The Walking Dead is secretive about what's coming up before every season, but Season 7 is taking it to another level as the people involved in the show go out of their way to protect the identity of who Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) killed. The level of secrecy makes doing press a really hard job for the show's actors and producers, since there's almost nothing they can say about the thing people really want to know — executive producer David Alpert says that fans have even offered him large sums of cash to reveal the victim's identity. But they won't say, which makes for pretty conceptually interesting interviews.
Take, for example, poor Michael Cudlitz, who plays Abraham on AMC's horror megahit. He stopped by TVGuide.com's office for an interview, but he might be the one Negan killed. He might be promoting a show he's not on anymore. But he can't say either way, so he has to talk about the show without saying anything about the show. He has to keep everything a secret until Oct. 23 at 10/9c, after the premiere has aired and Negan's victim has been revealed.
"It's kind of been nice, in a way," Cudlitz says of the secrecy. "It's been quiet, from our standpoint. We can focus on the show, focus on telling really cool stories, and focus on the work."
He says that the coverage of Season 7 has been so focused on speculating on and trying to find out who Negan killed that people have kind of forgotten that there's a whole rest of the season after that.
"There's a whole bunch of other stuff that's gonna go down as the season progresses, and it's intense," he says. "I would say they shouldn't really be so much worried about the first episode as the rest of the season."
Alpert, who also came to TVGuide.com's studio, concurs.
"People are so focused on this initial moment, but the rest of the season is so much more intense than that initial moment," he says. "There's a brick on the accelerator on the car of The Walking Dead, and we're going off the cliff this year."
When asked to describe Season 7 in one word, Alpert went with "gutted." He compares watching this season to how he felt when he saw the Red Wedding on Game of Thrones, where beloved characters died unexpectedly and horribly. The Walking Dead is different in that we know what's coming, but that death still going to be impactful.
"As a fan, it reaffirms my emotional connection to the show," Alpert says.
But don't feel too certain that you know what's going to happen. Cudlitz dropped a little hint that maybe there might be a little nonlinear movement along the timeline in the first episode, since going back and forth in time is one of the things The Walking Dead does under showrunner Scott Gimple (remember the Eastman episode from last season?). Every half-season has a different structure, so fans shouldn't expect that they'll know how the story will unfold based on what they've seen before.
Cudlitz can say that, emotionally, Abraham is at the very beginning of his journey. In Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green), he's found someone with whom he really connects for the first time in his life. And watching Glenn (Steven Yeun) really has him thinking about becoming a father. Abraham is growing up, in a way, and learning how to function in society beyond being a soldier.
And since we had them oncamera, we had to ask: Who did Negan kill?
Cudlitz's answer: "Everybody." Oh yeah? "Next year the show's called Negan. It's pretty awesome."
Alpert's answer: "Nobody."
So there you go. Mystery solved.