Why The Walking Dead's Glenn Was Never Appreciated, According To Steven Yeun

Glenn with a bat in Season 6

While the summer brings the opportunities to vacation and catch a new season of Game of Thrones, it can be a frustrating few months for diehard TV audiences. Most hows are on hiatus until the fall, including AMC's massively popular apocalyptic drama The Walking Dead. But the wait isn't quite as bad as last year, when the fans debated who was killed by Negan. One of those killed off characters was Steven Yeun's Glenn Rhee, who had been on the show since the very start. And now Yeun has revealed that he didn't think fans ever really appreciated Glenn; he was always just there.

Steven Yeun has been doing the press rounds to promote his role in Netflix's Okja, but of course all conversations end with The Walking Dead. When speaking with Vanity Fair about his long tenure on the series, Yeun opened up about the lukewarm response to his character when he was still alive.

I'll be honest with you and put a full disclaimer here: I might not be objective, but I truly feel like people didn't know what to do with Glenn. They liked him, they had no problems with him, and people enjoyed him. But they didn't acknowledge the connection people had with the character until he was gone.

It's true what they say; you'll never know what you've got till it's gone. This may have been the case for Glenn Rhee, who was one of the few characters from the original Atlanta group. While the fandom loved Glenn's moral compass and his relationship with Maggie, he might not have been the most colorful or exciting characters. Thus, Steven Yeun felt the difference from the appeal of characters like Michonne and Daryl.

Glenn's role in the main group was always a supporting one. While we saw his kind spirit and fighting abilities, the character never went anywhere particularly exciting or shocking. Throughout the various misadventures, the darkest we saw Glenn was when he and Maggie were kidnapped by the Governor back in Season 3. Since then, he just continued to be good to everyone and love his wife, which isn't the most exciting character arc.

Steven Yeun went on to elaborate on this choice. And while ensuring the fandom that he feels good about his role in The Walking Dead, he voiced his frustrating with Glenn's lack of solo screen time. He said:

Internally, it was incredible. Externally, it was tough sometimes because I never felt like he got his fair due. I never felt like he got it from an outward perception. I don't say this as a knock on anything. He always had to be part of something else to legitimize himself. He was rarely alone. And when he was alone, it took several years to convince people to be on his own.

I can't say I disagree with him. Perhaps this was just a flaw in the writing; Glenn's generous nature didn't always make for the best TV. For instance, if he didn't end up forgiving Nicholas than he could have had a continued conflict with him through Season 6, and avoid the whole fake death debacle. Just a thought.

You can currently catch Steven Yeun in Okja on Netflix. The Walking Dead will return to AMC for Season 8 this October.

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Graduated with degrees theater and literature from Ramapo College of New Jersey. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid. He's particularly proud of covering horror franchises like Scream and Halloween, as well as movie musicals like West Side Story. Favorite interviews include Steven Spielberg, Spike Lee, Jamie Lee Curtis, and more.