just want to say for the record, ‘Not even a little bit!’ So, no."
He did think about it for a moment and backpedal a tad - though he does think killing both Glenn and Abraham was a good decision:
"Maybe a little. A little bit at the premiere. I got to watch that with an audience and when it was happening I was like, It’s a bit much. It’s a bit much.’"
"It was good for the show. I think it was good to have the event for the seventh season.” It injected a lot of new blood to the show, including Negan, who fans really seem to like. “When you guys see Season 8 an what we’ve got planned for this year, it all comes together in a really cool way."
Meanwhile - at Walker Stalker Con in Nashville - Yeun spoke a bit about Glenn's death and his departure from the show where he had been one of the main characters for over half a decade:
"I actually found out I was going to die about two years before it happened. It was like, not talked about. It was unsaid but it was understood that we were gonna do what we were supposed to do. I advocated for that, too, because it could've been just me rationalizing it, what was inevitable, but at the same time, you look at that journey and you realize that is marked in such a dramatic way in the comic that to change it, I think is a cheat."
Yeun also points out that while the death was violent and grotesque, it was not more so than certain other deaths on the show, specifically bringing up the death of Noah. It makes sense that he mentioned that one, as it was another gruesome death - and one that Glenn watched while helpless to do anything about it. However, Noah had only been in about nine episodes, so while he was a generally liked character, his death did not have the same resonance as Glenn's. So while it is easy to remember how violent and gory Glenn's death was, it is evident that the real impact was an emotional one. Which - while it may be upsetting for his fans - does make for some very good television. And however much Kirkman does or does not regret the decision - it had the effect he desired.
The Walking Dead season 8 premieres October 22 on AMC.
Source: Robert Kirkman and Steve Yeun [via ComicBook]