As Negan’s first victim on The Walking Dead, Abraham’s death was quickly shadowed by Glenn’s death, since Glenn had been a star since the pilot. The premier has been described by Independent as “one of the most distressing hours of television.”

While most viewers have moved on to The Kingdom, it’s important to remember that Abraham’s death was equally important to the overall story. From his final phrase to his first appearance, actor Michael Cudlitz thinks back on his experience as Abraham on The Walking Dead. 

Abraham on The Walking Dead | Photo Credit AMCAbraham on The Walking Dead | Photo Credit AMC

Abraham’s Explicit Sendoff

Abraham’s final words to Negan were “Suck my nuts” as blood ran down his face. In an article for Independent, Cudlitz admits the phrase was scripted, but he had a different take on it.

“I wanted to do one take where I said: ‘Suck my red nuts,’” recalls the actor. “But we didn’t get there. When we knew we’d got it, we just moved on. I almost had to do it again, but they would have to re-set it with all the blood, etc. – it was such a major deal. It will always be in my mind, though: ‘Suck my red nuts.’”

In response to the alternate death scenes that AMC shot, to avoid any leaks or play with the plot, Cudlitz remembers that everyone had their own reaction. In a leaked version, Maggie spits blood on Negan.

“Everything was a hit and then a reaction, followed by a reaction from Jeffery. That was the only way it worked—to be efficient and not create other actions so each of them could be used for getting hit. They could have plugged anyone’s death in there, [so] they could have changed their mind over hiatus.”

Josh McDermitt’s hypothetical death was even more gruesome according to the actor. Unable to even get a word out through the murmurs (which displays Eugene’s avoidance of heroism perfectly), Negan would hit him again without a final word.

Abraham on The Walking Dead | Photo Credit AMCAbraham on The Walking Dead | Photo Credit AMC

Fan Theories That Made It to Set

In addition to the various leaks and options, a few fan theories did make it to set. Actor, Michael Cudlitz liked one particular theory that he had heard at one of many Walking Dead conventions:

“The internet was saying it was everyone but there was a whole Michonne [Danai Gurira] theory that they’d taken all the way back to the beginning of the episode when they’re looking out the back of the van – it was her POV. They also thought she was the only one they didn’t do any coverage on – there was something that kept bringing everything back to Michonne. I loved it because it confused everybody; nobody knew what was going on. I bumped into another guy at one of these conventions and he was 100 percent convinced it was Michonne – he said the whole show was designed so that Rick was in some kind of purgatory and the show was designed to torture him; everything that happens in the show takes something away from Rick. It was intense. I don’t know if that’s being processed by [Robert] Kirkman but this guy had a great theory.”

Overall, Michael Cudlitz brought a great deal to the show, and he will certainly be missed. As a humble actor, he admits that his biggest fear in dying alongside Steven Yuen was the possibility of detracting from Glenn’s death, as he also knew how important it was to the story.

“The deaths are filmed in such a way that they are very different even though they both die in the same way,” admits Cudlitz. “They each have their own weight and their own pace in the narrative. I was very honored, but I was also very hesitant early on because I wanted to make sure it was handled properly.”