‘The Walking Dead’ Creator Talks About Cliffhangers, Present And Future

Walking Dead fans have been eagerly awaiting the premiere of Season 7 following a cliffhanger that left many fans angry. Show and comic creator Robert Kirkman spoke with Entertainment Weekly about fan reactions and what, if any, impact it will have to how future seasons of The Walking Dead will end. They also spoke about what is taken into consideration regarding the Walking Dead comics when writing the TV show for AMC.

Kirkman couldn’t help but hear the outcry of Walking Dead fans following the cliffhanger of Season 6. It left us wondering who mega-villain Negan killed with his barbed-wire baseball bat named Lucille. Many Walking Dead fans cried foul and accused the show of being unfair to viewers by leaving things up in the air. How did Kirkman respond to the feedback?

“I think as a creative person I have to acknowledge that all responses are valid, so I definitely have to take note that there’s a seemingly significant portion of the audience that wasn’t happy with that direction… At the same time, I know it’s just a small portion of the audience, and a lot of people actually like the mystery and are enjoying the guessing game that they’re playing over the summer so I don’t know. “

He also indicates that the Walking Dead writers have listened to fan feedback and probably will not do a similar cliffhanger at the end of Season 7.

In an interview with TV Guide, Walking Dead showrunner Scott Gimple said the following.

“We know why we do what we do and we know that our intentions are good. We know that we care about our audience.”

Apparently that care will be reflected in future season finales being handled differently.

Robert Kirkman also spoke about the difficulty of writing a show like The Walking Dead that is based on a book that is so popular. Sticking to the plotline of the book (comic book in his case) would be seen by many as predictable and would likely prompt comments that the show isn’t interesting. Those are not comments that producers of The Walking Dead, or any other show, want to hear. But if he strays from the book, there are those who will say that writers are copping out. Kirkman acknowledged this struggle with the Walking Dead show, saying that many viewers thought they were trying to “pull one over” on them. Not the case. They’re just trying to entertain and tell a good story. Besides, worrying about such things could kill creativity on the TV show.

“And that’s what we’re up against. I mean, we have to look at those kind of options, and to be honest, that’s kind of when you throw it all out the window and just do what you think is the coolest and best for the story. Gauging fan reaction while you’re writing a story is a progress killer, and an enthusiasm killer, because you can never anticipate… I mean, we could’ve never anticipated the uproar that happened on the internet over the cliffhanger. We’re always just sitting down and trying to tell the best stories and do the best job of adapting my material from the comic.”

It’s a tough spot for producers of AMC’s Walking Dead to be in. Of course, the ultimate goal is to keep the show entertaining and interesting. Unfortunately, the old adage that you can’t please everyone all the time applies to Walking Dead as well as it does to most things.

Walking Dead fans will finally learned who died at the hand of Negan’s barbed-wire bat Lucille when Season 7 begins on AMC on October 23 at 9 p.m. ET.

[Photo courtesy of AMC]