Post Mortems
the walking dead season 7 michael cudlitz interview

The Walking Dead's Michael Cudlitz on That 'Rough' Season 7 Premiere

Warning (for the two of you left who haven’t watched or gone online since Sunday night): The following contains spoilers for the Season 7 premiere of The Walking Dead.

Though the Season 7 premiere of The Walking Dead was hard as hell on us viewers, Michael Cudlitz took it — and Abraham’s fate — like a champ. So he was in good spirits Monday when, during a conference call with reporters, he revealed how long he’d known that his character would be dying along with Glenn, how he supported castmate Steven Yeun and how he went the extra mile to keep secret the identities of Negan’s victims.

TIME OF DEATH | The veteran actor “found out about a year and three months ago” that Abraham was toast, he said. “We filmed the scene about a year ago… so Steven and I have been sitting with [this knowledge] for about a year now.”

The Walking Dead Season 7 Michael Cudlitz InterviewCAN YOU KEEP A SECRET? | Cudlitz and his colleagues sure can. “We spread a rumor that… they filmed everybody’s death scene just in case [contract negotiations went badly],” he chuckled. “All of that was a lie.” About the only people he let in on the secret were his wife and kids. “It would be kinda strange just sleeping in every day in L.A.,” he joked, “when I’m supposed to be in Atlanta [shooting the show].”

THE EXTRA MILE | It wasn’t just the media to whom Cudlitz and Co. told tall tales. “Everywhere I went, I would tell people I was leaving in two days, or I’d just gotten back,” he said. “I went to the guy [in L.A.] who cuts my hair and got my hair dyed, and he said, ‘Aren’t they doing it on the show anymore?’ I told him, ‘If I do it here, I get to stay home an extra day'” with the family.

HIS LAST SCENE | An old pro Cudlitz may be, but shooting Abraham’s death still took a toll. “This is a family, and you’re saying goodbye to people you enjoy working with,” he said. Still, “I have zero regrets.”

HIS SOUVENIR | “I’m gonna keep the mustache for a little while,” the actor said. “I have a really big fan event coming up soon, and it’s kind of a way for the fans to say goodbye. For people who don’t follow the show really closely, that might sound ridiculous, but it’s not. The fan connection with us is very strong.”

SHARING THE SPOTLIGHT | Since Glenn’s death is such a major turning point in the comics, Cudlitz “was actually concerned” about Abraham’s death taking anything away from it. He even told showrunner Scott M. Gimple, “This can not in any way take away from Glenn’s death. Glenn has a much more emotionally cemented place in this show.”

THE BUDDY SYSTEM | Cudlitz also reached out to his fellow casualty. “I knew that for Steven, this would be a very, very different experience than for me, leaving the show,” he said. “You’re talking about an actor who started on the show very young [and] grew up on the show basically. I knew this was going to be hard on him, so I told him, ‘You’re going to go through phases. You’re going to feel good some days, and then it’s going to creep back up on you and you’re going to feel like crap. You just need to just know that it’s all going to be OK.'” I just tried to make sure I was there for him. It was a bonding experience for the two of us.”

How are you doing in the aftermath of the traumatic Season 7 premiere? Hit the comments with your coping strategy.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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38 Comments
  1. Brian says:

    I’m gong to miss Michael & Steven on this show. There were such awesome bad-asses. Just sucks that we lost both their characters last night. Ugh..

  2. Lala says:

    “Warning (for the two of you left who haven’t watched or gone online since Sunday night)…” BUT obviously you saw it fit to post “15 best Glenn moments on the show” moments after the show ended. How is that not a major spoiler… I get that you might not really care/prioritize non-US fans of this website but that was seriously messed up!

    • Normandy says:

      Notice how all the URLs on this site flat out state the spoiler they warn you about? It’s for search engines. The clicks are more important than spoiling their readers.

    • Sarah says:

      I am from outside the US as well, and there was an easy way not to have it spoiled. Don’t go looking. We all knew this website would review the episode and have articles about who died. So why come before it aired in your countr_y if not otherwise find out who it was.

