How 'The Walking Dead' Is Keeping Negan's Victim a Secret

9:15 AM 6/17/2016

by Lesley Goldberg

With diehard fans hovering around the set and using drones to uncover spoilers, AMC is going to great lengths to protect the big reveal. Plus THR takes a look at the other burning questions heading into season seven.

The Walking Dead - Season 6, Episode 16 -Still 3-Group Shot- H 2016
Courtesy of Gene Page/AMC

Who did Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) kill in the season six finale of AMC's The Walking Dead?

That's the biggest burning question for the zombie drama heading into October's season seven premiere. With filming already underway in Atlanta, AMC is going to greater lengths than usual to protect the massive reveal.

Season six ended with Carl (Chandler Riggs), Rick (Andrew Lincoln), Michonne (Danai Gurira), Eugene (Josh McDermitt), Maggie (Lauren Cohan), Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green), Daryl (Norman Reedus), Arron (Ross Marquand), Rosita (Christian Serratos), Abraham (Michael Cudlitz) and Glenn (Steven Yeun) all lined up before the charming villain and his barbed-wire-covered bat, Lucille, with Negan taking a deadly swing at one of them.

Sources tell THR that each of the 11 castmembers involved have already filmed a death scene. The Walking Dead producers and the episode director will then work with the show's editors and pick the character who does indeed die.

Season seven of The Walking Dead will pick up immediately with Negan's deadly swing, and as Morgan said, "You'll see who was at the end of that bat and what happened from there," while series creator/EP Robert Kirkman has said that Negan's victim is "beloved to everyone." For those who haven't read the comics on which the series is based [spoilers ahead], the landmark 100th issue sees Negan beat Glenn to death with Lucille.

The extra measures come as diehard fans continue to line Atlanta locations looking for a glimpse of their favorite stars and an early preview of what to expect from the new season — or to be outright spoiled with whom Negan killed. Some have gone so far as to use drones to capture images from production — something that showrunner Scott M. Gimple struggles with.

"With the advent of drones, it can become such a game of cat and mouse that as far as sneaking a peek at the actors walking to set, we want to just keep our actors safe and the people who might be looking safe — like [when they're] in the street," he told THR last summer. For her part, co-star Martin-Green noted that some actors have to be covered in hoods or moved around the locations in costume in order to protect who's still alive on the series. "Sometimes you can tell a specific story point based on what someone's wearing or what their makeup looks like — so in that case, we do what we can to cover in order to protect the story," she said last year.

Below, THR takes a look at some of the other big burning questions heading into season seven of The Walking Dead with the trailer and premiere date expected to be announced in July at Comic-Con. 

  • Who is playing Ezekiel?

    The Kingdom, first hinted at in the penultimate episode of season six, is overseen by a George Clinton-like leader named Ezekiel, a former zookeeper who watches over the community with Shiva, his pet tiger. The residents of the Kingdom dress in protective armor — and serve as knights to the so-called "King Ezekiel" at a transformed high school. "If we do see the Kingdom, it'll be a big reveal and it will be another new world to inhabit and explore," said Gimple, who would neither confirm nor deny the story point. 

  • How will the show handle a tiger?

    On the question of whether the series would feature a tiger, the outlook seems to be good. "Can we have a real tiger? We can have a lot of things and people will have to wait and see," Gimple said of possibly bring Ezekiel's pet tiger, Shiva, to life. "But if I were just watching the show, I'd want to see that tiger." Added EP Gregg Nicotero: "We've started those conversations and I'm very confident in the path that we've chosen in terms of how we're going to execute that, but I don't want to get into it too much."

  • How will Negan's colorful language be handled?

    The season six finale stopped short of featuring Negan's F-bomb-riddled vocabulary depicted in the comics, with the season six DVD set likely to feature his full profanity-laden speech. But could AMC include an F-bomb here and there? Fellow basic cabler FX did it on American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson … 

  • Can Maggie and her unborn baby survive?

    A sickly looking Maggie was last seen kneeling before Negan and on the verge of a miscarriage. Asked specifically if there could be more than one death in the season premiere, Nicotero stressed that "nobody looked really good in those last few moments" of the season finale. That includes Daryl, who is already nursing a gunshot wound to the shoulder.  

  • Will Carol and Morgan become a romantic pair?

    Melissa McBride's Carol was last seen headed with Morgan to what likely is the Kingdom, with season seven poised to explore how they move on from the exchange that saw Morgan break his no-kill policy in order to save Carol. We're also going to bet that Carol and Morgan may become a romantic pairing in what would be a big remix from the comics, where Michonne and Morgan hook up.