‘Walking Dead’s’ Greg Nicotero: Negan ‘Is Now 100 Percent in Control’

“This is my Scorsese, ‘Goodfellas,’ ‘Taxi Driver,’ or Brian De Palma’s ‘Untouchables,'” executive producer says of series’ grisly Season 7 premiere

walking dead negan lineup
Gene Page/AMC

(Spoiler alert: Do not keep reading if you have not seen the Season 7 premiere of “The Walking Dead”)

“The Walking Dead” Season 7 premiere contained not one but two of the most gruesome deaths the show has ever portrayed, which has set a new benchmark in the mind of executive producer Greg Nicotero.

“This is my Scorsese, ‘Goodfellas,’ ‘Taxi Driver,’ or Brian De Palma‘s ‘Untouchables,’” Nicotero said on a conference call Monday morning. “There’s so much of that if you look at those movies. I think that’s much more where our world is because it’s about the balance of power and shift of power. And Negan is now 100 percent in control.”

Nicotero also explained why he and the show’s writers felt it necessary for not only Abraham (Michael Cudlitz) but also Glenn (Steven Yeun) to die at Negan’s hands.

“We felt that one death would do the trick but the second death, Glenn’s death, really propelled us into a very different direction,” he said. “It’s really about Negan sort of laying down the law … It made for a more rich overall story arc for a lot of these other characters.”

Nicotero also fielded a question about why the episode went a full 20 minutes before it was revealed who had died, considering all the bad fan blood following the Season 6 cliffhanger.

“It takes about 10 or 12 minutes into the episode when Rick is feeling lost and feels defeated on top of the RV and everything starts flashing back to him” he said. “So the episode is 100 percent designed for you to go on this journey with Rick.”

“The Walking Dead” airs Sundays at 9 p.m./8c on AMC.