The first half of The Walking Dead‘s seventh season has been a controversial one. The opening episode was the most violent of the entire series, leading to some fans complaining that it had gone too far. An initial suggestion that producers had toned down the violence elsewhere in the season was quickly denied, and now star Andrew Lincoln has weighed in on the controversy.
Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, Lincoln admitted that some of the narrative decisions made in the first half of Season 7 may have not been to everyone’s taste. “You don’t want it to be negative, but if you’re endeavoring to make something different and unique and challenging–and hopefully dangerous and new–sometimes it might provoke different reactions from people,” he said. “But I stand by everybody telling this story, particularly the writers and everybody directing it. I think it’s a very brave, bold, and also challenging story that we’re attempting.”
Lincoln went on to explain that the levels of violence early on, plus the slower pace of subsequent episodes, were very deliberate. “I know people want to watch more than one episode a week at a time just because it’s kind of compulsive, the storytelling, and they want to know what happens next,” he said. “And I think sometimes having to wait is a good thing because you get to recap on other things and view it in a different way.
“[But] I would say that this season made a lot more sense once we got the last roll of film in the can for episode 7.16. The brilliant writers that we have take some risks, and I admire them for it. I admire anybody taking risks.”
The Walking Dead Season 7 returns on February 12. Earlier this month, a series of cryptic posters were released. An eighth season is also on the way and is scheduled to start in late 2017 with the show’s 100th episode.