Creator Of ‘The Walking Dead’ Apologizes For Cliffhanger

This season of The Walking Dead ended with a shocking cliffhanger, and now creator Robert Kirkman is apologizing to fans for the bold move.

“Everyone on [The Walking Dead] team wanted to do something cool. We wanted to do something different and we did it to change things up, to get people excited and to keep this show on your mind,” said the creator of the Walking Dead comic series.

Kirkman’s apology came in the “Letters to the Editor” section of this month’s issue of The Walking Dead comic series, where Kirkman discussed the planning and intention behind the decision to leave viewers in the dark about the death of one of their favorite characters.

Warning: There are spoilers ahead for anyone who hasn’t read the comic.

“For some of you, that effort backfired and you’re angry. And for that I’m sorry. The only thing I can promise you is that the season 7 premiere is going to be awesome,” Kirkman promised.

In the Walking Dead comics, the villainous Negan (played on the TV series by Jeffrey Dean Morgan) shows up at the end of the 100th issue and kills a character who had been a fan favorite since day one. It could be that the AMC series will go the same route, killing the same character, but the series has departed from the comics in several important ways in the past, leaving many fans to speculate that it’s likely AMC might be heading in a different direction.

That speculation started early on during this season of The Walking Dead, and many fans expected the show to have a shocking season finale – delivering the fatal blow to a beloved character. And the show absolutely did, but fans didn’t see who it was. The ensuing online backlash has been extraordinary.

“The speculation, the frustration, the possibilities, the theories. Honestly, in my mind, that stuff is fun,” said creator Robert Kirkman.

Kirkman went on to describe that no matter how hurt or frustrated fans were over the decision to conceal precisely who was on the receiving end of Negan’s fatal beatdown, the fact that they’re still talking about it speaks volumes of the season finale’s emotional impact. Fans have been talking about the Walking Dead season finale for weeks since it aired, and Kirkman speculates that the buzz surrounding the controversial cliffhanger is only going to be a good thing for The Walking Dead. It’s going to drive people to tune in next season, and Kirkman promises that it’s going to be worth the wait.

Vanity Fair speculates that the controversial move to keep the identity of the doomed character hidden may have originated as a ploy for ratings, when AMC saw that The Walking Dead took a slight hit for the premiere of Season 6.

“I know people are angry over this, but that wasn’t our intent. The idea was that after six seasons of a show, we wanted to stay on your mind and give you something to talk about,” Kirkman said in this month’s issue of The Walking Dead.

Kirkman goes on to describe that the intention was always to give fans something to talk about during the offseason, to keep The Walking Dead on their minds during the long summer break, instead of just another TV series killing off a beloved character. The Walking Dead is notoriously ruthless when it comes to killing off main characters, but those deaths are rarely so hotly debated online.

“When viewed as a two-part episode, it’s going to be a pretty awesome ride. And every minute of the season six finale was important for setting something up that you probably won’t see coming,” said series creator Robert Kirkman.

[Photo by Robin Marchant/Getty Images for AMC]

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