The end of season 6 of The Walking Dead has been a divisive one. Many fans knew Negan was coming and had their theories as to who would be on the receiving end of Lucille, his barbed-wired weapon of choice. In the comic book, Glenn was on the receiving end. Many thought that with Negan’s introduction we would get to see who it would be. Unfortunately, the season ended with a cliffhanger as we didn’t get to see who was on the receiving end, which led to outrage on the Internet.
Kirkman was recently asked about the backlash of the cliffhanger and if we should expect another for the end of season 7.
“We’re certainly not going to end Season 7 on a cliffhanger. It was definitely a weird thing to see people angry over a cliffhanger. I could see being disappointed in a cliffhanger. But I get a lot of tweets where people are like, ‘It’s just a ratings grab.’ People watch the show. People are gonna watch the show. I feel like, if anything, [the cliffhanger] was a storytelling risk that could have cost us viewers. So it was definitely a storytelling decision.”
Kirkman also commented that pretty much almost every issue of every comic book ever mad ends in a cliffhanger, which makes us eager to go and buy the next issue. As a result, he doesn’t have a problem with cliffhangers.
“I’ve always been pushing for more cliffhangers on the show just because every single issue of the comic is a cliffhanger of some kind. Sometimes a really intense one, sometimes … it’s to a lesser degree. But it’s always something that leaves you wanting more and leaves you going ‘Oh my god, this next issue needs to come sooner.’ That’s what we’re always trying to do.”
While he is actively involved in the creative decision, Kirkman hasn’t written an episode for the show since season 5. The reason for backing off that part of the creative process is because the show is following the comic book more closely than it has in the past.
“One of the reasons I started writing less scripts is we’re following the comic a little bit more closely. So I feel like my voice is still in there even though I’m not actually writing scripts.”
Even if he’s not directly responsible for the current content from a screenwriting perspective, he has complete trust in the cast and crew producing the show and continuing his vision on the small screen.
“I think that [showrunner Scott M. Gimple] and everybody working on the show … do an amazing job. And for the show to be as exciting and compelling and engaging as it is after six years, going into our seventh season, is a huge achievement in and of itself. I’m just really proud of it. Really proud to be involved with it.”
The Walking Dead returns for Season 7 Sunday, October 23rd at 9:00 PM ET on AMC.