I’m including a comic spoiler here out of obligation, but anybody who follows The Walking Dead very closely at all already knows that the arrival of Negan means the departure of Glenn Rhee in arguably the most iconic moment of the comic series. In fact, the series itself teased viewers about Glenn’s potential fate last year, with Glenn contemplatively holding a baseball bat, the very weapon that does him in.
The series also teased us with Glenn’s potential death when the Termites came through and nearly bashed Glenn’s brain in with a baseball bat.
The scene is so well known that, last year when Chris Hardwick asked Robert Kirkman if he could reveal any spoilers on The Walking Dead during an episode of @Midnight, Kirkman joked, “Eventually a character named Negan is introduced. He’s going to bash in Glenn’s brains with a baseball bat called Lucille.”
The joke here is that what Kirkman described is exactly what happens in the comic book.
By now, almost everyone understands that this is what happens to Glenn in the comics, and also knows that — whether Kirkman and Co. will admit it or not — Glenn’s near-death experience earlier this season was a way of messing with viewers about Glenn’s fate. They were trolling us. Hard.
The real question at this point, however, is if that particular character death could have any affect on us now? Already nearly losing Glenn will likely take away a lot of the impact of that scene with Negan because we’ve already gone through the emotions of losing Glenn. And if Robert Kirkman is so brazen about spoiling it on a comedy show, then it’s probably not going to happen as it did in the comics, right?
Here’s what Scott Gimple told Entertainment Weekly about the back half of season nine yesterday:
For people who aren’t familiar with [the Saviors], I don’t want to say much. Though I do believe you should read the comics, if you haven’t yet you’re going to —- I hope -— have some exciting and fun discovery as the layers are peeled away on that mystery. And if you have read the comics, there are a lot of moments directly out of the book when it comes to the Saviors. And then some really cool expansions of the comic story. And some hard left turns from the comic story that do eventually wind up with a lot of very familiar small scenes from the book and big scenes from the book.
Is there any doubt that the “hard left turn” Gimple is referring to is the death of Glenn? What it sounds like Gimple is saying is that we will definitely see that iconic scene from the comics when Negan uses his baseball bat Lucille to bash in someone’s head, but that head will not be the head of Glenn.
Whose head might it be, if not Glenn’s? Well, we know it won’t be Carol. Given his other projects, it could be Daryl, who is not even a comic book character, although I don’t think Kirkman and Co. would risk pissing off Norman Reedus’ sizable fanbase. Beyond that, we don’t know, though if I had to take a guess, I’d predict it would be someone with less of an impact, like Morgan or Aaron.
If the Gimple wanted to take a big swing, however, he might put Maggie’s head underneath that bat.
We’ll have to wait until 2016 to find out. One thing is almost certain, however: It won’t be Glenn who gets his head bashed in by Negan.