‘The Walking Dead’: Here’s What Really Happened to Glenn (and How Fans Reacted)

Michael Traynor as Nicholas and Steven Yeun as Glenn in The Walking Dead
Gene Page/AMC

Spoilers ahead, of course:

When we last saw Glenn (Steven Yeun), he was screaming at the feet of a sea of zombies who were stuffing their mouths with viscera. Of course, whether those were his guts was unclear, which naturally means: cliffhanger.

Fans haven’t been holding their collective breath so much as expelling it nonstop while formulating possible survival situations, dissecting scenes and photos from the set and generally debating what really happened. And last night’s episode, “Heads Up,” wasted no time resolving Glenn’s fate, showing in the first minutes how Nicholas (Michael Traynor) fell on top of him, shielding his body enough to give Glenn a chance to roll under the dumpster and hide until a tin can distracted the hungry herd and they lost interest in their no-longer-visible prey.

Steven Yeun has had to awkwardly stay silent since “Thank You” aired, but got a chance to reflect on the drama that ensued after Glenn’s supposed death in a post-episode message to fans and an appearance on Talking Dead. And he’s clearly glad his character isn’t gone for good: “I think it proves that this world still can take that story of the good guy winning sometimes,” he told Chris Hardwick. “I really like the fact that it’s not this bent of always seeking out something miserable happening on television or something terrible and sulking on that and rather just really accepting the fact that sometimes good guys survive.”

“I have not been out much,” he said of his time on the sidelines. “I frequent a lot of take-out. My apartment looks like a hoarder’s house.”

He posted a simple message to fans on his instagram account:

thank you.

A photo posted by Steven Yeun (@steveyeun) on

Also on Talking Dead, showrunner Scott Gimple defended the uncertainty around Glenn’s fate, which some fans reveled in and others criticized:  “It is a dream come true to provide a collective experience, to provide something that was around when I was a kid, which is you could talk to a stranger about TV. I think that’s been going on again. I think there’s been a lot of conversations about this and that’s been exciting. It makes the world just a little bit smaller.”  He also said he wanted audiences to feel as insecure about what was happening as the on-screen characters: “When people leave the walls, they don’t have cell phones. They aren’t rocking 80’s beepers. You don’t know what happens. You have no idea. When they leave that could be the last time you ever see them, and I think it was important to do a story this year about uncertainty and that the audience would share that uncertainty that the characters had like in Episode 5. Maggie didn’t know what happened to Glenn, and I wanted the audience to be exactly where she was, to feel the exact same way.” Fan reaction was divided:


The Walking Dead has one more chance to mess with fans this year: the midseason finale airs Sunday, Nov. 29 at 9/8c on AMC.