There were a lot of uncomfortable things happening in The Walking Dead’s season 7 premiere. Faces were being turned to mush, a father was almost forced to chop off his son’s arm… you know, stuff like that. But there was also an uncomfortable feeling that one couldn’t escape, a question in the back of one’s mind that you didn’t really want to consider.
And that question was: Is Daryl Dixon to blame for Glenn’s death? After all, if Daryl does not jump out of line to pop Negan for tormenting Rosita, then Glenn is probably accompanying a pregnant Maggie to the Hilltop right now. The man who delivered the deadly blow as Negan, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, said as much when he appeared on Talking Dead. “If it weren’t for Daryl. Glenn would still be alive,” taunted Morgan, which resulted in some good-natured jostling and one-finger salutes from Norman Reedus. So we posed the question to the victim himself and asked Steven Yeun: Should we blame Daryl for Glenn’s death? Yeun’s response was emphatic.
“No,” says Yeun. Of course, Yeun points out there is one person who is sure to blame Daryl and only Daryl for the death. “I think Daryl is a character that will blame himself,” says Yeun. “I think that’s enough for him. Even if it’s not real or even if it’s not accurate or fair, I think he would shoulder that type of burden. It’ll be interesting to see what happens with that and I’m sure Norman will crush it.”
Yeun also spoke about whether it was disturbing to see himself with his eyeball halfway out of his head. “It was pretty messed up,” admits the actor. “It was really terrible to see what it looked like, but it was also so striking. They did such a great job. It helped me be there. That’s the coolest part is the whole team at KNB were able to let me be in a place where I could physically see the thing that’s happened to Glenn and apply that to the moment.”
Of course, his family members had an even harder time watching it. “My cousin texted me, and she was like, ‘I walked out of the room.’ My wife watched it and she was just shocked. It wasn’t the gore that messed her up. It was everything that Glenn is, and it all comes rushing back to you in that moment when you see his broken face. It makes me emotional, too, because I’ve never really been a participant as a viewer. I’ve mostly just been a participant as someone who’s helping to make this show. It was gnarly to watch, even though I knew how everything was going down.”
You can read the full Q&A with Yeun in the new issue of Entertainment Weekly on stands Friday, or buy it here. And subscribe now to receive a free Walking Dead tote! For more Walking Dead scoop, follow me on Twitter @DaltonRoss.