Warning: This article contains spoilers for the Season 7 finale of The Walking Dead.
For the most part, The Walking Dead ended Season 7 in much the same way that it ends every season, dealing the shocking blow of an unexpected, unwanted death and a cliffhanger that will ensure fans will remain frenzied during the show’s hiatus. In this case, the rise of a story arc with Sonequa Martin-Green at the center of attention only to have her character meet her demise in the finale seemed to deliberately play on the emotions of The Walking Dead‘s following. Executive producer Scott Gimple says that wasn’t the case, nor did Martin-Green’s other career obligations play a part in killing off her character. Gimple addresses those rumors and teases a new take for Season 8 of the AMC series.
Scott Gimple on Killing Off The Walking Dead‘s Sonequa Martin-Green
While Scott admits that the timing of The Walking Dead season finale and Sasha’s (Martin-Green) death is fortuitous for the Star Trek: Discovery producers, he tells TV Line that all of that is mere happenstance. Killing off Sonequa’s character was just a story point that needed to happen in the grand scheme of Season 7.
Gimple does admit that efforts were made to keep Martin-Green’s casting on Star Trek a secret as long as possible for fear that fans of The Walking Dead would predict Sasha’s death too far in advance of the season finale. In the end, Scott says it worked out and they were still able to give viewers some twists.
“On Walking Dead, this was about Sasha having a shot at taking out Negan [by] making herself into a weapon. That story was going to be the story no matter what.”
The Walking Dead showrunner added that Sasha’s story arc mirrored a scene in The Walking Dead comic books in which Holly pulls a similar stunt, trading the coffin for a hooded cloak. While that part of the story is shared with the source material, Scott adds that Sonequa’s story arc doesn’t end with her character being used as bait, as was the case with Holly.
“I was happy that we got to see Sasha make the decision [to weaponize herself] and have those last minutes be cumulative with what Sonequa did, which was one shot broken up over the course of the episode,” explained the Walking Dead boss.
The Walking Dead Jumps Ahead to Season 8
Recently, a number of television shows have been using time jumps to advance their plots, but, as Gimple told the Hollywood Reporter, The Walking Dead will be employing the time jump used in the comic books. In other words, the plot device comes directly from the source material and isn’t something invented specifically for the AMC series.
Jumping several years ahead, Rick (Andrew Lincoln) has secured a safe existence for his people in Alexandria, just as he had always envisioned, and he’s even managed to bring back a sense of community. Neighboring societies are all working together in this future and it seems a sense of normalcy never before seen on The Walking Dead has been made possible through teamwork and trust.
Gimple warns that fans of The Walking Dead comic books won’t be able to predict everything that happens in this new, brighter future and the series showrunner suggests that things may not remain as blissful as they at first seem.
“But I will say there are things that happen in that time jump that are referred to that are super interesting,” Scott hints. “And thus we might see some of that stuff; it might not be the same sort of jump, or we’ll do that two to five years in real time.”
While Gimple tries to remain as faithful to Robert Kirkman’s comic books as possible, he says changes inevitably happen and he feels this new future may not work out exactly as The Walking Dead comics lay it out. He does add that he has been reading ahead in that source material and is intrigued by some of the events, leaving him wondering how best to implement those changes in Season 8.
“There’s stuff in there that I was reading that I wondered about, and when I wonder about stuff that I like, I like getting into that stuff [on the show],” said the Walking Dead showrunner. “We’re definitely going to honor it and do it, but we’re definitely going to have either more of it or possibly do it in a different way.”
Season 8 of The Walking Dead will premiere in October.
[Featured Image by AMC]