It's far from a secret that The Walking Dead ended its sixth season with a monumental cliffhanger.
The closing moments the show's 83rd overall episode introduced the highly anticipated villainy of Negan but kept viewers on their toes as he chose a victim from Rick's group. The final shots were from the victim's perspective as Lucille reigned down hell upon their skull and bashed someone into oblivion.
Although fans will have to wait until this weekend to find out who Negan killed, it turns out the crew behind the series have known who would die for quite some time.
The Walking Dead executive producer and VFX guru Greg Nicotero opened up to ComicBook.com about when and how Negan's victim was selected for The Walking Dead's Season 6 finale/Season 7 premiere. Unfortunately, they didn't just play eeny-meeny-miney-moe with a list of names before starting production this year.
"That decision was made last year before we ever even got into the finale," Nicotero said. "That story, that was all sort of broken within the writers room. If you look back at the history of our show, the death of every single character has provided us with an opportunity to change the direction of the show. Even as far back as Shane and Lori and Hershel and Tyreese and Beth. The show is inherently different after each one of those people was killed. In this instance, the introduction of Negan and the death of this person, it really does provide us with a pretty substantial course change because that's really what the season was leading up to last year."
The kill was largely brought upon the group as a result of Rick's actions late in the season. The former Sheriff and now leader of Alexandria thought his group could handle any threat presented to them but instead lead his group to trouble.
"Listen, Rick Grimes thinks he's got a handle in things," Nicotero said. "He thinks he knows what's in store for him out there. He thinks he knows that he can take on anybody that comes in his way. The truth of the matter is he can't and he doesn't. The fact that Rick was overly confident because he underestimated the world and the people out there, they pay for it. It's a really unique opportunity to change the direction of the show because our world just got bigger and that's something that we talked a lot about last season. How excited we were to be able to open up the world into the Hilltop and the Sanctuary and the Kingdom and get a much larger view of what the universe of The Walking Dead consists of."
The Walking Dead returns for its seventh season on October 23 at 9 p.m. ET on AMC. For complete coverage and insider info all season long, follow @BrandonDavisBD on Twitter.