The Walking Dead tried to have its cake and eat it by Sunday’s Season 7 premiere cashing out not one, but two series regulars; one in line with the comic, one intended to throw us off. Now, creator Robert Kirkman explains why AMC’s Walking Dead opted to follow the comic so closely, noting that too much story was lost otherwise.

Here’s your full spoiler warning for Sunday’s Walking Dead deaths, but beyond reverence to the comics, fans had to wonder why the AMC rendition felt it necessary to give Glenn his comic death after all, especially as so many had predicted it occurring. As Robert Kirkman explained to Entertainment Weekly, the death was less about Glenn as a character, and more preserving the Season 7 arcs of Maggie, Rick and Negan:

It’s just that there’s a lot of material that comes from Glenn’s death in the comics. And while we do try to change things up to keep things interesting for the audience, and for me, this is one that there’s so much that comes from Rick, there’s so much with Negan, because that character is someone that he killed, and definitely Maggie is someone that kind of gets put on the trajectory that affects a great number of stories and a great number of characters moving forward. So it was kind of essential that that part of the scene at least remained intact, unfortunately.

We did discuss options. At the end of the day, we were like, pulling the thread on this sweater just pulls too many things apart and it’s too difficult to get back on that trajectory without that death.

That’s … not a great justification, honestly, between the inherent laziness against coming up with new or modified arcs for a different Walking Dead medium, or the effect of killing off the series’ only Asian character for the enrichment of three white ones. It’s one thing to exercise carte blanche of killing characters in comics, and another to repeat such an upsetting death to avoid diverging from source material.

No doubt Kirkman and The Walking Dead will be addressing both Sunday’s deaths and the six-month cliffhanger before that for some time, but does Kirkman have a point about preserving the transformative grief from Glenn’s death?

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