Why The Walking Dead’s Steven Yeun Had ‘Weird Feelings’ After Leaving The Show

Glenn in The Walking Dead

AMC's The Walking Dead has become a massive franchise over the years, as the zombie apocalypse has continued expanding with two different spinoffs and an upcoming theatrical movie. But the original flagship series is where it all started, and actor Steven Yeun played survivor Glenn since back in Episode 2. Glenn was horrifyingly killed off in the Season 7 premiere, and now Yeun has spoken to how this departure resulted in "weird feelings."

Throughout the first six seasons of The Walking Dead, Steven Yeun's Glenn nearly perished a number of times. But it finally happened at the hands of Jeffrey Dean Morgan's Negan, with Glenn's head brutally bashed into nothing by his bat Lucille. Yeun recently spoke to what it was like leaving the show he had such a long history with, revealing:

Leaving [the show], if I had any weird feelings about it, was mostly that I hadn’t taken the time for myself to understand who I was and maybe my voice and what I wanted to say. I was always kind of in service to this larger narrative. And in some ways that reflects kind of how I was raised in my early years. I think I’m done. I think I want to try the other side.

The Walking Dead is known for its grueling shooting schedule, which often includes being outside in Atlanta in the scorching summer heat. And from Steven Yeun's comments, it seems the show's dizzying work pace resulted in him not understanding his own voice. But that eventually changed, and he was able to work on a variety of acclaimed film projects following his tenure as Glenn.

Steven Yeun's comments to Variety shows what it's really like working on a massively popular show like The Walking Dead. Yeun might have seen his character's death coming, as Glenn died at the hands of Negan in the same manner in the original comic books. Still, this seismic change in his career and daily life was something that created some mixed feelings for the actor.

In the end, Steven Yeun was indeed able to make it "the other side." The 37 year-old actor took on a number of roles since The Walking Dead, including notable gigs in Netflix's Okja and the recent Oscar contender Minari. And he learned quite a bit from his time in the zombie apocalypse, as Yeun further explained:

I think for me it was a massive blessing to get Walking Dead because not only did I meet incredible people that taught me some incredible ways to navigate life — to be a professional, to be an actor, to take a job seriously — but also just submit to a beast such as Walking Dead.

The man's got a point. In addition to the acting and professional training that he picked up while playing Glenn on The Walking Dead, the AMC show itself was a beast. He had long hours, a ton of action and stunt work, and was often covered in fake blood and guts. Now Steven Yeun can handle pretty much anything, and the sky's the limit.

Steven Yeun has most recently been making headlines for his role in A24's acclaimed drama Minari. The film festival favorite went viral when it was revealed that the Golden Globes would be putting the film in the Foreign Film Category, despite it being made in America by an American production company. We'll just have to wait and see how that story develops as Awards Season gets closer.

The Walking Dead and its two spinoffs currently air on AMC. Be sure to check out our midseason premiere list to plan your next binge watch.

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.