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Robert Kirkman Addresses The Season 6 Cliffhanger

It’s been a month since The Walking Dead ended with the question, “Who did Negan kill?!?!?!!” Following the episode showrunner Scott Gimple asked fans to “give us the benefit of the doubt that it’s all part of a plan, all part of a story. I truly hope that people see [the Season 7 premiere] and they feel it justifies the way we’ve decided to tell the story. That is the way it is in our minds. I know what [the Season 7 premiere] is and I feel that it delivers on what [the Season 6 finale] sets up.”

Quick reminder of how fans reacted:

Now Walking Dead creator/our boss Robert Kirkman has chimed in on the episode’s cliffhanger. In the Letter Hacks section of our latest issue (#154) Robert responds to a fan’s comment that the ending was “CRAZY.” Below is an excerpt of his letter (read the ENTIRE response in The Walking Dead Issue 154).

“Okay, the Season 6 finale has certainly caused a fervor online. EVERYONE IS TALKING ABOUT IT. Some people love it. Some people are indifferent. Some people HATE it. We weren’t trying to game the audience, we weren’t trying to drive you crazy, and we certainly weren’t trying to FORCE you to come back for Season 7…we hope you were always planning on doing that and still plan on doing that.”


“The speculation, the frustration, the possibilities, the theories…honestly, in my mind…that stuff is FUN. I honestly feel like that’s something fun for the fans to do during the break. I know people are angry over this, but that wasn’t our intent. The idea was that after 6 seasons of a show, we wanted to stay on your mind and give you something to talk about.”


“But seriously, everyone on TWD team wanted to do something cool. We wanted to do something different and we did it to change things up, get people excited and keep this show on your mind. For some of you, that effort backfired and you’re angry. And for that I’m sorry. The only thing I can PROMISE you is the season 7 premiere is going to be awesome. And when viewed as a two-part episode (the same way EVERY SEASON of Star Trek: The Next Generation ended with the first half of a two-part episode that was a cliffhanger…), it’s going to be a pretty awesome ride.”

Robert Kirkman

What did YOU think of Robert’s response? Are you more excited for the Season 7 premiere?? Let us know in the comments! Be sure to pick up Issue #154 to read the ENTIRE response in the Letter Hacks!

  1. Michelle Herrin May 6, 2016 at 9:26 am - Reply

    Wow! I love to hear Kirkman speak. I’m excited! I’m hopeful. I don’t want to lose anyone of our original Atlanta group, but we know we may. I remember Kirkman saying earlier that he likes the opportunity to rewrite his comics; make them better. I believe he has been quite successful. I trust him and Scott A. Gimple with it now.

  2. elephant.droid May 6, 2016 at 11:14 am - Reply

    Just don’t drag it out through the whole episode 1 of Season 7 like they have done in the past with other things. When you come back for episode 7.1…have the answer to who was killed and go from there. Otherwise, it isn’t fun.

  3. joshsemail7 May 6, 2016 at 11:58 am - Reply

    said it before and will say it again, it should have been done like in the comics.

    negan kills someone, gives his speech to rick after he tells negan he’s going to kill him, walks away, says “ta-ta” then it cuts to black. *credits roll*
    leave the audience shocked and stunned and waiting to see what rick and co do in retaliation next season, and DONT make the audience wait until freaking October to see who’s snuffed it.

  4. BarbaLucy May 6, 2016 at 12:15 pm - Reply

    We are still talking about it. If we knew who he bashed, the thrill of the chase would be over. Cliffhangers are supposed to be suspenseful. I think the most interesting part of the whole deal is the comments people are leaving. It created quite a stir and it still does.
    What I REALLY like is that Kirkman is a total cad and a liar so whatever he says, take with a grain of salt. I love that about him!

    • BASTET. May 7, 2016 at 9:34 am - Reply

      Yeah, but we get cliffhangers all the time… this cliffhanger is not really the reason, although it is the cause.

      • seanmathews1 May 10, 2016 at 12:11 pm - Reply

        The problem is that it was not the right time to do a cliffhanger. The moment has lost its impact.

        Rather than going in to the summer heartbroken that a major character has died, we go in to the summer indifferent.

        Whoever dies will now be marginalized because the show will be on a week later after the reveal and its business as usual.

