AMC's The Walking Dead actor Michael Cudlitz says it was a mistake to have Negan kill both Abraham and Glenn in the same episode, as it was too much of a loss for fans. Based on the comic book series by Robert Kirkman, The Walking Dead debuted on AMC in 2010 and quickly established itself as one of the highest rated shows on cable TV, with numbers rivaling those of network series. However, ratings for The Walking Dead have seen a steady decline in recent seasons, with the recently aired season 9 hitting new lows for the long-running show.
Pinpointing exactly why The Walking Dead has seen a decline in interest may be difficult, but it seems clear that for many fans, a big turning point was the highly controversial season 7 premiere in which bad guy Negan brutally murdered fan favorite characters Abraham and Glenn. Death was of course a big part of The Walking Dead even before that episode, but many fans thought the show went over the line in depicting the full graphic violence of Negan beating Abraham and Glenn to death with his baseball bat Lucille. It didn't help that the murders came after a season 6 cliffhanger that left fans feeling manipulated.
In a recent appearance on The IMDb Show, one of the participants in The Walking Dead's bloodiest and most controversial episode gave his own thoughts on why the show miscalculated in having Negan unleash his full brutality on two such popular characters. Cudlitz, who played Abraham, says he believes the double-murder was simply too much for the audience to take, and it was a particular mistake to kill Glenn given what he represented to fans. Cudlitz said:
“I always said, I personally thought it was not the wisest thing to take both Abraham and Glenn out in the same episode. It’s too much of a loss for the fans, for the audience. [Glenn’s] like the moral compass and the heart of the show at the time, even pulling Rick back, he was almost the Herschel whisperer - he’d also become that other side of him that was able to guide him, or at least help guide him.”
Indeed, Cudlitz is not the first Walking Dead cast member to express regret over the way Glenn and Abraham's deaths were played. Rick Grimes actor Andrew Lincoln previously said he wished the show hadn't gone so over-the-top in depicting every gory detail of the murders, including showing Glenn's eyeball popping out after a blow from Negan. Steven Yeun, the actor who played Glenn, also expressed disappointment over the way his character was handled, saying The Walking Dead never "appreciated" Glenn.
Fans certainly seem to agree with Cudlitz, Lincoln and Yeun when it comes to the way Glenn and Abraham were dispatched from the show, as many of them gave up after the season 7 premiere and never returned. Though many think The Walking Dead has seen a resurgence in quality under new showrunner Angela Kang, the audience does not seem to be returning, which speaks partly to the lingering offense fans feel over the way the show seemed to revel in the brutality of Glenn and Abraham's deaths as though they were mere props in some wild B-grade horror movie. The Walking Dead of course remains a violent and bloody show, as evidenced by The Whisperers' massacre in the late stages of season 9, when multiple characters including Henry, Tara and Enid were killed and their heads put on spikes, but that violence now seems tempered by a little more sensitivity toward the characters and the fans' feelings about them.
Source: The IMDb Show