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Tonight is finally the night. After six long months of waiting and wondering, AMC's apocalyptic drama The Walking Dead is finally returning to the small screen. Since The Season 6 finale back in April, fans have been debating which one (or two) of our survivors perished at the hands of Jeffrey Dean Morgan's Negan. And while this type of speculation has become a fun game within the community, the fans were originally pretty pissed at the now infamous cliffhanger. In fact, some people wrote off the show entirely and others signed a petition attempting to force AMC to reveal who died. Now The Walking Dead's producer, director, and makeup supervisor Greg Nicotero has addressed the controversy surrounding last season's finale.
There was indeed a gut reaction to the cliffhanger by some people. I think after that shock wore off, probably about two weeks later, the response that I got was that people thought it was one of the best episodes that we had ever produced. As far as I was concerned, I was very proud of the episode. I feel like it elicited the emotion that we wanted and we used the camera to sort of confine and create this futile feeling of claustrophobia. I think that we checked off all the boxes. The fact that people were upset that the episode ended that way was a knee jerk reaction that within a couple weeks that sort of went away. People were like, 'Wait, you mean we have to wait?' Now that we're getting close to it, I think the overall consensus is that we like going on this journey and they want us to keep it exciting and keep it thrilling and keep the mystery. Otherwise why bother investing yourself in a show if there's no mystery or excitement to it.
Touche, Mr. Nicotero. Greg Nicotero made quite a few points in this statement, let's break down exactly what he's saying.
Right off the bat, Greg Nicotero addresses the "shock" of the controversial cliffhanger in the episode "Last Day on Earth". I'm not sure shock is really the word for what happened. After all, hardcore fans of The Walking Dead weren't actually surprised by Negan taking Lucille to a character's head. Negan's appearance was a long time coming, plus we knew how Negan's introduction went down in the comics. Everybody loves a good cliffhanger, but they really only work if they're actually shocking and surprising.
However, Greg Nicotero is right about just how rabid The Walking Dead's fanbase is. While fans may have been annoyed with how the finale went down, it's not going to stop most of them from tuning in tonight for Season 7's premiere. In fact, the six excruciating months have made tonight a particularly exciting premiere; it's basically all that we've thought about all weekend. The finale did it's job; its continued to keep us talking about the show and will likely result in impressive numbers for tonight's premiere.
The Walking Dead returns to AMC tonight, October 23rd.