Melissa McBride (Carol) "felt like [she] had dropped into a black hole" when she read the script. Andrew Lincoln (Rick) said he "was so angry and frustrated and [he] felt sick." Lauren Cohan (Maggie) admitted that it was "the hardest day on set that [she's] ever had in [her] life." Lennie James (Morgan) announced that "jaws are gonna drop and people are gonna lose their shit." And Josh McDermitt (Eugene) warned us: "You are screwed. There is no preparing for it. There's no preparing for the finale and what we have left on the show."
Need we say more about the Season 6 finale of The Walking Dead?
Until the extended episode airs on Sunday, April 3, you can watch the sneak peek below and read on for a roundup of everything we know so far — and the one question we won't be able to answer with 100 percent certainty: Who is going to die?
1. Negan's Coming
So we've heard. The villain who makes his first appearance in Issue 100 of the comics, Negan is nothing like The Walking Dead's characters have ever encountered before.
"Negan is kind. Negan is respectful. Negan is psychotic. Negan is ruthless. This is a very nuanced character that has a lot of different shades to him. There's a lot of honor to him. There's a rule system in place. I think he's unlike anything anybody's experienced in 'The Walking Dead' thus far."
What makes his imminent arrival so daunting is that in the comics, he smashes a beloved character's face to bits with his dear baseball bat named Lucille. Now we're about to find out if the showrunners will stick to the original material, or kill someone else, or leave us in the dark entirely.
2. The Season Will Apparently End With A Giant Cliffhanger
Lauren Cohan hinted at the fact that we might get a mind-bending, frustrating feeling from the finale. In an interview with Entertainment Tonight, not only did she drop that "it's the biggest finale [she's] ever seen in television," she left us with this:
"It's the cliff-hangerist episode."
Does this mean we'll get a shot of Negan's bat where the target is excluded from the frame, and we'll have to agonize all summer over theories of who the unfortunate victim could be?
3. The Cast Had The Most Intense Reactions To The Script
As I wrote in the intro, the cast of The Walking Dead took it in turns to admit how intense their reactions had been to the script, ranging from disgust to utter speechlessness.
But once they got their stomachs back under control, the actors also shared their giddy excitement for the finale. Josh McDermitt told ComicBook.com:
"Ultimately I feel like it's the best episode the show's done in just reading the script."
And Lennie James found it hard to contain himself:
"It is one of the greatest introductions of a character that I can remember in any television series, let alone in our television series. It's a phenomenal entrance. I don't want to build it up too much but it's probably [too] late now. It's amazing."
Which makes for the perfect mix of exhilarated anticipation and terrified "no no nos" in our heads.
4. Glenn, Maggie And Even Daryl Have Been Rumored To Die
This article gives you a percentage of chances that a character will die. Highest contenders for the kiss of death courtesy of Lucille are Glenn (85 percent), Maggie (65 percent) and Eugene (75 percent), but Daryl comes in close at 60 percent.
In the comics, it's poor Glenn who gets bludgeoned to death, but Kirkman pointed out that one of the show's specialties was to take us by surprise:
"But something as well known as that moment — maybe it would seem like it wouldn’t be a great thing if we did an exact sort of thing just because people might be expecting it. All I want to say is, read the comic, but you’re not going to know what to expect. Part of the reason that that moment was such a big deal in the comic is the fact that you did not expect that it was going to happen, and so we’re very confident that we found a way to keep it as unexpected in the show as it was in the comic. So it should be just as intense, just as heartbreaking, and just as shocking."
It could also be that Negan forces Rick to kill someone on his own team, asserting his dominance and weakening Rick's leadership in one move.
5. Negan's Arrival Will Induce A Shift In The Show
More than the possibility of breaking our hearts by killing our favourite characters, Negan represents a deep shift in the storyline of The Walking Dead. As Norman Reedus (Daryl) explained to Deadline:
"There are new worlds now. Like others have said, it used to be a man vs. monster type of thing and a morality war going on. Now that morality war is changing. It’s becoming a fine line between who are the good guys and who are the bad guys, which I think is very interesting. Everyone in our group is killing people and that’s something we didn’t really do before. So, that fine line between good and evil is getting blurred."
Will Negan shatter Rick's ideal to stick to what is good?