The Walking Dead: Steven Yeun on why Glenn has yet to kill another human
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Glenn is alive! At least for now. So all he has to do is figure out how to help rescue his entire town of Alexandria form the massive zombie herd within the walls. Chief among those needing rescuing is wife Maggie and their unborn baby. In fact, the couple’s pregnancy has been guiding Glenn all season long, and will continue to be his focus moving forward when The Walking Dead returns on Feb. 14.
We chatted with Steven Yeun to get his take on Glenn’s current mindframe and what to expect going forward, including the possibility of an enticing new community known as the Hilltop.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Glenn and Maggie have a baby on the way, which is no small development. So what does this mean for Glenn going forward?
STEVEN YEUN: It’s interesting because people assumed that Glenn didn’t know about the pregnancy, that Maggie would have not told him, and she told Aaron. But Glenn has known about the pregnancy since the very beginning. I’m sure it was something that they knew could happen, and they found out when it did, and that’s the type of bond that Maggie and Glenn have, where they tell each other everything. If you go look back at that moment in the beginning of the season when Glenn says, “You know, you should be here, watch over this place, because we’re not,” I forget Maggie’s exact line, but it alludes to the fact that they’re living for somebody else as well.
If you watch the first eight episodes painting that picture over it, Glenn does everything because of that. Everything Glenn does is because of the kid that’s on the way, be it down to even saving Enid, even pressing her to come back with him. You know, why would he do that? And he mentions Maggie and he mentions that she would have done it, and then he mentions that he is doing it for himself. But I think, ultimately, what he’s trying to get at is that he’s trying to build a world for his kid that can be as close to what he grew up in as possible, that can have hope to be some sort of secured, stable environment.
And part of that is echoing from the last season, the idea that sometimes we can be out there too long, and that we can completely lose ourselves. And to that extent as well, there’s the fact that Glenn has not killed another human being as of yet, and it’s not from a place of Glenn saying, “I can never do that,” but it’s more along the lines of Glenn has not faced a situation where he’s been forced to. And if he isn’t forced to, he chooses not to, because I think for him, he’s trying to preserve a part of himself to say that anything that I do, I want to be able to look my kid in the eye and say, “Hey, I lived this way, and I’m still here. So you can live this way, and you can still be here as well.” I think everything’s kind of a prep for this kid, and so, yeah, I mean, that’s kind of where they’re at right now with the baby.
So I assume that all ties into Glenn’s arc going forward.
I think Glenn’s arc is to continue to fortify that type of lifestyle, so if he makes it back, for it to be about the future, for it to be about the kid, for it to be about making a place for his child, and also becoming the man that should and can raise a child effectively in that environment. What’s been interesting is we’ve seen Glenn grow a lot, and we’re now getting to see Glenn grow as a father, without being one, kind of the precursor of seeing what type of person he is and what he’s made of before it happens.
We know Jesus is showing up soon and he comes from the Hilltop. So, the world is going to start to expand with different communities. What’s Glenn’s take on that, and some of these places in relation to Alexandria?
To all of them right now, their scope of what the world is is kind of centralized and localized within that concept of Alexandria. I think for them, that’s their world right now, and that’s what they’re trying to fortify and make great. But if there are more civilizations out there, that’s a fact that probably for Glenn, based on what type of people they are, will be a positive experience because there are limitations that Alexandria has at this point.
They don’t have a real doctor to birth the child, and maybe another civilization might. They maybe don’t have food as readily available as they would like, because things are so turned upside down now — that all the progress that they thought they made and all the progress that they’re striving for kind of took a couple steps back. So, at this point, it’s rebuilding, and I think for anything new to come in that’s not a threat is probably a welcomed opportunity.
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After we get through this whole terrible situation the group is in right now with the zombie herd inside the walls, is this going to bring whoever survives together, or is it going to sort of continue to divide them?
I think the group is resilient. The group absorbs people, loses people, but at its core, it’s what brought them together. The survival of all those individual members is pretty much from the fact that they found each other, that they have each other. Oftentimes I watch our show, and I’m like, “This is the most unlikely group of people that have ever existed, people that would never be probably friends in real life, but somehow they got brought together and they got to see that all of them are made of some similar strands.” And that’s a concept that’s always going to prevail in this group and in our show, which is that survival is not an individual struggle, but it’s a group struggle.
And you can be lucky and become part of a group such as this, or you might be unlucky and be part of a group that doesn’t care about you or isn’t as functional as this one. The audience is watching a show about the apocalypse, but it’s following a very blessed and successful group, as opposed to following every other group, which is probably decimated by now.