Andrew Lincoln Responds to Criticism That the Premiere was Too Violent

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The Walking Dead has always been violent, but many say the Season 7 premiere went too far. Series star Andrew Lincoln has an explanation.

The Walking Dead has never shied away from violence and gore. As a show about desperate people living in a zombie apocalypse, it’s par for the course. Still, the show has occasionally pushed the boundaries of what’s acceptable. Especially for a show on basic cable. Many fans and critics have said Sunday’s Season 7 premiere went too far. Glenn’s death was by far the most gruesome thing The Walking Dead has ever shown.

Too Much or a Necessary Evil?

The Walking Dead star Andrew Lincoln (Rick Grimes) has a message for viewers who thought the violence was too much. 

“It’s difficult because I don’t watch the show,” said Lincoln. “I’m allergic to my face so I never watch the show. But I do know that the people who make these decisions are responsible people who take the violence on the show very seriously. And I’ve always maintained that unless the violence advances plot, character or story, it doesn’t belong in the show. From where I was kneeling it was an incredibly brutal episode and I think the intention was to reinforce that this is the most formidable, brutal and terrifying person that the group has ever met to date. And then of course it’s down to personal taste and the taste of the people making the edits.”

Negan's bloody bat, Lucille, on The Walking Dead
Image Credit: AMC

A Happy Family No More

Lincoln also talks about Daryl’s guilt for his role in Negan’s killing of Glenn. Does Rick blame Daryl as well, or is the “we’re all in this together” vibe sticking around? The “all in it together” vibe is no more in the show for the foreseeable future. The way the other characters are processing this night, this grief and this new regime

“The ‘all in it together’ vibe is no more in the show for the foreseeable future,” said Lincoln. “The way the other characters are processing this night, this grief and this new regime is completely unique to them, as grief and trauma is. The only one showing a certain level of defiance still is Maggie — an incredibly powerful and strong moment in this earth-shattering night, particularly for her after losing the love of her life. But the thing that is always in the show is hope. It begins in the first-ever episode and continues in the DNA of every episode subsequent to it, including this one. When Rick says to Maggie, ‘He’s our family too’ [about Glenn], there is still that moment of unity that is prevalent even in this hell of a night, and that tiny moment of unity is something that certainly they can build upon.”

Lord of the Rings Walkers

As a result of the group’s split, the show itself will take on a different dynamic. Different characters are going to be in completely different communities. Rick and the main group will be back in Alexandria. Morgan and Carol are in The Kingdom. Maggie and Sasha will continue making their way to the Hilltop.

“You’re going to see a different show. The way I’ve very glibly tried to encapsulate it is that we’re more sort of Lord of the Rings than Lord of the Flies — a less insular sort of family group and a much more expansive geographical sense of different communities and how they relate to one another,” said Lincoln. “You’re going to see a much bigger vista this year. But I’d like to believe — I may be completely wrong — but I think we’re telling a classical story of what it means to be a hero. And the hero has just met his greatest foe, and he’s going to have to go into the woods for a while, and there may [be] a land without a king and a king without a land for a bit. But the thing that I love about Rick Grimes is that he pulls himself off the canvas even when he has been pummeled to the ground so many times. And either he gets up by himself — he drags himself up — or he is helped up by loved ones around him. It may be a long tunnel, but I think there is a light at the end of it.”

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