If you watch The Walking Dead and have working vocal cords, then it’s a certain impossibility that you’ve managed to go the past month-and-a-half without talking about the Season 6 finale and the deadly cliffhanger. Both AMC and the show’s producers have been bothered (to put it lightly) by spoilers hitting the public before episodes aired, and to combat early leaks revealing who the victim was, the show filmed the big Negan-clobbers-someone-over-the-head death scene completely in secret inside of a studio, rather than out in the open air where outsiders can see what’s happening.
Production only recently began on The Walking Dead Season 7, and it was the reliable site Spoiling Dead Fans that pointed out the clandestine filming, pointing out that no one is allowed to hang around outside the studio, which means leaky lurkers wouldn’t be able to tell specifically when and what actors are coming and going. That also means that no one would have been able to see any particular actor who happened to have been covered in insanely gory makeup to portray having his or her bashed in.
I wonder if viewers will be able to really tell that Negan’s big scene is no longer outside, but rather indoors and filled with faux plants and CGI backgrounds. Because that’s probably what people will be looking at when one of the biggest TV mysteries of the year is getting solved in a brutally bloody manner. “That ain’t no real tree, pa, I’m telling you.”
Filming indoors was obviously the best way to handle not immediately giving away who Negan killed, but it alone is not perfect, since the show does have the rest of Season 7 to film. One of the other big clues that actors have been killed off of shows is when they stop showing up for work at the filming locations, and those Georgia locations have the hungry eyes of Walking Dead spectators all around them. Someone is going to notice if Steven Yeun or Lauren Cohan or Michael Cudlitz stops coming around a week or two after that big scene was filmed.
It’s definitely possible that showrunner Scott Gimple has formulated some kind of a strategy to accommodate for this, by having the dead character’s actor return to the set for an extended time to throw off those peeping out the cast’s presence. But then, if every single actor is seen filming in the coming weeks, that will be an obvious sign that trickery is happening, and another tactic will have to be used to suss out the victim. I mean, we could just all wait to see who it is when the episode actually airs, but that requires Herculean patience that some of us haven’t been afforded through our genetics.
The Walking Dead won’t return to AMC until October. But while you’re waiting, check out everything else premiering in the next few months, check out our summer TV schedule.