        Or…. this was deliberate because they aren’t killing off a “major” character and are instead opting for one of the secondary characters. I consider Sasha and Aaron to be in this category.

        We are expecting Glenn or Maggie in a reversal. They aren’t doing it, so instead they choose someone lesser and hide the outrage quickly and effectively because there’s another episode right away. Instead of having a summer of rage over that, we now go in not knowing who it is.

        Really, I think it was poorly executed. I respect and admire Kirkman, but this time, I don’t think they got it right and I don’t but the excuse.

  5. mattbeef May 6, 2016 at 1:48 pm - Reply

    People still talk about Hiroshima. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t a disaster.

    I think the fans are more concerned with the integrity of the story and how it is communicated and portrayed in comparison to the near perfection of issue 100. Seems like the writers were more concerned with likes, tweets, shares, and viral show articles.

    I think the fans think the show runners should be focused on creating an experience for the current viewers watching live. The writers appeared to be thinking about it from the perspective of someone binge watching both episodes on DVD in 3 years.

    It’s still a shithanger, and all the ensuing water cooler talk in the world doesn’t justify it artistically.

  6. Drewnasty May 6, 2016 at 2:16 pm - Reply

    The “cliffhanger” was, still is, and always will be, complete bullshit. You teased and teased and teased for half a season that a price would have to be payed for Rick and co’s actions. To not even come close to delivering on that tease is a slap in the face to those who all watched and made the show the success that it is. To that affect, TWD success has made Gimple and co have so much hubris to think that whatever they do people will universally love. I don’t buy their explanation then or now. They were more concerned with saying “gotcha”! then telling a compelling story. I was on the edge of my seat for all of the finale and to have such an unsatisfactory ending, it took all the wind out of my sails and left such a bad taste in my mouth.

    • DemonIcex May 6, 2016 at 8:43 pm - Reply

      Exactly what I think. Cliffhangers can be good, but this whole season has been a big build-up with no payoff. How could they have made such a good last 10 min. in the episode, then end with that and think :” Yep… That’s it… People will love this!”

    • MWspiak May 8, 2016 at 5:57 pm - Reply

      I’m totally with you. It bothers me how good this TV series should have been and what it turned into. I’m not bashing its still amazing but it could have been the best TV series of all time and it never will be because of the pit falls it has for multiple episodes at a time. They had such a great back half of season 6 and they ruined it by not showing the greatest moment in the comic book. I’m not even mad just disgusted.

      Another thing on the show as a whole. I think a big issue is they don’t have anyone that questions decisions in the writers room. Gimple, Kirkman and Nicotero need someone to tell them no to stupid things that happen in the show. The Glenn under the dumpster fake out was stupid…nobody believed he was dead. The thing where Daryl fell in the woods and had to scramble for his crossbow was dumb too…dont show me for 6 season how much of a BA Daryl Dixon is just to try to make him look stupid.

  7. Gotabbass May 6, 2016 at 2:38 pm - Reply

    Uninterested in the response.
    Not excited about the season 7 premier.
    It was a TERRIBLE idea to do the cliffhanger.
    Ruined Negan’s entrance. His moment was killing Glenn. Not the soliloquy before the act. The act itself. Can’t redo it.
    After one month, I remain pissed off about it.
    Addressing it with the company line only reminds me about how angry I was the night of the finale.

    • DemonIcex May 6, 2016 at 8:46 pm - Reply

      How will they be able to recreate the tension the last 10 min. built-up in a season premiere. This was build-up from the moment we heard about Negan, culminating with those last 10 min. with his intro. When they’ll show the act in the season premiere we will all just be : “Oh well, there it is.” I don’t think it will be have the same impact than when we felt all the despair the whole Rick and friends showed in the finale.

      • LOLWUTAREYOUDOIN May 8, 2016 at 11:21 pm - Reply

        That’s honestly the worst part of all this. There is no way to “make it right.” This was the moment of all moments to do correctly. It’s so incredibly dumbfounding that they had this amazing scene on paper, which would have translated so awesomely, only to have it taken away and dangled like a carrot in front of the audience as if we’re a bunch of donkies. People spent all of the back half of the season debating who Negan would kill. We didn’t want to spend an additional six month doing that when Negan was teased for five god damn months.