      • Lala says:

        Well that’s a stupid thing to suggest and there is no excuse for TVline to post such a big spoiler within that time frame….In case you are new here, usually they have titles like ‘Spoiler’s best moments on the show’ if they are referring to a character who has just died/left the show…Actually mentioning Glenn in a title, moments after the show aired was a D**K move on their part and I’m sure they realized it that’s why that title/article was then removed!!

    • TLBM says:

      If you are talking about The Talking Dead, that’s an after show that has been coming on after TWD for a while now. Why would anyone watch that and not have watched TWD season premiere? This show is always about the previous TWD that aired. Always has spoilers. Always watch TWD before The Talking Dead, unless you like spoilers.

  3. wrstlgirl says:

    You bet he has a big fan event coming up soon. This weekend is Walker Stalker Con Atlanta and I’ll be there!!! I’m sure Michael and Stevens lines will be ridiculous lmao.

  4. AngelWasHere says:

    I’m going miss both Micheal and Steven. Micheal seems like a fun guy tho. When he showed up with a flask and lit up that cigar on Taking dead I cracked up. That and those one liners make me a fan of him. He’s a great actor too. I wish him well. :)

  5. K.D.S. says:

    “All of that was a lie.”

    But there was a leaked death scene of Maggie? Why does this scene exist, if not everyone filmed one? They showed how everyone was hit by Lucille in 7×01, but Maggies leaked death scene was a little bit longer and showed how she spit blood after the first hit and then she got hit again.

    • Seun Fayiga says:

      Was gonna say this too. How was it a lie when they said they filmed everyone’s death scene? They actually did as we saw footage of it when Rick was thinking about what will happen to them if he fails to do what Negan wanted. They showed everyone get hit by the bat. So everyone’s death scene was actually filmed.
      If these people thought they could actually keep a secret then they are jokers. It was all over the internet that it was either Abraham, Glenn or both that will get the beat.
      So he shouldn’t feel good that he kept a secret because it wasn’t a secret

      • Brigid says:

        IT was? I go on the internet every day and never saw 1 thing written about who dies, not 1. Maybe because I didn’t look for it and didn’t click on articles that were written about TWD. Unlike the rest, I didn’t want to be spoiled and that worked out for me.

      • TJ says:

        Has nothing to do with them keeping secret or not though. Since half the people knew they both died in the comic book and it was posted all over online for months, it was hard not to see it.

    • LaDonna says:

      I’m guessing the longer scene was due to extra footage that they shoot. It got cut to the short flash was saw in 7×01 in editing. As for it all being a lie, I guess it depends on interpretation. I took it to mean that the reason he gave for filming everyone’s death was a lie, because we all saw that they did, in fact shoot everyone getting Lucilled.

  6. Bill says:

    I really liked Abraham, bummer. I had a chance to run into Michael awhile ago and let him know I was a fan by making a Southland comment. Hopefully he pops up again soon on my TV

  7. How could they kill my TV husband — cries

  8. Kevin K says:

    Killing off Abraham really scares me to death. Michael Cudlitz does have an amazing run on TWD not to mention his outstanding performance on Southland.

  9. Aundria C Premo says:

    Abraham is my favorite character. I love Sgt. Ford so much. My husband is an Army combat veteran, and his sense of humor is SO like Abe’s. For me, I expected Glenn’s death, as a comic reader. But I’d hoped sincerely Abe was spared the arrow to fight in All Out War. I’m truly devastated. :(

  10. MM says:

    I’m very sad by Abraham’s death, more so than Glenn’s. It was too graphic for someone you’ve watched grow for several years. Abe was deeply wounded by life, and as I work with vets, I feel he captured all that swagger nicely. Michael Cuddlitz really did an amazing job. Looking forward to his next project.

  11. Makiba says:

    it is time to start planning the RICK KILLS NEGAN PARTIES….the Sunday show that RICK KILLS NEGAN we Walking Dead fans should simultaneously around the world have RICK KILLS NEGAN PARTIES. Have them in homes, bars, clubs, rent a hall wherever people party give a RICK KILLS NEGAN PARTY. Spread the word on twitter, Facebook, Youtube all social media…start planning.

