The Walking Dead finally introduced the iconic comic book villain Negan in last night's Season 6 finale, and as expected, one of the show's beloved characters was killed off. However, fans didn't get to see who Negan killed, which won't be revealed until Season 7. Showrunner and executive producer Scott M. Gimple spoke with TV Line, confirming that the opening of Season 7 will pick up right where the The Walking Dead Season 6 finale left off. It will be incredibly dark, pushing the boundaries of violence in terms of what has come before it. He then went onto to talk about the first eight episodes.
"(We will) be pushing some boundaries [in terms of blood and gore]. Things are going to start off very, very, very dark. But that won't be the whole season. It's not going to be darkness upon darkness upon darkness. The world is going to open up even more. We're going to have a wide variety of locales and a wide variety of tone. I'm very excited for all the different stories that are going to be told, and there are going to be a lot of different stories told... There's probably going to be the biggest variety of stories we've had yet."
He also spoke about the challanges of creating a vastly new world for the survivors we've come to know. He explains how difficult it is to move forward, with an eye on the future. He explains the following.
"A big part of it is, "How do you begin again?" The world is not what they thought it was. How do you basically start over in this new world? All of these characters - even the [ones] that weren't in that lineup - are in a position where they will learn the world isn't what they thought it was and it will challenge them as far as how they choose to move forward and who they want to be."
Several fans took to social media after the season finale to express their displeasure with the cliffhanger ending. Series creator Robert Kirkman teased earlier today that the person who Negan killed is "beloved to everyone," but he wouldn't offer any more hints about this person's identity. When asked again about the negative backlash, executive producer/showrunner Scott M. Gimple had this to say.
"If you approach it from a place of skepticism or with the idea that there's some kind of negative or cynical motivation behind it...It's difficult to convince you otherwise. I do think we've done enough on the show and we've delivered a story that people have enjoyed [to warrant fans giving] us the benefit of the doubt. I truly hope that people will see [the Season 7 premiere] and feel it justifies the way we've decided to tell the story."
The final scene cut to a number of different Alexandrians, all on their knees, as Negan's bat Lucille came into frame next to their face, before they cut to Negan as he made his final choice and started bashing the victim's head in. Greg Nicotero, who directed last night's episode, revealed earlier today that all of the other cast members had wrapped when Jeffrey Dean Morgan filmed Negan's kill scene, so none of the cast members know who was killed. Scott M. Gimple teased there may be some hints in the final scene to help eliminate who couldn't have possibly been killed, but he doesn't think "there's a way it puzzle it out definitively." When asked about the themes they will explore in Season 7, Scott M. Gimple had this to say.
"A big part of it is, 'How do you begin again?' The world is not what they thought it was. How do you basically start over in this new world? All of these characters - even the [ones] that weren't in that lineup - are in a position where they will learn the world isn't what they thought it was and it will challenge them as far as how they choose to move forward and who they want to be."
It isn't known when exactly production will begin on Season 7 of The Walking Dead, but filming traditionally begins sometime in May, on location in Atlanta. There is always the possibility of the identity of Negan's victim leaking out before the show debuts, presumably sometime in October on AMC, but we'll have to wait and see. Do you have any theories about who Negan killed in The Walking Dead?