  8. Gotabbass May 6, 2016 at 2:41 pm - Reply

    Also don’t give a shit about Star Trek 25 years ago. One show that always had split finale arcs? The fact that you had to dig that far back to find a single series shows how outdated an idea it is.

  9. CORAL May 6, 2016 at 6:01 pm - Reply

    I get why they did it and it’s a really brave act from Kirkman to speak about it, but I still do not agree with it. They seem more interested in the social medias erupting and having people talk about it rather than telling a good story. Issue 100 was one of my favorites and will always be and seeing it be disrespected like that was insulting. But kudos to Kirkman for going out loud with this!

  10. JonAuc99 May 6, 2016 at 6:39 pm - Reply

    If and as of now I don’t intend to, but if I ever do watch another walking dead: I will torrent it to watch so this bull crap will NOT help line your pockets anymore. That huge let down on a season “finally” was the one that broke the camel’s back. I wasted soooo much time sitting through all the filler episodes throughout the 6 seasons to have the series turn to crap. First the ultra cheesie Glenn fake out then have a season lead up to ONE thing…. That never happenes. Not buying the what he says, just sounds like damage control. See ya TWD, it was a good 5 years. The 6th one turned to shit.

  11. asanders333 May 6, 2016 at 9:12 pm - Reply

    I think it’s a brilliant episode and I admire his patience. It must be killing him to know that he left all kinds of hints in the last episode but no one seems to be putting them together. Watch the last few seconds of the episode in slow motion before it cuts to black. Then re-watch the last 10 minutes of the episode, using the slow mo button at certain times, to see if you notice a pattern. (sidenote: It helps to have the lights turned off. ) Don’t let impatience get the best of you. #TWDRules #RobertKirkmanRocks

  12. BIG BROTHER May 7, 2016 at 9:03 am - Reply

    If they do something like showing the Saviors point of view, and end off with Negan killing something, I’m going to kill myself.

  13. BASTET. May 7, 2016 at 9:10 am - Reply

    I think mattbeef said it best when he mentioned the integrity of the story. Why anybody, including Kirkman & Gimple, aren’t getting that just doesn’t make any sense to me. Damage is done, can’t imagine ANYTHING that can be done to fix it (including making Daryl the victim), I’m still pissed about it, and withdrawal symptoms are nothing this summer compared to last summer’s. THERE IS NOTHING FUN OR COOL ABOUT THAT!

  14. MWspiak May 8, 2016 at 12:18 pm - Reply

    I don’t need an explanation and idc why they did it. all i will say is i care less about TWD then I did a year or two ago, Take that however you want. I will watch season 7 at some point but i’m not dying to see what happens.

  15. Jadedjen May 8, 2016 at 3:36 pm - Reply

    It was a cheap gimmick. They totally shit on their strong fan base, cheapen in the moment, the cast, the story, the series. The cliffhangers that TWD used to do were fun. This was no cliffhanger. Just a bull shit shot, as if they really needed to stir up talk, excitement, speculation, and fun in their series. They had more than half the world in their hands. And they totally disrespected and laughed in our faces. There is nothing they can do at this point to bring back the fun and fear in this series. There is nothing they can do to “make up” for the shittiest, cheapest stunt pulled on a loyal base. I’ve even pulled out of going to the Chicago Walker stalker con this month. Waist of time and money. And no way will i take part in justifying their poor judgment.

  16. Phantompesst May 8, 2016 at 3:45 pm - Reply

    @ “Addressing it with the company line” It infuriated me that everyone one from TWD who commented said the same thing, it bother me that they had a script for describing screwing up Negan’s entrance after teasing it for months. When a corporation has a screw up (like a bad batch of DVR’s) the lawyers present a script to the agents who will be taking calls from angry customers. And no one is allowed to tell the truth because the company will be sued for knowing/marketing a product they know has issues. That company mumbo jumbo about “The story ends with Rick being defeated and the new story starts with who Negan will kill” was another huge disappointment and a corporate trick. Negan’s ICONIC entrance was ruined, I don’t believe this was Kirkman’s or even Gimple’s idea, they heard valid arguments and signed off on it. This is not Lori, T-Dog, Dale dying, this is someone we’ve loved for 6 season’s. So to have them killed on Oct 9th and move on with the story a week later seems unfair. Let me grieve over the summer and let me be eager to see how TF will cope in the fall.

