Robert Kirkman, who created The Walking Dead comic book and serves as an executive producer of the TV adaptation, recently addressed the divisive season 6 cliffhanger in the letters section of the most recent issue of the comic. “We weren’t trying to game the audience, we weren’t trying to drive you crazy, we certainly weren’t trying to FORCE you to come back for season 7,” wrote Kirkman. “We hope you were planning on doing that and still plan on doing that.”
He even went on to apologize to fans who were “angry” with the way things played out, as new baddie Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) bashed someone’s head in with a barbed-wire covered baseball bat… without revealing the identity of the victim.
But the question remains: Was Kirkman surprised by the negative reaction to the cliffhanger, and does he regret it now in hindsight? Kirkman spoke to EW to answer exactly that.
“We knew that there would be a reaction,” Kirkman tells EW. “We probably didn’t anticipate it would be so big, but cliffhangers are supposed to elicit a reaction. I mean, that’s what they’re designed to do. So, to a certain extent, it did its job. It maybe did its job a little too well, but I think people that have invested in six years of the show may not be happy about that cliffhanger, and I think that’s a completely valid response, and I completely respect their opinion.”
However, don’t think that means Kirkman is rethinking the decision. “I’m not sorry that we did it,” he says. “I don’t regret that we did it, because [showrunner Scott M. Gimple] and I were trying to tell a story, and that’s what we and the entire creative team decided to do, But it is what it is. We’re working that much harder to come back for season 7 and make sure that the payoff is worth the dread of the uncertainty that we’ve given you over the months that we’re on break.”
Only around five more months of uncertainty to go!