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The Walking Dead: The Reason Glenn Was Killed Off In Season 7

In its 11 seasons on television, "The Walking Dead" has nearly perfected the art of brutally butchering its characters. Zombie apocalypse stories need stakes, and killing beloved characters is the easiest way to do that. But in over a decade of content — and multiple spin-offs — only one death has devastated and traumatized viewers in equal fashion. The best man we ever knew, Glenn Rhee (Steven Yeun), has a death so bloody and excessive that it wouldn't seem out of place in a film like "Saw." When there are so many characters Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) could have picked to murder, many may have screamed, "Why Glenn?" to the heavens. But according to the "The Walking Dead" comic creator Robert Kirkman, it had to be Glenn. The fan-favorite character died in the now-iconic issue 100 of the comic series. When it came time to replicate it for the screen, Kirkman knew it couldn't be changed.

"It's just that there's a lot of material that comes from Glenn's death in the comics," Kirkman told Entertainment Weekly in 2016. "And while we do try to change things up to keep things interesting for the audience, and for me, this is one that there's so much that comes from Rick, there's so much with Negan, because that character is someone that he killed, and definitely Maggie is someone that kind of gets put on the trajectory that affects a great number of stories and a great number of characters moving forward."

Glenn was the heart of The Walking Dead

If there is a thematic takeaway in "The Walking Dead," it isn't an easy one. For seven years, Glenn represented the light in the darkness. Though he always supported Rick (Andrew Lincoln) — and his tendency to fly off the handle at times — Glenn always believed in people and doing the right thing. Killing Glenn effectively killed everything good in the world, and is that a world we want to live in? Whether we want it or not, it did cause a wave of repercussions, as Robert Kirkman stated. It entrenches Rick further into the war with Negan, ultimately leading to more deaths and heartache. Maggie (Lauren Cohan) becomes the darkest she's ever been, obsessed with vengeance. Even Steven Yeun believes that Glenn's death would have had the most emotional effect on the audience.

"Personally for me, I think the death in the comic, Robert wrote such a messed up but at the same time incredible way to take something away — to make a story as impactful as it is," Yeun explained on "Talking Dead." And as hard as it was to say goodbye to Yeun, and anyone else who fell in the series, Kirkman's integrity meant doing what's right for the story.

"[I]t's something that we all agree the story needs, and it definitely makes the show better and it makes things heightened and cool," the writer explained to Entertainment Weekly. "It's tough but we gotta do what we gotta do."