The Walking Dead cliffhanger was almost more than fans could handle, but it may have served a greater purpose than it seemed. Producers gained a lot of feedback on the popularity of each of the characters. They learned that millions of passionate viewers really would riot if Daryl Dixon, played by Norman Reedus, was the one killed, and more importantly, some might stop watching.
Andrew Lincoln spoke with Entertainment Weekly about the Walking Dead cliffhanger controversy that left adamant supporters of various characters up in arms, wondering if their favorite actors would be out of a job. Producers left the final episode with a blacked out scene where someone obviously died, but the burning question has surrounded who was killed. The main concerns were overwhelmingly for Reedus and Yeun, but all fans are worried. Lincoln expressed his amazement with the summer obsession.
“Every time I leave my house. Every time I go through customs. Every time they are checking my belt going through the security, everybody’s going, “Please tell me. Just tell me. Just whisper, who is it? Is it you?”
Although Andrew Lincoln plays the main character in the zombie thriller The Walking Dead, Reedus and Yeun have at least equaled him in inspiring viewer enthusiasm. Most viewers assume Lincoln is safe anyway because his character, Rick Grimes, plays a major role in the comic book version of the show.
Norman Reedus and Steven Yeun are very important to viewers based on social media posts. Glenn Rhee is a very important character. Fans are adamant that Steven Yeun makes a huge difference because of the way he brings Glenn to life. He’s not the same character as he was in the comics. His importance has been magnified by Steven’s acting skills.
Walking Dead fans spoke out very loudly this summer. Just how much did the producers and directors listen to fan chatter? How much does it matter to them that the show might not even make sense to them without Glenn or Daryl? Could Norman Reedus and Steven Yeun be saved by their fan appeal? Could the decision have been left at least partially up to the fan reactions all along?
Andrew Lincoln may be revealing a major secret when he spoke to Entertainment Weekly. Even while comic book buffs were guessing who got killed, could it be that producers and writers were still struggling to decide? After all, the season finale was filmed without any of the actors or crew knowing who was killed. Andrew Lincoln’s words to Entertainment Weekly seem to hint that the massive public outcry held weight in the decision.
“The first time I went to Comic-Con and I heard the reaction to the trailer, I realized that we handed the show over to the fans at that point. It was a done deal. And so, there is a sort of symbiotic relationship with the show and the fanbase, which is also part of a bigger conversation in my opinion. We’re just a small part of a much bigger conversation online. And far be it for me to say someone’s right or wrong.”
Was the Walking Dead cliffhanger decided by producers and writers while writing the finale or not? Did all this summer’s fan input, angry defense of characters, wild guessing, and careful analysis of that final scene weigh into their plot building? Maybe the fan reactions were given weight on the decision.
Andrew Lincoln seems to keep hinting that fans opinions have at least some importance to the producers and cast. Still, he never comes out and states that who died might be partially based on reactions.
“We value and respect everybody’s opinion because, without it, we wouldn’t be here.”
Walking Dead enthusiasts know their opinions are weighed at least a bit, but just how much? That is what Norman Reedus fans always want to know. Daryl Dixon is a real wild card because that character isn’t in the comics and wasn’t really planned to be the main character, but he has become just that to so many viewers.
Andrew Lincoln goes on to discuss how the Walking Dead comic book also plays a role in what happens.
“At the heart of it is the fact that we dance this tightrope where we have this beautiful environment originated by Robert Kirkman. And then, we’re trying to do our own thing amongst it, but of course, there are bits that we honor.”
Warning: Possible Walking Dead spoilers ahead!
For Steven Yeun fans, this is the big question. In the comic book, Glenn Rhee dies. Most viewers would rather Glenn stays, no matter what miracle they have to pull off to keep him. Can’t that bit of the comic book just be forgotten?
Will The Walking Dead staying true to the comic book? Will the original story weigh more heavily, or will Steven Yeun fans have their way and save the Glenn character if they speak up loudly enough? Spoiler have been hinting Glenn is dead now, but no one can be sure until Sunday, October 23 when the show airs on AMC.
Can Walking Dead fans save Norman Reedus, Steven Yeun, or Andrew Lincoln by expressing their feelings?
[Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images]