More than two months after it aired, the cliffhanger from the sixth season finale of AMC’s The Walking Dead still has fans of the series talking - and some of them not so happy. The episode featured villain Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) appearing for the first time, giving a long and threatening monologue and eventually swinging his spiked bat directly at an as-yet-unknown member of the cast.
Since then, much has happened. Producers for the show have addressed the controversy. Actors have, too. An executive producer for the show admitted that she doesn’t actually know which cast member was killed. Viewers have pored over fall pilot season casting details for clues, while some fans of the series have even launched a petition drive aimed at getting an earlier answer as to which cast member will be departing the series.
Now, with Season 7 still several months away, The Walking Dead’s executive producer and has given a new interview about what to expect in the fall - and there’s also word that AMC’s worries about spoilers may have moved to the realm of legal threats.
Greg Nicotero, an executive producer, director and effects supervisor for the series, gave an interview this week with IGN in which he acknowledged how polarizing the cliffhanger was, but defended the decision to go ahead with it anyway.
Speaking at a preview event for Universal Hollywood's The Walking Dead theme park attraction, Nicotero went into the decision:
“It propels our people. It affects our people profoundly, as it does in the comic book. That changes everyone's direction,”… "The main thing about Season 7 is establishing that the world isn't what everybody thinks it is, the world out there. At the end of Season 6, Rick was so confident. 'We're just going to knock out that outpost, we're going to f--k these guys up before they f--k us up,' and it ends with him going, 'Heh, oh well, I had no idea. What I perceived as the world is not even close to what the reality of the world is,' and Negan's there to show him that.”
And in other Walking Dead cliffhanger news, a Facebook fan group for the show called The Spoiling Dead said this week that AMC sent them a cease-and-desist letter, as well as the threat of a lawsuit, should the site continue to speculate about the “Lucille Victim” (Lucille, a la B.B. King’s guitar. is the name of Negan’s weapon.):
Well Buttercups, we have some sad news to share today. After two years, AMC finally reached out to us! But it wasn’t a request not to post any info about the Lucille Victim or any type of friendly attempt at compromise, it was a cease and desist and a threat of a lawsuit by AMC Holdings, LLC’s attorney, Dennis Wilson. They say we can’t make any type of prediction about the Lucille Victim. Their stance is that making such a prediction would be considered copyright infringement. AMC tells us that we made some claim somewhere that says we received “copyright protected, trade secret information about the most critical plot information in the unreleased next season of The Walking Dead” and that we announced we were going to disclose this protected information. We still aren't sure where we supposedly made this claim because they did not identify where it was.
On the Nicotero comments, obviously the executive producer of a show is not going to give away a major plot point like that in the middle of the show’s offseason. However, his comments - which also promise that we will see “new worlds” in The Walking Dead season 7, indicate that perhaps the series can break the monotony of the last couple of seasons.
As for The Spoiling Dead's allegations, the owner of a popular show threatening to sue a fan site is not typically a good look. But if they’re actually violating copyrights, AMC’s lawyers wouldn’t be doing their jobs if they weren’t at least sending a letter.
The Walking Dead season 7 will premiere in the fall of 2016 on AMC.