'The Walking Dead': Did You Miss This Big Clue About Glenn's Fate?
Last night's "Walking Dead" was all about Morgan, but many minds were still on Glenn Rhee, devoured by zombies in last week's installment… unless he wasn't.
Debate rages on about the true fate of the season one veteran, with many speculating that we were watching Nicholas, not Glenn, get eviscerated by a horde of zombies. How Glenn survives from there? Your guess is as good as our dumpster-diving theory, but specifics aside, there's enough doubt in the air to continue questioning Glenn's apparent demise.
But the most recent episode of the series, "Here's Not Here," contained what some are considering a death knell for Glenn. Watch the opening credits, and you won't find Steven Yeun's name anywhere.
From season four onward, Yeun has received third-billing in the opening credits of "Walking Dead," behind only Andrew Lincoln (Rick) and Norman Reedus (Daryl). This week, he's gone completely, without a trace. Is that the clearest sign yet that Glenn's actually dead?
No, this is probably the clearest sign:
But is the opening credits omission the next clearest sign? After all, Eastman would probably espouse a philosophy along the lines of: "All opening credits are precious." But in reality, that's not necessarily true.
Opening credits protocol is fairly loose from show to show, dependent on negotiations between a number of people and organizations including agents, networks, the Screen Actors Guild, the Writer's Guild of America, and more. There is no one hard-and-fast rule about how credits must be presented. Therefore, if Glenn is still alive on the show, he doesn't have to be in the credits, as long as it's allowable within the confines of AMC and Yeun's and whoever-else-is-involved's deal, or otherwise worked out separately between those parties.
What's more, "Walking Dead" has been inconsistent about removing actors from the opening credits in the wake of their character's deaths. Indeed, it's more rare for an actor to leave the opening credits immediately after their deathisode, than to stick around for a little while.
A few cases in point:
Jeffrey DeMunn, killed off with two episodes left in season two, was still part of the credits for the remainder of the year. Jon Bernthal, killed in the penultimate episode of season two, was still part of the credits in the subsequent finale.
Sarah Wayne Callies, shockingly written out in episode four of season three, was part of the main cast for every single subsequent episode of the season. Granted, she came back as Ghost Lori from time to time, but those appearances were few and far between.
Even Scott Wilson and David Morrissey, Hershel and the Governor respectively, were still part of the credits in the midseason four premiere, following their deaths in the midseason four finale. They were wiped from the record from that moment forward.
Jump ahead one full season from the Hershel/Governor deaths, and you'll find a very similar example in Emily Kinney and Chad Coleman, who played Beth and Tyreese respectively. Kinney remained in the credits right alongside Coleman in the midseason five premiere, even though she had died in the midseason five finale. But both of them were removed in the episode following "What Happened and What's Going On," the Tyreese deathisode that included one final appearance from Ghost Beth.
All of that is a longwinded way of saying this: The opening credits sequence is a versatile beast, just in general terms, but also very specifically with "Walking Dead." More often than not, actors who get killed off the show are allowed to hang out and take their time before having to leave their credits placement behind for good.
In other words, the fact that Steven Yeun's name did not appear on last night's "Walking Dead" would appear to be a big point in the "Glenn is dead" column, on the face of it. But there's an equally valid argument that the omission only raises more suspicion for the fans who believe he's alive — that it's an intentional misdirect on the part of the "Walking Dead" creative team, a group that's already been very cagey about Glenn's "death."
So don't take Yeun's omission from the credits as a sign of the Glennpocalypse. The debate about his fate rages on.