Warning: There are spoilers ahead for “The Walking Dead.”
If you tuned into “The Walking Dead” premiere Sunday evening, there were a lot of little nods to former seasons. One heartbreaking moment you may have missed the first time around was a small gesture from Abraham (Michael Cudlitz) before he was killed by Negan in the season premiere.
While you may have been focused on his face, he also made a peace sign toward Sasha (Sonequa Martin).
Fans of the show who noticed it recalled that the symbolic gesture was one we’ve seen before — both characters have made peace signs to one another throughout the show starting in the season six premiere.
During a conference call with journalists Monday, episode director and executive producer Greg Nicotero shared how that moment came about.
“When we were on set, we wanted to find an opportunity to have [Abraham] speak to [Sasha] without looking at her because we were locked into what we had shot in the season finale, which is, the point of view is locked on Negan,” said Nicotero. “That was something that Michael [Cudlitz] added and it was a beautiful little moment.”
It sounded like the peace sign idea was actually an invention of Cudlitz’s. Nicotero recalled “The Walking Dead” actor reminding him of the moment from the season six premiere between the two.
“At the beginning of season six, the scene where Sasha’s going up the steps to the brownstone, and Abraham walks past and he’s a little drunk, he looks at her and he gives her a peace sign,” said Nicotero. “As soon as he [Cudlitz] said, ‘Hey do you remember in the first episode… ‘ I knew exactly what he was talking about and I was like, ‘Absolutely.'”
Later Monday, Cudlitz expanded on Nicotero’s comments in a separate conference call.
“The peace sign was something that had been with Abraham and Sasha throughout the whole series — a very loaded peace sign,” he said. “We had to find a way for Abraham to connect with Sasha, for him to say goodbye specifically with Sasha, because we had already established in the finale of last year that eye contact was not broken.”
“We could add dialogue, because we didn’t know if he was talking or not, but there was no way for him to literally turn away and address, any way even kind of nod to Sonequa [Sasha] because we had already filmed that,” he added. “Going back into it we had to figure out a way that he could basically tell Sasha that everything was going to be ok and to say goodbye. That was what we came up with. For those who caught it, I think [it was] highly, highly effective.”
It definitely was.
The season seven premiere of “The Walking Dead” is currently available to watch free via AMC here.
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