It’s easy to say nothing. That’s been the prevailing sentiment when it comes to spoilers for The Walking Dead Season 7 at interviews and events like SDCC and NYCC. No spoilers, no hints, nothing to clue us in on what comes next for our survivors. And instead of spiralling on how they can do this to us, I want to take a look at what we’ve learned from this commitment to secrecy. One: they have been tight lipped as hell, becoming actors 24/7. Two: working for The Walking Dead isn’t just an acting job. It’s a commitment to a change of lifestyle. And three: they respect our reactions and are weaving a story like no other.
People Keep Trying to Get Them To Spill Secrets
Remember that feeling you had just after the Season 6 finale? When after months and months of anticipation, Negan had finally appeared and you were gagging to find out who he killed with Lucille. But it never happened, the end bit at least. The rug was pulled out from underneath all of us and we were left dazed and confused, with no answers.
Now imagine if you ran into Danai Gurira on the street? Or Andrew Lincoln at a restaurant? Or Norman Reedus while out on his motorcycle? You’re going to ask who died.
People have been trying at every opportunity, every interview, to get the actors to slip up. An eyebrow life, sad eyes, or even a grin can be perceived as confirmation or denial. In a way their acting job never ends. With a show like The Walking Dead, that has put AMC on the map and already had a huge following with Robert Kirkman’s comic, you have to protect it 24/7. One slip up could mean the difference between you having a job and never being trusted again in Hollywood.
So Danai smiles when you ask her if she died by Negan’s hand. Andrew Lincoln thanks you for watching the show before going back to his meal. And Norman signs your hat before riding off into the sunset like the badass he is. Nothing gets spilled and they become masters of evasiveness who have been going this for months.
Keeping quiet has become not just easy for the cast and executives on The Walking Dead. It’s become a way of life.
It’s a Change in Lifestyle
We’re flashing back to another The Walking Dead scene that made you want to pull out your hair aka Glenn falling off the dumpster with Nicholas in “Head’s Up.” Most people were divided on whether he’d died or not. Many were shouting that it couldn’t be him and that this was the biggest cop out in The Walking Dead history. While others were vehement that Glenn had died because he was obviously torn up on screen.
While all of this was happening, Steven Yeun was holed up in an apartment, not allowed to move one iota. For the next month this was his home.
Unlike other shows or movies, signing on with The Walking Dead is a commitment to a different lifestyle. You can’t just go out to the store or do some light shopping when you’re bored. Hell, you probably can’t even order your own pizza. You are confined to a specific place, with rules of secrecy that you can not break. You can’t go out, you can’t communicate to your loved ones that you’re coming home for a bit, and you can’t even take a stroll down the street. Instead you become best friends with on-demand and Netflix, and hope that other cast members come and visit your lonely soul.
It isn’t just money that drives these actors to commit themselves to strict guidelines like this. It’s for the love of what they do. They’ve never had a job like this and they know that they’ll probably never have one like it ever again. It’s an opportunity of a lifetime to not only work with great people but to tell a story unlike any other.
They Respect Our Reactions
Whether you loved or hated what happened at the end of Season 6 of The Walking Dead, you were taken on a journey. You fell in love with certain characters, you connected with their woes, and you saw a bit of yourself in their struggle. And it might be hard to fathom the thought that the writers, executives, and actors, respect our reactions.
They aren’t just sitting behind a desk cackling madly. (Well maybe a little cackling. Sometimes you get overjoyed at your own ideas as a writer.) They are crafting a tale made to take you down a road you’ve never been on. They are also preparing themselves for your anger, love, or confusion about what they just put down on paper.
The Walking Dead respects our honest reactions as viewers and sees it a job well done that they must continue with. This is not just their baby, it’s ours, and they see that we care for it just as much as they do. That’s the reason behind the interviews, conventions, events, and The Walking Dead. They want to share their baby with us because they understand that it’s a part of us as much as it is to them.
With all of this in mind, let’s return this favor of respect. Instead of trying to fly drones over sets, hunting down where actors might be staying, or congregating in Georgia, why don’t we respect what The Walking Dead has given us: a compelling story like no other with a group of people that are willing to change the way they live FOR US.
The Walking Dead premieres tonight @ 9/8c on AMC.