‘The Walking Dead’ Cast Lied About That Big Death for a Year

Photo Credit: AMC
October 26th, 2016

The Walking Dead dealt fans a fatal blow this weekend when it returned for season seven. The massive cast, which is up to 21 series regulars, lost some fan favorites to new villain Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), both literally and metaphorically. While the cast had maintained in interviews and with fans that they hadn’t shot more than what was seen in the season six cliffhanger and that they didn’t know who would make it out alive, it turns out that the entire cast was lying to protect the secrecy of the show.

Note: If you haven’t yet watched the season premiere of The Walking Dead, there are spoilers below. Turn back now if you’ve managed to avoid them.

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Before the season seven premiere, fans were split on their speculation about just who would die from Negan’s trusty Lucille and they exploded on twitter in record numbers when the victims were revealed. The speculation had been running for the six months since the season six finale, after which the cast had insisted they didn’t know who would die and they hadn’t even filmed the full scene yet. One of Lucille’s victims was the first to spill the beans that the cast had actually been lying to protect the show.

Michael Cudlitz was the first actor to find his character meeting Lucille and he revealed to the press this week that the cast knew exactly who was getting the bat because they had actually filmed the scene nearly a year ago. In fact, he and Steven Yeun both learned of their characters’ fates long before filming it as well. He explained to The Hollywood Reporter, “I found out about a year and three months ago when they told me they were going to take me and Steven out at the end of season six… They were talking about doing it at the end of season six or the start of season seven; [showrunner] Scott M. Gimple wasn't sure how to structure it for the greatest impact.”

When the season six finale aired and the cast began fielding questions from the press and fans about the massive cliffhanger - 11 series regulars on their knees at Negan’s mercy, waiting for the first strike from his baseball bat Lucille - they agreed to all tell the press they hadn’t yet filmed the deaths to protect the show from any leaks.

The Walking Dead has a history of fans spoiling plot secrets and AMC has gone out of its way to try and put a stop to it. They even threatened legal action against one fansite earlier this year, utilized body doubles to stand in for actors on set as season seven began filming, and shot as much in studio as possible to avoid fans getting spoiled.

Cudlitz noted that by all agreeing on the same lie, the cast did have at least a little bit of peace in between the season six finale and season seven premiere, “We were able to spread the rumor that not even the cast knew what was going to happen. We said we filmed every cast [death] scene just in case and were redoing contacts. All that was a lie. It allowed us not to defend or hide who was dead for five months, which was great.”

Now you know not to trust everything actors and producers say in interviews if you didn’t already. In the age of spoilers popping up all over the internet though, can you really blame the group for trying their best to protect one another and the story?

Executive producer Greg Nicotero promised that the deaths of the season premiere act as a huge turning point for the show. The deaths of two beloved characters at the hands of their new enemy is sure to propel the group forward, but it could also serve to break the spirit of some of those who have already done so much to survive in a walker-filled world.

You can find out how those deaths will impact the survivors of Negan’s cruelty when The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9PM on AMC.

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