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Here's What Character Death Was the Hardest for The Walking Dead Cast

Image credit: AMC

Not many television characters have it harder than those of The Walking Dead.

They watch family members be beaten to death, are forced to battle other innocent civilians to survive, scrounge and scrap for resources, all while avoiding the walkers in a world forever different from the one they knew.

Most importantly, they constantly lose loved ones along the way.

Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Lauren Cohan, who play lead characters Negan and Maggie, recently sat down to talk about the characters' deaths that hit them the hardest.

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For Cohan, the easy choice was Glenn, played by Steven Yeun.

The episode preceding his death marked Morgan's first appearance in the show as the antagonistic Negan in the Season 6 finale, "Last Day on Earth." That episode left viewers on a cliffhanger for Season 7's "The Day Will Come When You Won't Be." In "Last Day," Negan menacingly walks in front of the protagonists, lined up like lambs to the slaughter. The episode ends with Negan threatening to till one of the characters – all main cast members – with his spiked baseball bat.

Cohan joked that they'd stayed in the clearing where they'd shot the scene all summer, waiting to find out who would die. When the cast found out it would be Glenn, Yeun was the only person who was okay with it, according to Morgan.

Morgan recalled Michael Cudlitz, who played Abraham, had asked if Morgan knew who he'd be killing.

"Steven! It's in the comics!" he said.

Like in the comics, Morgan's Negan bashed Glenn's head in to open Season 7. Cohan mentioned that they had shot several endings to the episode.

"We shot me killing every member of the cast," Morgan said. "Everyone took a hit from the bat that night, just to throw people off."

"I had to hate you for a whole season," Cohan said to Morgan.

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For Morgan, the hardest departure was that of Andrew Lincoln, who played Rick Grimes – the main protagonist for the first decade of the show.

He said that he spent a lot of time talking about the future of the show with Norman Reedus, who plays Daryl. None of them had seen it coming.

"Everyone stepped up and did their part," he said. "It's a different thing now."

Morgan said that one of the best parts of "The Walking Dead" is how good it's been at reinventing itself over the years. When Lincoln left with Rick's death, the focus completely shifted. Like in Season 7, the showrunners proved that they were willing to kill off any character at any time.

Both Cohan and Morgan will be reprising their roles in AMC miniseries spin-off "The Walking Dead: Dead City." It will follow the characters as they try to navigate Manhattan after the zombie apocalypse. Its six episodes are slated to release in 2023.

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