As we wrote last week, the public statements from the cast and production team behind The Walking Dead simply do not add up. Some of the cast seemed to know who exactly was going to die in advance of the season finale; Lauren Cohan’s statements on the finale changed; and Greg Nicotero claimed that the actors still don’t know who died in the finale, even though shooting on the seventh season begins next month. That’s probably not accurate, anyway, because Norman Reedus confessed on the Today show that he does know who will die (and that it is “gut wrenching.”)
Meanwhile, on The Talking Dead after the finale aired, showrunner Scott Gimple (and to a lesser extent, creator Robert Kirkman) concocted a few talking points to deal with the fall-out, suggesting that this season had nothing to do with who Negan killed and everything to do with the fall of Rick Grimes. That line didn’t sit well with fans, who have been theorizing all season long about who would become the victim of Negan’s baseball bat, speculation that Gimple and Kirkman seemed to encourage.
While Gimple is not walking back on any of his previous justifications for the way they ended the season, he’s at least now expressing some empathy for his audience (the alleged death threats were probably a good motivator). On Monday night, Scott Gimple told moderator and Ghostbusters/Bridesmaids director at a public screening of the finale, “We never intend to f*ck with people. You all just saw the episode and I want to go on record and say we were not trying to f*ck with you.”
Personally, I believe him. I don’t think that Gimple meant to screw with viewers, because neither he nor AMC wants to risk a backlash from the audience of the most popular show on television. Then again, I don’t believe Gimple when he says that the season had nothing to do with Negan’s victim, either.
I believe that Gimple honestly didn’t anticipate the kind of fall-out the cliffhanger would receive. He didn’t expect that television viewers would take the show so seriously. I think that Gimple thought the same thing that Greg Nicotero believed when he told Entertainment Weekly, “A week from now, they won’t be upset anymore, and it’ll be fun.
It’s been a week, and I don’t think anyone is having a laugh. I think Gimple, Nicotero and Kirkman simply underestimated how passionate the fanbase is, and how invested we were in finding out who Negan was going to bash to death with a bat.
(Via Vanity Fair)