Glenn was Killed in 'The Walking Dead' TV Show Because He was Killed in the Comic

"There wasn’t really much of a fight on my end," said Steven about his character being killed off.

Brandon Charles - Author

May 16 2024, Published 4:21 p.m. ET

Steven Yeun in Oct. 2016
Source: Getty Images

Comic book characters die. Well, some comic book characters die. They tend not to be the ones in spandex or with super powers. Not everyone is immortal, especially if there are zombies everywhere.

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Glenn Rhee was killed in The Walking Dead television show because the character was killed in The Walking Dead comic book. Though he was a fan favorite for the first six seasons of the incredibly successful AMC television show, he had to go. As it was written (and drawn), so shall it be done.

Steven Yeun and Lauren Cohan at New York Comic Con in Oct. 2014
Source: Getty Images
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Glenn was killed by Negan’s bat Lucille in the Season 7 premiere of ‘The Walking Dead.’

Glenn, played by actor Steven Yeun, was killed in a brutal way in the first episode of Season 7, titled “The Day Will Come When You Won’t Be,” by big baddie Negan. Once the death was included in issue 100 of the comic book the show is based on, the on-screen death was inevitable.

The Walking Dead comic book writer Robert Kirkman is the initial Glenn killer. Speaking to Entertainment Weekly in a piece from October 2016 about the death of Glenn, the writer explained how the comic and TV show are tied together.

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Robert said, "It's just that there's a lot of material that comes from Glenn's death in the comics. 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."

Steven Yeun and Lauren Cohan in Oct. 2012
Source: Getty Images
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Steven was cool with being killed off ‘The Walking Dead.’

In a Jan. 28, 2021, chat on Variety’s "Actors on Actors" series, Steven spoke about being at peace with being taken out of the show. He also explained that he was portrayed as the nice guy on the show, sometimes becoming the one-dimensional compass. "But then there was a point in which I realized that, he almost became a ceiling, because I became an idea over a human character. Then he was more asked to service as the moral compass for the show. And that’s cool, a show needs that. I was happy to service that."

Steven also said, "There wasn’t really much of a fight on my end," and "it was still sad." It was probably the right thing for both the show and the actor.

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Steven Yeun at the 2024 Emmys in Jan. 2024
Source: Getty Images

If Steven wasn’t killed on The Walking Dead in 2016, it’s unknown whether he would have been able to portray any of this subsequent roles. Steven went on to star in the 2018 film Burning, leading to multiple awards and nominations; the 2020 film Minari, which led to an Academy Award nomination; the 2023 television show Beef, which led to an Emmy win; and voice the lead in the animated television show Invincible, which happens to be based on the comic also written by Robert Kirkman.

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