If you ask anybody what they remember most about the first half of The Walking Dead Season 6, you’re almost definitely going to get a response all about Glenn, and how the show fooled fans into thinking he was dead. Almost everyone who watches the show had an opinion about it, and it’s not surprising that actor Steven Yeun has a few of his own now that things have died down and the show is about to return. Defending the initial plan, here’s how he feels now:
We tried for something that could have been dangerous, and to some, it was. And to some, they didn’t like it, and things became polarizing to an extent for that move. But I never felt like our heart was at a place where we were trying to deceive the audience. Never were we like, ‘People are going to go crazy for this!’ It was more just like, let’s tell this story and make it compelling and make it purposeful. Scott always brought up the point that he was trying to make the audience feel the same way as how people back in Alexandria must have felt not knowing where Glenn was. And whether the audience believes that we executed that well or not, we went for it, and even in the face of victory or failure, when you go for something, that’s all you can really hang your hat on.
To be expected, Yeun came away from the experience feeling like they did something brave and compelling, and it’s hard to deny that those things are true. (Especially for him when he was mostly hiding out at the time.) It was definitely brave to take such a fan favorite character and just dangle his potential death above everyone like that, and it made for some truly compelling conversations after the fact. As far as whether that cautious wait should have been expanded to several weeks or not, well that’s a different story, but at least it made sense as far as how the first 8 episodes were structured. I guess.
I can’t argue that it was a good basis for a decision to want to keep the audience on the same level of situational ignorance as everyone else in Alexandria, as many TV shows and movies have successfully drawn tension out of scenarios by keeping viewers in the dark. But things took a weird turn when Steven Yeun’s name got erased from the opening credits, and it felt more like trickery than mystery.
Of course, Yeun also spoke about that to EW
You know, I think it was one of those things where I guess conflicting ideas maybe brought upon a middle ground, and when you’re talking about something that is as extreme as that, sometimes the middle ground isn’t the best place to operate from. And so some things that Scott was intending happened, and other things that Scott was intending didn’t happen, because other people didn’t want that to happen. So, you kind of get into a situation where, you know, I wonder what would’ve happened if we just went full-tilt on bringing me out there, doing the Talking Dead thing, and going for a full-on — I guess you could call it — deception. But in this day and age, when you have the Internet, and you have that show that follows our show, we’re having to deal with things that traditionally you don’t have to deal with in a storytelling structure.
At least he seems to understand that it wasn’t the best idea, even if it had to come out in a wishy-washy manner. It’s true that the Internet messes with expectations and presentations, but sometimes you just have to let things alone.
Luckily, Glenn lived another day and wasn’t meant to be a part of this creepy image. Whether he makes it through the end of Season 6 is another thing entirely. Find out how good or bad his reunion with Maggie goes when The Walking Dead returns to AMC on Sunday, February 14.