How do you follow one of the most divisive cliff-hangers in modern television? According to Walking Dead special effects and make-up guru and episode director Greg Nicotero, you make things go from bad to worse very quickly. After introducing the long anticipated big bad villain of the comics, Nicotero and co. left us not knowing who Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s Negan has actually battered to death with his beloved baseball bat Lucille.
Those who have read the comics may think they have a pretty good idea, but who knows if those pesky TV writers have stuck to the script laid out in Robert Kirkman’s source material. We’ll all be finding out soon enough when series 7 hits screens later this year. What Nicotero promises in an interview with Deadline though, is that the death of a major character at the hands of Negan is just the beginning of what will surely be the darkest and most dangerous series of the horror phenomenon yet.
Nicotero says ‘I think it’s going to get a lot worse before it gets better for our group’. He alludes to the fact that fans of the show finally got to see Rick feeling real fear in the final episode of series 6. Nicotero was responsible for directing that episode and seemed to relish the chance to switch things up by having the usually calm and collected Rick actually get himself and his group in a situation where they are truly out of their depth.
Nicotero also hints at Negan’s increasing prominence in the series going forward, saying that Rick ‘shares the spotlight with Negan in the comic book. Negan now has some ownership over what the show is about.’ Basically, he’s not going to be going anywhere anytime soon and his presence is certainly going to be a major one throughout this season. Could Lucille be getting another workout? Is anyone safe from the barb-wire covered bat?
Nicotero also promises that the world of The Walking Dead is about to expand even more, with this season introducing the ‘new worlds that we’re going to, like the Hilltop, like the Kingdom, like the Sanctuary where Negan lives’. Series 7 will undoubtedly be the biggest yet with the possibility of many new characters in all of these new locations. But bigger clearly doesn’t mean it’s going to be any happier. Nicotero directed the first episode of the new series and his words are a pretty chilling warning about where we’re heading in series 7: ‘I really felt like I dragged a lot of my dearest friends into these really deep, dark places shooting that episode, and it’s been definitely an experience unlike anything that I’ve ever handled before.’
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