Former The Walking Dead star Chandler Riggs, who played Carl Grimes, says he didn’t know who Negan was going to execute in the season 7 premiere because the series scripted three different versions — including a double death scene for Lauren Cohan’s Maggie and Ross Marquand’s Aaron.
“I didn’t know, no. When I read the script is when I found out,” Riggs answered when asked if he knew the identity of Lucille’s victim during a Sunday Q&A appearance at Fandemic Tour Sacramento.
“Actually, when we got the script, there was three different versions, and three different versions that we shot. Versions where Glenn and Abraham died, and then another version where Maggie and Aaron died, and another one where Aaron and Eugene died,” Riggs said.
“It’s like, three different versions that we had filmed. Obviously, those versions weren’t as intense and as thorough as the real ones — even so, only the editors knew which one was the real one and the actors and crew and whatnot, and not, like, everyone in post-production, like it usually is.”
The Walking Dead’s season 7 premiere resolved a massive season 6 cliffhanger when Abraham (Michael Cudlitz) and Glenn (Steven Yeun) were brutally executed by baseball bat-swinging villain Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), deaths the show took unprecedented steps to conceal by way of alternate ‘kill shots.’
Greg Nicotero, who directed the episode, later told ComicBook.com brief alternate deaths were filmed for all 10 cast members in Negan’s line up — save for Andrew Lincoln — shots that were incorporated into the season 7 premiere as horrific visions experienced by a traumatized Rick Grimes.
One of these shots — in which Negan brings Lucille crashing down upon the head of a pregnant Maggie — leaked online just ahead of the season 7 premiere, a move Morgan said was intentional.
“I did kill shots on the entire cast,” Morgan said on The Howard Stern Show. “I think the plan was, they would leak some stuff beforehand just to throw people off because there are people whose sole purpose is to ruin the show, to spoil what's going to happen on the show.”
Morgan reiterated that point earlier this year, telling BUILD, “Hitting everybody, it wasn't just for the dream sequence... They edited a full version of Maggie being the victim and someone else [Aaron] and it was all a red herring.”
“It was all to possibly be released before our episode aired because there's so many people out there trying to ruin the show,” Morgan explained.
The Walking Dead returns with its ninth season this fall on AMC.