In the wake of the shocking cliffhanger of The Walking Dead‘s season finale, we analyzed the mysterious final scene in hopes of uncovering the truth of who Negan beat to death with his beloved baseball bat, Lucille. Here’s why the popular Glenn theory could be right.
When asked about the final shots of The Walking Dead season finale, executive producers Scott Gimple and Robert Kirkman both admitted that the scene was filled with details that fans would analyze to try to determine which character was on the receiving end of Negan’s deadly blows. “It’s a bit impressionistic,” Gimple told Chris Hardwick on The Talking Dead, “There’s a bit of jumping around there, because we knew that people would be Zapruder-ing it.”
“As they should,” added Kirkman. “There’s some hints there. I’ll say that.”
In the days that followed, fans have pulled apart the heart-pounding “eeny meeny miny moe” sequence in search for answers. The leading theory points to GLENN. Below, we comprehensively break down each piece of evidence that supports this argument. And no, we won’t be spoiling what happens in The Walking Dead comics, whatever impact that might have on what might happen in the show.
The order of Negan’s rhyme and the position of each character are key.
As Negan goes through his “eeny meeny miny moe” rhyme for Rick and his people, the editing intentionally confuses which person receives each part of the rhyme. But at the start, it appears Negan’s order goes: Rick, then Maggie, Abraham, Michonne, Daryl, Sasha, Aaron, Carl, Eugene, Rosita, and Glenn. If Negan sticks to that order, and you pace it out with the way he’s walking, it would land him on either end of the lineup: on the far left (Glenn) or the far right (Eugene).
Right before Negan swings the bat, he says: “Anybody moves, anybody says anything, cut the boy’s other eye out and feed it to his father.” This probably rules out Carl and Rick as the targets, but also — Negan turns his body to the right as he mentions them. That would suggest Carl and Rick are to the left of the victim. Since no one is on Eugene’s left, that would imply Negan is on the other side, standing in front of Glenn.
For a more visual breakdown of this scene’s blocking, check out the below video. The details aren’t airtight — for example, the video takes a few liberties in assuming Negan’s words don’t always line up with the face shown in the shot. And warning, it does spoil the comics. But the earlier section lays out the order in a very clear way:
The episode actually shows Glenn’s point of view several times.
Throughout the finale episode, we see a recurring POV shot from a character inside the Saviors’ van. As the episode opens, this shot is out of focus, with only the lens flare visible as the headlights shine through holes in the van’s door. As this shot returns, however, we can see more details, including someone’s fingers covering the light coming through the window. That would imply whoever sees this, is sitting behind the others.
We later see four characters emerge from the van: Daryl (closest to the door), Michonne (behind him), Rosita (next to Michonne), and Glenn (behind them all). Glenn’s position in the far back of the van suggests these recurring shots were from his point of view.
If the entire episode was framed by what was seen by Glenn’s eyes, it follows that the closing image would stick to that pattern.
The audio during the hit seems to include Glenn and Maggie’s voices.
Maggie actress Lauren Cohan hinted that the audio mix we hear during Negan’s kill shot was kept under strict secrecy. “Here’s a good piece of intel,” Cohan told The Huffington Post. “We shot the scene, and then individually went into a [sound] booth privately to record audio, so I don’t know. Nobody knows what anybody else said.”
If this is true, the audio could contain hints for who dies. Listen closely:
This audio clip has been distorted and boosted in some areas — the other characters’ screams are less clear in the original audio. Also, it mistakenly claims Glenn is saying “Mag–” when it’s actually Negan saying “…look at that.” But we don’t hear Glenn’s voice anywhere else, and those screams do sound a bit like Maggie crying out her husband’s name. (Michonne, Sasha, and Rosita’s voices have lower registers.)
The foreground and background of the POV shot could only be seen from Glenn’s angle.
