Here’s what we know. Negan ended the episode by smashing his baseball bat, Lucille, into someone’s head. Here’s what we don’t know: Whose head it was.
The question that remains, however, is: Who does know, and when did they find out? Did they know when they filmed the episode who was going to be at the end of the baseball bat? Robert Kirkman suggested as much on The Talking Dead, when he said “there are clues” in the final sequence as to who will die. In a later interview, however, showrunner Scott Gimple seemed to dismiss any suggestion that there are clues about who died, telling Entertainment Weekly:
“I believe there is no way. There are a couple of things in there that might help people possibly limit the amount of people who are vulnerable. But I will recommend people not to go down that route. I truly don’t think there’s a way to puzzle it all out definitively.”
In other words, we can analyze the audio, we can freeze frame and zoom in on certain shots, and we can try to figure it out based on the facial expressions of the cast all we want, but the truth is, we’ll never be able to piece it together because there are no clues. We know it won’t be Rick or Carl (because Negan said to feed Carl’s other eye to Rick if there was any funny business during the bashing), but otherwise, there’s nothing.
Is it possible that Kirkman and Co. didn’t know when they shot the episode who would die? We know, for instance, that Chandler Riggs didn’t know. He read the script six months ago, and he still hasn’t got a clue. We know that none of the other actors knew, either. In fact, according to Greg Nicotero — the director — not even Jeffrey Dean Morgan knew, because all the actors had gone home before he finally swung his bat down.
As a matter of fact, if I’m not mistaken, I think we had wrapped all of the actors, because the shot we did with Negan, the sun was coming up and Jeffrey was about to get on a plane and fly back to New York and we didn’t have anybody there because we didn’t want even somebody on the crew or somebody there to go, “Oh I get it, I know what’s going to happen.” So I think they were all gone. We built a little rig for Jeffrey to hit so that there would be impact with the baseball bat.
Many have been speculating online that nobody knew who is at the end of the bat, not even Robert Kirkman and Scott Gimple, because they hadn’t written the scene yet, and they were still trying to figure out who would die to start season seven.