Body doubles, misdirection, secrecy, it sounds like the plot of a Jason Bourne movie, but it’s actually just another day on the set of AMC’s The Walking Dead.
As we near the show’s long-awaited season 7 premiere (Oct. 23), creator Robert Kirkman sat down for an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. The main topic of discussion was, of course, that huge cliffhanger from season 6. So who did Negan kill? Well, AMC went to some crazy lengths in order to keep that a secret.
For one, press didn’t get screeners ahead of this Sunday’s premiere, which is just the beginning of the strict security measures. Kirkman explains:
There has been a lot of tactics used in filming that have been used on films—monitoring actor movement and trying to do things in secret. We’ve employed body doubles in places to make people think that people are in places that they’re not. It’s pretty exciting to try and hide certain things. This is a big season, so we’re not just protecting things that happen in the first episode; there are things that happen in the second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth episode and beyond.
Kirkman says that AMC wants to keep the element of surprise because it provides fans with a better experience.
There was a lot of backlash
Following the conclusion of season 6, fans of The Walking Dead were very upset with how things ended. After Rick and his group get captured, Negan beats one of them to death with his barbwire-covered bat, which he lovingly refers to as Lucille. Unfortunately, the show didn’t reveal who died, leaving fans to wait.
On learning from the viewer backlash, Kirkman said he’s very pleased with where the show’s at and said season 7 will be the best yet.
“Look, message received. The modern audience isn’t too happy with cliffhangers. But we’re still very confident that this is going to be a great season and we know the payoff is going to be worth the wait and that the premiere is going to be really great.”