'The Walking Dead' Boss Talks Glenn's Near-Death, Rick's Reunion and 'Psychotic' Wolves

by Leanne Aguilera 3:20 PM PDT, March 30, 2015
Photo: AMC

WARNING: If you have not watched Sunday's season five finale of The Walking Dead, grab your walking stick and peacefully leave now. For everyone else, stay clear of the walker boobie traps and let's go!

We're still reeling over that mind-blowing season of The Walking Dead!

AMC truly raised the action, the stakes, and the drama on their wildly addicting post-apocalyptic series this year. And after last night's jaw-dropping season five finale, we're already counting down the days for the companion series Fear the Walking Dead to premiere this summer.

To help you process the most shocking moments from Sunday's special 90-minute episode, ETonline got on the phone with The Walking Dead's executive producer Gale Anne Hurd to discuss season six's "killer" new threats, Rick's full-circle evolution with Morgan, Glenn's latest near-death experience, and much more!

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ETonline: Rick's (Andrew Lincoln) evolution this season was like an emotional rollercoaster ride. How close did he come to finally losing it?
GAH: I think Rick is the kind of character who has flirted with losing it a few times. Like after Lori died and he was talking on the phone with people who were dead, including her. But I think that now, after everything that they’ve been through -- after almost losing their lives in Terminus -- he's not going to let that happen again. And he really is someone who sees everything very much in black and white now. He was a character living within shades of grey and as a contrast Shane was the character who saw everything in black and white. That's something that I think that Rick now realizes -- the world has changed. He's not an evil guy and I think that's the difference. Shane, I think, was lacking in morality. Rick will always do things for everyone in the community, not just for his selfish goals.

Given Glenn's (Steven Yeun) fate in the comics, many fans – us included – thought that Sunday's finale was going to be the character's demise. What was behind the decision to let both Glenn and Nicholas live?
GAH: You were pretty nervous, right? But we wouldn't let him go out like that. I think that the journey that each character has taken from the original group this season has been incredibly interesting. Glenn especially when you consider who he's up against here. The guy who has blood on his hands with Noah's death, you could understand his impulse to kill him. At the same time both Beth's death and Noah's would probably have been in vain because they were trying to do the right thing. And the right thing in this case is not to be the judge, jury, and executioner, but to protect yourself. To do what you can to not kill someone else.

It seems like this is Carol's (Melissa McBride) world and we're all just living in it. What do you think is the biggest difference between season one Carol and season five Carol?
GAH: Carol has had the longest and one of the most compelling journeys. Season five Carol has learned from everything that Carol has experience prior to the zombie apocalypse, and through it she's learned to be the warrior herself. Our group wouldn’t have survived Terminus if she hadn’t saved them. But she's also built up a wall. So on one hand there are these incredible qualities of survival -- not only of her own survival but of the group -- but when you see her talk to Sam, it's going to be very difficult to see her let new people in. To feel what she felt for Sophia, for Lizzie, and for Mika, she doesn’t want to expose herself and become that vulnerable again. Especially for people who have shown that they don’t have what it takes to survive in this world.

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Photo: AMC

At the end of the finale, Michonne (Danai Gurira) decided to take her sword off the wall and firmly strap it back over her shoulder. What did this scene signify to the viewers?
GAH: I think that as much as Michonne loved that sense of relief that she was finally in a safe zone, there was probably a part of her who was thinking this couldn't last. But she was always loyal to Rick, always. Once she saw what had happened, not only between Rick and Pete, but also the fact that a walker had now entered the safe zone, that was probably a portent of things to come. In this case I think forewarned is forearmed could not be more true.

Fans finally saw the reunion between Morgan (Lennie James) and Rick but it was bittersweet when he arrived in Alexandria to witness one of Rick's darkest moments. What was behind the decision to bring them together at that moment?
GAH: Well it really is full circle. Morgan, the character that Rick encountered long with Michonne and Carl in "Clear" in the fourth season was a crazy guy. He was trying to kill them, he was standing on the roof. And now, he's a guy who has eschewed that kind of violence. He's become a Zen warrior who resorts to that as the very last possibility, not the first. And then to see, without knowing anything behind how they got to that point, Rick essentially killed Pete execution style -- he knows that Rick is not the same guy that he was when they last saw each other. But I think at the same time, Morgan is the kind of character who is going to want to know what happened, and how did they got to that point. He clearly likes to listen as we saw when he was dealing with The Wolves.

Should fans be worries about The Wolves? It's hard to tell where they rank on the scale from The Governor to the people of Terminus.
GAH: I think fans have learned that they should always be worried. [Laughs] I think we've seen that The Wolves are something entirely new. They really have some pretty well-developed strategies that work, both in terms of the boobie traps they've set up, and the fact that they truly seem to be psychotic killers. This is beyond the Terminus who turned into cannibals to survive. They seem to enjoy torture and they seem to have no remaining humanity.

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Photo: AMC

You're currently in the midst of a Kickstarter campaign for the Mankiller documentary about the first female-elected Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation. Why do you think this story is such an important one to tell?
GAH: If there could have been a woman who would have been the best possible leader in a zombie apocalypse, it would have been the late Wilma Mankiller, the chief of the Cherokee tribe. I think it's so important to honor her legacy and to make sure that she' not forgotten to history. She was the head of state of the sovereign nation within The United States and yet very people know her name or what she accomplished. I think that her leadership is a style of bringing everyone together of having goals and achieving them and is one that we can all follow.

Why should Walking Dead fans be eager to participate in this Kickstarter campaign?
GAH: You can go shooting with Merle! Michael Rooker owns a firing range in Los Angeles and he will take you. It's all about gun safety, but also having some fun safely. You can have spaghetti dinner with Hershel, Scott Wilson. You can have cookies with Carol, Melissa McBride. Everyone needs to go there and check them out and there are all different levels of rewards for various pledges.

What did you think of The Walking Dead's season five finale? What are you hoping to see from Rick and Co. in season six? Shout out your thoughts in the comments below or chat with @LeanneAguilera on Twitter!