  12. Marc says:

    Dolphin smooth!

  13. Rebecca says:

    You Bastards!!!!! :(

  14. Carla says:

    Wow! The show was powerful! I wept for both characters killed as they both added so much to the family of survivors. I really felt the extreme fear that they all were feeling during Neagan’s show of force and power! The brutality was incredible! It was devastating to me to see Rick break down after always being so strong, yet so sensitive. The acting was well done by all! I could not get the images out of my mind! So yeah, I think this season is gonna be awesome and I cant wait to see how Rick and his family get out of this one!

    • Julia says:

      Couldn’t agree more! Wow wow wow, what an episode with so much emotion. Literally can’t wait to see how the rest of the season unfolds.

  15. Jo Montanee says:

    After reading Mr.Cudlitz’s interviews I mourned his character even more! He is so sweet and a real gentleman.

  16. Abraham—- not cool man not cool !!!!

  17. Christopher says:

    As great of an episode as this was, I’m really disappointed for where it leaves the show after deleting two of the best remaining characters.

    With Carol and Michonne completely defanged over the last couple of arcs and Rick now beaten into submission, along with a kidnapped Daryl, there are no more badass characters in the main group, and the comedy that Abraham brought to the show will be sorely missed.

    Deleting Abraham really makes Eugene a less interesting character because all of his best scenes were with Abraham. And Glen was always a cool character to root for.

    I’m definitely along for the ride until the very end, I just wish they wouldn’t have taken out both characters in one fell swoop. I’m so not looking forward to more screen time for the boring Morgan/Carol arc.

  18. Lisa Coin says:

    I loved the gesture that Michael greeted Jeffrey Dean Morgan with on The Talking Dead! Gonna miss you, Abraham! :( You too, Gleen! :(

  19. Cathy says:

    No “coping” – I’m looking for a counselor! I was shocked how affected I was – while I’m pretty empathetic (can cry at commercials 😊) – I’ve NEVER been so emotionally messed up from a show or movie before (closet thing was Sophies Choice). This gutted me. Will miss these characters so much. 😢😢😢

  20. I am doing just fine with the Premier show. Looking forward to more of the show’s surprises.

  21. Vikki Regnaud says:

    From New Zealand – friends and I were devastated to lose both characters! amazing footage and episode but boy! two main characters gone …… still in mouring …..

  22. Vikki Regnaud says:

    From New Zealand – friends and I devastated to see both characters killed – amazing footage and episode, but two such loveable characters gone? wow! ….. still in mourning

  23. What an impact Abe made to the show. His character was always strong and always a great laugh. He will be missed. Thank you for the life you gave to the character Michael much love…

  24. I cried sunday night was ok Monday during the day it hit me Monday night and ive been upset ever since .im going to miss them both but I`ll be there Sunday Nights watching

  25. Vicky R. says:

    My heart broke to see these two characters on this great series get killed in this manner. It was a Shock from the first blow. Imagine my surprise when I thought Glenn was home free and he Struck the second blow right on Glenn’s head. I’m seventy-one years old and love the Walking Dead. This is a great test of how strong my heart is. To see my favorite character get bludgeoned to death before my eyes was horrible. I hope in time, Nigen gets his just due from Rich. Amen!

  26. James Jeffries says:

    I started watching TWD this past year and hooked. I watched ever season on Netflix till i got caught up. Micheal and Steven was tragic but a good turning point . i would like to know if the group losses Alexandria like they did the prison go does the group come back stronger .

  27. We all knew it was “the end” for one of the main characters and while I thought Abraham might be a likely choice, I was still not expecting the emotional upset that I went through after the fact. I was barely able to comprehend that killing, and while still in shock, they then go and kill of Glen in another horrific scene. A double whammy and I am still not over it. I loved Abraham and Glen on TWD. Will miss them both terribly. Rick will rise again and Negan will die a gloriously hideous death.

  28. Michelle says:

    I am absolutely deveatated after watching this episode. My stomach turned at the sight of Glenn’s horrible death. I’m still trying to cope.