Massive spoilers ahead for the premiere of The Walking Dead.
We asked for it, and we certainly got it. This Sunday was the premiere of The Walking Dead's seventh season, and with it came the answer to the cliffhanger we'd been discussing since back in April. And while the knowledge of who Negan killed with Lucille is satisfying, many folks weren't too happy with how they found out. The images of Abraham and Glenn being so brutally murdered has been the thing of nightmares for fans, with many wondering if those disturbing scenes were absolutely necessary. Luckily for us, Walking Dead director, producer, and make up supervisor Greg Nicotero has opened up regarding why it had to be so brutal.
Greg Nicotero recently sat in on a conference call (via IGN) to talk about The Walking Dead's seventh season, including the horrifying premiere episode. In regard to Negan's violent murder of Abraham and Glenn, Nicotero said the following:
It's graphic and it's horrible. We wanted to push it a little bit. When we shot the Season 5 premiere, we had everybody at the trough and we went down the line and you saw these guys being murdered and drained of blood. That was purely a mechanism just to show how bad the people in Terminus really were. With Negan, you only have to see that once or twice to know this guy means business. The haunting remnants of that episode are very very similar to how I felt when I read the comic book and I experienced that sense of loss and the futility of trying to step in. Rick Grimes is powerless to stop this and that's something we've never seen on the show. I think the violence and brutality are a part of the helplessness. Seeing our hero completely crushed in front of us is more disturbing than the actual violence for me.
The man does have a point. Let's break down exactly what Mr. Nicotero is referencing in his statement.
For one, you can't deny the effectiveness of Sunday's premiere episode. Although we had six months to emotionally prepare ourselves for the loss of a major character, The Walking Dead still succeeded in shocking and devastating the audience. While part of this reaction is because three characters were ripped away from the group in different ways, much of the knee jerk response is because of the disturbing imagery. But let's get real: if we didn't see Negan killing them with our own eyes, it would be a major let down and would probably cause people to stop watching altogether. It couldn't be an off screen death- we needed to see the violence.
And although the premiere was hard to get through, its not like Season 7 will have more of this type of violence. Greg Nicotero points out that you only have to see this type of imagery once to forever equate it to Negan. So while some people have been campaigning for The Walking Dead to receive a new TV rating, last Sunday's visuals likely won't return to the series anytime soon. We can just wait and see what sort of messed up stuff is coming next.
The Walking Dead airs Sundays on AMC.