The Main Reason Steven Yeun Turned Down Roles After Leaving The Walking Dead

Steven Yeun as Glenn Rhee in The Walking Dead
(Image credit: AMC)

Even years after his departure, Steven Yeun is probably best known to as fan-favorite Glenn Rhee from The Walking Dead. The character's final moments on the popular drama were bloody and heartbreaking, yet Yeun was more than ready to move on. He had a whole new life waiting for him outside of the long-running show but, at the same time, he found it hard to get away from the series. The actor recently revealed that he ended up turning down roles following his time on the show and explained the reason for it.

The Minari star portrayed Glenn in 66 episodes of The Walking Dead, from 2010-2016. Although he’s done plenty of projects, both film and TV, since he was last seen on the AMC series, it took a little while for him to get to that point. The actor admitted to EW that he actually had trouble landing roles after departing the drama because he felt the new opportunities were too similar to the one he'd just left:

The things that came for me after Walking Dead were actually great projects that were asking me to be the lead, they were asking me to lead a television show, but for some reason, when I would read the synopsis, it still felt adjacent to Glenn, the character that I played, and I don't like staying in one place for too long.

It’s understandable that he would want to try new things after having played the same character for six years. Leaving a massive series like the zombie thriller can be tough, considering that people, both fans and casting directors alike, can heavily associate an actor with a certain kind of role. So while it might be tough at first, many stars make the decision to cut ties with a project, in order to move on with their career and life. Despite leaving the series in 2016, Yeun did reprise Glenn in a voiceover role for Robot Chicken for its Walking Dead special in 2017. Aside from that, he's been doing plenty of other things and even scored an Oscar nomination for his work in Minari.

Following his departure from the zombie comic book adaptation, he spoke out about his exit, calling it bittersweet. However, he also mentioned that it felt “good to have completed something.” Fans may not have liked the way his character's story came to an end, but it was an emotionally compelling send-off for Glen. And since a show like The Walking Dead has brought fans much heartbreak over the years, it's comforting whenever an actor reveals that they're satisfied about how their character was phased out.

Though it's been five years since fans said goodbye to Glenn and Steven Yeun has clearly since moved on, it's not impossible that he'd take a role in the future that's similar to his late character? Or better yet, maybe he might shock us and make one final appearance on the AMC show before it finishes its run.

Megan Behnke
Freelance TV News Writer

Passionate writer. Obsessed with anything and everything entertainment, specifically movies and television. Can get easily attached to fictional characters.