‘Walking Dead’ Premiere Director Calls Fans Threats to Quit Watching ‘A Knee-Jerk Reaction’

“The show still has a lot to offer,” Greg Nicotero says

(Spoiler alert: Do not read on if you haven’t watch the season 7 premiere of “The Walking Dead”)

“Walking Dead” producer Greg Nicotero, who directed the Season 7 premiere, thinks fans’ threats to stop watching the show after the gruesome deaths of two beloved characters are a “knee-jerk reaction.”

“I would say that [their threat] means we have done something to affect these people in a way that they don’t necessarily know how to process,” he told TV Line. “Listen… I’ve been shocked at the turns of events on [‘Game of Thrones’]. But you know what? I still love it. And I’m still committed to seeing where that story goes. So I think it’s a knee-jerk reaction that people have, because they care about these characters.

He added, “That’s a tribute to every single actor on our show that has perished. It’s unfortunate that people want to take a negative spin on it… [and especially] if that’s really what’s going to happen [and they’ll stop watching], because the show still has a lot to offer!”

After the episode aired on Sunday, fans took to Twitter to express their horror about the brutal deaths of Glenn (Steven Yeun) and Abraham (Michael Cudlitz) — and many even said they would quit watching.

And yes, the hour-long episode was violent, admitted Nicotero, but that’s because the scene was graphic and disturbing in the book  and he “wanted to try and capture that.”

“It was important to launch us into this season by showing the extent of what Negan is capable of doing, because that drives so much of where the series is going from here on in,” added Nicotero. “Our hero, completely crushed… is more disturbing than the actual violence.”

Nicotero also explained why he thought both Abraham and Glenn had to die, saying “We really needed to drive Rick and Negan’s story throughout the season, and we felt that one death would do the trick, but the second death — Glenn’s death — really propels us into a very different direction. [That second murder is] really about Negan laying down the law. So [it] has a lot to do with Rick’s future story, Maggie’s future story and certainly Daryl’s future story.”