The Walking Dead has given fans reasons to worry about many different characters over the past six seasons, but never so many at once, for such a long period of time. An incredible amount of anticipation is going into the Season 7 premiere's hour-long run-time, and episode director Greg Nicotero makes it clear that many, many more grueling hours went into putting the whole shebang together.
Listen, it was the hardest two weeks of my life. You take these actors and you drag them. You elicit the deepest, darkest fears that they've ever had because our actors, they're fucking in it. So, you spend two weeks taking them to this place and it's horrific. You do it, over and over again for nine days and when it's over, you feel like you've just witnessed the most emotional things that they could drench up.
It sounds awful to have to get pushed to one's emotional breaking point not just once or twice, but several times over the course of a day, for many different days in a row. Fun just doesn't come in the form of "pretending that someone very close to you has just gotten his or her head smooshed in by a maniac," nor in the form of "having your head fake-smooshed in."
And we can play it down by saying they're just acting, but that involves being put in a very disturbing headspace, all while being incredibly uncomfortable physically. And while it's highly doubtful that the effects master Greg Nicotero and his crew filmed a chunky and blood-soaked death for every single character in Negan's lineup, as was rumored, they almost definitely filmed several different versions. So on top of however many takes it took to get the actual final scene completed, everyone had to go through everything all over again to do the alternate versions, which will almost certainly get leaked out in some way. That's a lot of time feeling tortured and sweaty and bloody and gross. Nicotero's words to ComicBook.com do make me wonder just how long the big death sequence will be.
I don't know that I'm the kind of person who could direct that kind of scene, having to tell Jeffrey Dean Morgan that he doesn't look callous enough on his second attempt at driving Lucille through Glenn's skull. (Or not Glenn, but probably Glenn.) I could probably yell at Carl, though, so long as I thought of him as only Carl.
The Walking Dead will be making some changes and heading in different directions when it returns to AMC for Season 7 this October. To find out everything we've learned so far, check out our Season 7 guide. And stay tuned for the rest of the week, as Comic-Con will definitely give us a lot of Walking Dead-related news to chew on. For everything else hitting the small screen this fall, head over to our TV premiere schedule.