Robert Kirkman told us that Glenn had to go on The Walking Dead season 7 premiere. And the person who plays Glenn, Steven Yeun, oddly enough does not disagree. He spoke with EW about the power of the moment and what that does for the other characters moving forward. But that doesn’t really help fans mourning his loss and presumably breaking the record for amount of broken heart emojis sent over social media.
But what if Glenn had not died? What if — unlike issue number 100 of the comic book — he had actually survived on the TV adaptation? What would the fan reaction have been then? We asked Yeun exactly that.
“Maybe some relief,” he says. “I’m sure it would have been a mixed bag. I think that’s been the hardest thing about it all was living in the time that we live where you can hear everybody’s thoughts constantly, and trying to remain neutral or as if you don’t know and keep a secret for a full year. In that regard, it was definitely not a fun time. But it was an interesting thing to study. You can see people’s reactions in real time. You see the gamut of everything. You see the people that wanted him to go, you see the people who didn’t want him to go, you see the people that rationalized why, you saw the people that, at every turn, tried to save him in their minds. It’s cool. It’s the power of the show.”
We also asked Yeun to weigh in on the violent nature of the premiere. Did he think it was too much, as some have argued? “Everyone’s entitled to their opinions,” says Yeun. “And I’m sure that part of it is that our show has somehow snuck into the homes of families, when, for all intents and purposes, our show should not be watched by kids. You look at Game of Thrones as a parallel and they jam thumbs into a dude’s eyes and showed you as he ripped his eyes out. That was pretty gory. For me, I’m not a huge fan of gore myself. But in this case, it was the destruction of something good. I wonder if the impact of the gore was not so much what you saw but what you felt, and so people aren’t able to process what happened. I assure you, we’re not in this to just be like, hey, how many eyeballs can we show exploding out of somebody’s head?”
That brings up an interesting question, however: How many eyeballs can they show exploding out of somebody’s head? Guess we’ll have to stay tuned to find out.
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.