Although many people tuned in to see how the season premiere of The Walking Dead would play out (to the tune of 17 million viewers, to be precise), others took issue with the episode and accused it of being unnecessarily violent. Executive producer and director of the episode in question Greg Nicotero spoke to the Wall Street Journal this week about The Walking Dead’s return and while he understands the concerns some fans have, he was also quick to defend the choices made in the season premiere.
Responding to fans who claim they have given up on the show after watching the premiere, Nicotero believes that this can be read as a positive. “That means we have done something to affect these people in a way that they don’t necessarily know how to process. I’m a big ‘Game of Thrones’ fan. I’ve been shocked at the turn of events on that show, but I still love it. I’m still committed to seeing where that story goes. I think it’s a knee-jerk reaction people have, because they care about these characters! If we killed someone and they didn’t care, then that means we haven’t done something to connect people to the characters.
It’s unfortunate that people want to take a negative spin on it. As far as I’m concerned, I’m dedicated to watching a show because I want to see where the story goes next. Glenn is not dead. Abraham is not dead. Their spirit lives on. You have Maggie pregnant with his baby, and you have Sasha and Rosita carrying the memory of Abraham. There’s more story to tell with the result of what happened with those people.”
As for why he and his team decided to make the episode so graphically violent, Nicotero argues that it was all in effort to stay true to Robert Kirkman’s source material and try to capture the same visceral effect:
“It’s intense. A lot of people that read the comic book and graphic novel, these moments have been ingrained in their brain. I remember sitting next to Steven (Yeun) when I read issue # 100 and talking with him and Robert (Kirkman) about it. What struck me about it was it was horrifically graphic and senseless and brutal. I’ve wanted to try and capture those moments.
“The haunting remnants of that episode was how I felt when I read the comic book and experienced that sense of loss. Rick Grimes is unable to stop this. That’s something we’ve never seen in the show. I think the violence and the brutality are a part of it, but seeing our hero completely crushed in front of us is more disturbing than the actual violence.”
For more of Nicotero’s thoughts, including how it was decided that Abraham and Glenn would be Negan’s victims, be sure to check out the full interview here.
(Via: The Wall Street Journal)