It is one of the most hotly debated cliffhangers in TV history, with fans divided pretty evenly in the love it and loathe it camps. But the star of The Walking Dead appreciates every single reaction to the controversial cliffhanger.
We spoke with Andrew Lincoln, who addressed fan reaction to the ending of season 6 — when the victim on the receiving end of Negan’s barbed wire-covered baseball bat was not revealed. And while Lincoln admits that “obviously we don’t want a divided reaction every time we do something as a season finale because then we’d start to be concerned,” he also likes that people are still talking about it…even while he’s going through customs.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How surprised were you by the negative reactions that some people had to that cliffhanger and having to wait to find out who had died?
ANDREW LINCOLN: The first time I went to Comic-Con and I heard the reaction to the trailer, I realized that we handed the show over to the fans at that point. It was a done deal. And so, there is a sort of symbiotic relationship with the show and the fanbase, which is also part of a bigger conversation in my opinion. We’re just a small part of a much bigger conversation online. And far be it for me to say someone’s right or wrong.
We love the fans. I love the fact that everybody is so engaged with it and so opinionated about it. I think it’s a great energy that we feed off. I mean, obviously we don’t want a divided reaction every time we do something as a season finale because then we’d start to be concerned, but we value and respect everybody’s opinion because without it we wouldn’t be here. I sort of keep out of the online stuff. I don’t do any social media. I don’t read reviews, because you can’t just take the good stuff. You have to take the bad stuff as well, and I don’t want to engage in that.
You also made the point to me once that had the people not known about the event from the comic book, that their reaction to that move at the end may have been very different.
At the heart of it is the fact that we dance this tightrope where we have this beautiful environment originated by Robert Kirkman. And then, we’re trying to do our own thing amongst it, but of course there are bits that we honor. We get this wonderful universe that we live in, but people can skip forward to their favorite bits. And I think the sad thing is that if you go forward too quickly you miss out on some really interesting and detailed storytelling in the process.
I know everybody’s excited. I know that there is a very vocal, a very opinionated, fervent fanbase that know the comics and can’t wait to get to certain characters and places. But we’re doing a different thing. Of course it is the same world and we want to honor it, but at the same time I would urge people not to open the presents on Christmas Eve because they’re going to have such a better day amongst all the other peoples and their faces opening it together.
To that end, how often are people asking you who died? Are you constantly getting that question?
Every time I leave my house. Every time I go through customs. Every time they are checking my belt going through the security, everybody’s going, “Please tell me. Just tell me. Just whisper, who is it? Is it you? Why are you in England at the moment? What are you doing here? Why are you not working or filming?” and all of that. It’s hilarious. Absolutely insane. So, part of me just goes, well, it’s people talking for a considerable amount of time. Whether you love it or hate it, it has kept people talking.
Check out an exclsuive video with TWD’s Jeffrey Dean Morgan above. And for more Walking Dead scoop, follow Dalton on Twitter @DaltonRoss.