There are also a few clues in Glenn’s positioning. When Negan’s first swing comes down, we briefly see a pile of leaves and two stones in the foreground in front of the victim. A wide shot shows two similar stones in front of Glenn. Also, Glenn is the only person in the lineup who wouldn’t see the RV in the background behind Negan. The final POV shot shows only the dark treeline — no RV.
Of course, Glenn probably would see additional Saviors and their cars in the background, so it’s also likely that the director shot several takes without any extras in the background. (In fact, it’s possible that the show shot several alternate endings to keep the secret.)
This video analyzes the foreground and background by boosting the lighting of the shots:
Glenn is framed with Lucille differently than the other characters.
If you look closely at the montage of closeups during Negan’s rhyme, you’ll notice that most of the shots are close-ups looking down at the character, with Lucille in the lower part of the frame. They’re from Negan’s perspective as he passes in front of them. But not Glenn. His is from a side angle, as Lucille comes in from the upper-right.
Why is Glenn’s shot different? Well, without spoiling anything for non-comic readers, this frame looks extremely similar to the final panel of Negan’s rhyme in the comics, when he lands on his target. Considering how closely this scene mirrors Negan’s dialogue from the source material, it might also have taken inspiration the specific visual choices.
Either way, it’s clear Glenn is being singled out in this montage. And it’s possible that this specific frame will return in the Season 7 premiere, so that the show can tell us the clues were there all along.
The sixth season depicted Glenn as a “Christ figure.”
Close watchers of season 6 will have noticed a few unmistakable parallels between Glenn and Jesus Christ. After apparently dying in episode 3, he miraculously resurrects in episode 7, transforming into a saintly mentor to Enid. In episode 9, he helps her understand the meaning of a bible verse on the wall of the chapel, “Faith without works is dead,” while the shots frame him within a cross. Later that episode, he sacrifices himself to draw walkers away from Maggie.
That brings us to this episode’s recurring POV shots, which show light coming through the back of the van in the form of a lens flare cross (see above). If it’s true that all of these shots are from Glenn’s eyes, it could be the show dropping hints that Glenn will follow in the footsteps of another famous figure who sacrificed himself to pay for the sins of others.
Glenn recently crossed a line that foreshadowed his death.
One of the most crucial scenes that potentially foreshadowed Glenn’s fate came in episode 12. As Rick and his crew raid Negan’s satellite compound, Glenn and Heath sneak into a room to stab two Saviors in their sleep. Glenn ends up murdering both men — his first on-screen human kills. Considering the Saviors are totally defenseless in the moment, the deaths feel particularly cold-blooded, especially for Glenn, who until this point has been the show’s moral conscience.
The episode doesn’t shy away from the weight of the moment, either. An earlier scene shows Glenn and Heath dwelling on the numbing effect killing a person can have on the killer. Even in the zombie apocalypse, premeditated murder is depicted as a crime against nature.
The smoking gun of this foreshadowing arrives the moment after Glenn stabs the second sleeping Savior. On the wall above the victim’s bed is a collage of photos showing people with their heads bashed-in. Glenn looks at the photos in horror. While it could be an attempt justify this Savior’s death — clearly he’s a sick monster who deserved to die — it also feels like Glenn is looking into the future at his own death.
Like the horror movie trope in which characters who lose their virginity end up getting killed, Glenn popping his “murder” cherry could result in his own violent end.
Steven Yeun is shooting a movie during the production schedule for season 7.
The least conspiracy-theory based evidence of Glenn’s death is something as boring as scheduling conflicts. The Walking Dead will resume production on its seventh season in May and shoot through the summer, but Steven Yeun is shooting a new movie called Mayhem during part of that time. The show’s Atlanta-based production would make commute back and forth to Serbia, where Mayhem is being shot, difficult to say the least.
It’s not uncommon for TV shows to work around the schedules of cast members who book movie roles, but these overlapping production schedules could mean Yeun is moving on with his career.
Are you convinced, or do you think another character is at the receiving end of Lucille? Check out our Walking Dead videos on our channel, and keep an eye out for our breakdown of the finale episode. This debate is sure to keep us occupied until the show comes back in October.