  17. LOLWUTAREYOUDOIN May 8, 2016 at 8:38 pm - Reply

    This isn’t even an apology – it’s a watered down version of him trying to justify the cliffhanger (that lame ass Star Trek comparison, though). Kirkman is so full of it, lol. Does he not realize that people would have been talking about the finale even if they’d shown the death? The only difference being that it would have been a more satisfying experience for the viewer. Did people stop talking about Game of Thrones after the Red Wedding? Did people stop talking about Dexter after the Rita cliffhanger? Did anyone lose interest after the Empire Strikes Back cliffhanger (another lame comparison, courtesy of Greg Nicotero)? I have a hard time believing that the guy who wrote one of the most iconic comic book moments can’t understand this.

    I am genuinely curious as to whether he and the other writers really believe that this was the best way to do this. Of course, they could never say otherwise in a public setting, but I guess it doesn’t matter. My main fear now is whether these types of cliffhangers are going to become the norm. Honestly, them messing up Negan’s entrance completely shattered my trust in the writers, because I thought it’d be impossible for them to screw it up. It’s amazing how a 15 second mistake has completely killed my desire to watch this show.

    The Walking Dead: the only TV show that routinely treats its viewers like morons because they don’t trust people enough to continue watching the most watched show on cable TV without generating social media hype.

    • patton May 9, 2016 at 4:41 pm - Reply

      So well stated and thank you. I will not watch the premiere oct 9 or whatever date it fall on. I wont tune in and I wish others would not either. Wait on rerun. They are hoping for record breaking rating, which they will get but not because I participated. Just dont like being treated this way as a fan

  18. uglydoll May 9, 2016 at 4:52 am - Reply

    What did YOU think of Robert’s response? Garbage he shouldn’t be apologizing at all let the people cry
    about it . as a creator you gotta hold your guns on what you do an let them bitch an bitch while they keep coming back … Negan said it best “I just slid my dick down your throat and you thanked me for it.”

  19. Greta May 9, 2016 at 11:49 am - Reply

    In the tradition of Alfred Hitchcock we are left to suffer and I love it!!! Excellent work again Mr. Kirkman.

  20. blackjack13 May 9, 2016 at 6:42 pm - Reply

    As far as I’m concerned the biggest problem and what bothers me most is that they really believe people are pissed off because they can’t wait to find out who died. The reason people are pissed is because they completely destroyed the most intense, shocking, heartbreaking and iconic moment in the comics to this day. This moment could have had people talking all summer and not in a negative way. This could have put The Walking Dead so far ahead of other shows it’d be hard for anything to catch up. All they had to do was not fuck this up. They failed. They aren’t going to be able to bring back the shock and horror for people. It’s over and just a letdown.

  21. BarbaLucy May 10, 2016 at 2:17 pm - Reply

    Now if I were he, which I am not, I would have filmed the scene multiple times making different people Lucille’s target, then read all the hype, listen to people complain and speculate and make my decision who to off as late into the filming of the 7th season as possible. They have the money and resources to do this. Why not let us squirm and speculate all through the summer.

  22. bjaxx87 May 18, 2016 at 4:22 am - Reply

    I don’t know… I think the ending especially sucked for comic readers. We all KNEW Negan was going to kill a beloved character and we all speculated who it’s gonna be since season 5. So still having no answer after season 6 was a little fucked up.

    (I mean, that “Michonne-POV-theory” makes a whole lot of sense, but who knows…)

    And damn, the execution lacked the despair and intensity of the original scene… Seeing that well known character getting hit again and again, slowly losing what once was a face, it was extremely shocking and disturbing. You can’t replace that with some sound effects… Even if you show this in season 7 it won’t be the same since the tension got lost over time.

    Oh, and waiting for a BluRay release to get Negan’s famous swearing also sucks, but I guess that’s AMC’s fault. Will this continue through the whole series? Whenever Negan says a ‘fuckidy-fuck’ it’s gonna be exclusive to the disc release? Or worse, will he just completely stop saying it? Makes you feel like watching a censored version of TWD.

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