Visual FX guru Greg Nicotero has a sterling pedigree in the art of zombie storytelling. He started under the tutelage of Tom Savini on George Romero’s third Dead film, Day of the Dead, and has been instrumental in pushing forward the necessity of practical effects in an increasingly-digital FX world. He’s been on hundreds of film sets and is a legend in horror. He knows his stuff. However, The Walking Dead season 7 premiere is seeing plenty of fan pushback after the way they dealt with two character deaths (and the cliffhanger that jump-started fans to get back on the TWD boat after lagging ratings).
Nicotero, who directed the season 7 premiere “The Day Will Come When You Won’t Be,” generally thinks fans should chill out over the deaths of two beloved characters. The scene, which played out Sunday night was extremely graphic and disturbing in the books, was met with an equal gruesomeness in the show. But the way in which they were revealed, with pointless “what could have been” flashbacks and forwards, dream sequences and an artificial extending of the death’s reveal simply wasn’t good storytelling in many eyes. Sure, “show don’t tell.” That’s the adage, right? But showing things that are constructed to tug at heartstrings aren’t nearly as interesting or important as seeing how characters deal with the sudden, brutal deaths of their loved ones in the reality of the situation.
Now fans across social media say they’re leaving The Walking Dead. Maybe some are leaving because their favorite characters are gone in bloody fashion, but others are possibly leaving because this whole situation was handled poorly. Nicotero sees no issue. Game of Thrones kills off characters all the time and he’s still totally invested in the story:
“I would say that [their threat] means we have done something to affect these people in a way that they don’t necessarily know how to process,” he suggested. “Listen… I’ve been shocked at the turns of events on [Game of Thrones]. But you know what? I still love it. And I’m still committed to seeing where that story goes. So I think it’s a knee-jerk reaction that people have, because they care about these characters. That’s a tribute to every single actor on our show that has perished. It’s unfortunate that people want to take a negative spin on it… [and especially] if that’s really what’s going to happen [and they’ll stop watching], because the show still has a lot to offer!”
Uproxx’s own Donna Dickens summed the feeling of fan’s up well:
“He suggests GoT does the same thing as TWD did. However, as Twitter pointed out, it’d be like if GoT filmed Bolton pulling a knife on Catelyn at the Red Wedding and then smash cut to black for the season.”
Imagine GoT doing that, then spending 20 minutes getting to the moment her neck was sliced. It’s frustrating, and it insults the intelligence of viewers. Flashforwards to what could’ve beens are the voiceover of the movie/TV world.