The Walking Dead’s season six finale aired a full month ago, but its cliffhanger ending—who did Negan pick as his victim?—proved so controversial that fans are still fuming about it. Now, TWD comic writer and creator Robert Kirkman has addressed the issue, although it still might not assuage those fans who felt cheated by the finale.
For context, that tantalizing yet completely infuriating announcement/excuse came at the end of a long missive penned by the co-creator in the newest issue of the Walking Dead comic. In it, he begins:
Okay, the season 6 finale has certainly caused a fervor online. EVERYONE IS TALKING ABOUT IT. Some people love it.
[Ed’s note: This is not true.]
Some are indifferent.
[Ed’s note: People who don’t watch Walking Dead.]
Some people HATE it.
[Ed’s note: People who watch Walking Dead.]
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 doing that.
[Ed’s note: Almost certainly true, because TWD’s ratings are insane, and a cliffhanger was absolutely not needed to keep people watching.]
We did want you to talk. And talk you are.
[Ed’s note: ...about how much we hate it.]
Kirkman goes on to explain that he and the other show makers wanted the audience to keep talking about the series over its summer hiatus. [Ed’s note: As if knowing which main character died would somehow not be worth discussing.]
To be fair, most of the letter is an apology of sorts to viewers enraged by the finale—as well as an acknowledgement that it was a deliberate publicity stunt to “change things up, get people excited, and keep this show on your mind” that “backfired.” On the plus side, though:
The only thing I can PROMISE you is that 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 also a cliffhanger ...), it’s going to be a pretty awesome ride. And every minute of the season 6 finale was important and was setting something up that you probably won’t see coming.
[Ed’s note: If it’s the death of a major character, we’ll probably see it coming, mainly because we were told it was going to happen in the season 6 finale all last year.]
(You can read the entire letter here.) I mean, what else is he going to say at this point? The inclusion of “probably” gives him an out in case everyone does, actually, already have the whole damn thing figured out. And angry viewers are not going to be awaiting part two with thrilled excitement, as Kirkman apparently hopes they will. They’ll be feeling something else entirely, to quote io9's own Rob Bricken:
I won’t be spending the next six months wondering which character Negan might have killed. I’ll be thinking about this finale and being irritated as shit. I’m guessing I won’t be alone.
Season 7 of The Walking Dead kicks off in October.