Chris Hardwick wants fans of “The Walking Dead” to know that the creative team behind the show feels their pain.
While moderating a panel with the producers and cast of the series Friday, Hardwick addressed fan frustration with the AMC drama — at the opening of the panel and again at its end. His last words before closing the panel implored the Comic-Con audience not to lose faith with the show.
“I know there was frustration at the end of Season 6,” said Hardwick, who hosts the zombie drama’s after-show, “Talking Dead.” “I hope you know that we did the best job we can. You guys have to understand, you really have to understand how much these people care about you, how much they care about the fans, how much they care about the show. No one’s ever trying to mess with you. Everyone’s doing the best they can. I hope to see you at the start of Season 7.”
The Season 6 finale saw ratings decline from the previous season’s finale, which hit a high for the show — still the highest rated entertainment series on television. Fans expressed frustration on social media with a midseason cliffhanger in which the character Glenn, played by Steven Yeun, appeared to die, only to be revealed weeks later to be alive after the show’s producers and Yeun refused to confirm the character’s fate. The season finale also featured a cliffhanger that drew fan grumbling, with new villain Negan appearing to kill one of the show’s central characters, but the camera not revealing who the victim was.
Hardwick open the panel by asking executive producer Robert Kirkman whether the season premiere would provide a payoff for frustrated fans.
“No, it’s a big letdown,” Kirkman joked. “It’s absolutely worth the wait. It’s a fantastic premiere to a fantastic season. Everyone’s going to be blown away.”
Star Andrew Lincoln also sought to reassure fans, who will find out in the season premiere which character Negan killed.
“It’s a really shitty start to the season,” he said. “But hang in there guys, because we’re headed to, I think, one of the greatest showdowns we’ve had in this show.”