The Walking Dead season 7 has toned down the levels of gore and violence for the remainder of the show. The apparent decision to show off less gruesome imagery comes after fans complained about the violence in the season’s premiere. While the reception for Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) has been generally positive, the sentiment on his killing spree was not as great. As if it weren’t bad enough that the show had just killed off two of its beloved characters.
Toning It Down – The Walking Dead Season 7
The premiere episode in question was one of the series’ most anticipated, after season 6’s cliffhanger ending. Negan had Rick and friends lined up like animals and went about threatening to kill one of them, before making good on his threat. When he finally did – a moment that came almost halfway through The Walking Dead season 7’s first episode – it was a mess. Negan’s baseball bat Lucille did all the work.
The complaints about the gruesome imagery – apparently a step too far, even for The Walking Dead standards – had the producers listening. “We were able to look at the feedback on the level of violence,” EP Gale Anne Hurd said at a NATPE conference Wednesday, adding, “We did tone it down for episodes we were still filming for later on in the season.
“This is not a show that torture porn,” Hurd continued. Even though the show does make use of shock value, there are lines they don’t want to cross. So we can expect that the remainder of The Walking Dead season 7 won’t get that brutal again. However, it doesn’t mean the characters are safe.
A Passionate Fan Base
In a Variety report, AMC President-CEO Josh Sapan commented on how impressed he was by the fan reaction. “When something matters a lot and it has a universality, then you’re bothered by it and you care about it.”
And indeed, since premiering back in 2010, The Walking Dead has become the top-rated show on primetime television. For four years in a row, up through the sixth season, it had the biggest viewership in the 18-49 demographic, according to The Wrap.
The show’s popularity has even seeped into The Talking Dead – a segment following the show where fans, actors, and producers react to, and discuss, the latest episode. Hurd admitted that she thought such a concept would never work, but it has; that’s how passionate the fan base is.
Excited for more of The Walking Dead season 7? The second part premieres on Feb. 12.