The Walking Dead Creator Reveals Glenn's Original Fate

Robert Kirkman explains why Glenn's fate changed during his run on The Walking Dead comic book.

"GLENN DIES NEXT." Those are the words creator Robert Kirkman scribbled in his original notes for The Walking Dead #71, which follows the Atlanta group's struggle with adjusting to life in Alexandria after assimilating into the walled-off community outside Washington, D.C. Glenn quickly settles into the domestic life with his wife Maggie and their adopted daughter Sophia, but the couple clash over his role in the 60-survivor safe-zone: as a supply runner tasked with going outside the walls for supplies. Issues later, in The Walking Dead #74, Glenn accompanies Heath to scavenge supplies and antibiotics after Glenn's predecessor, Scott, was hospitalized with a life-threatening infection.

Before leaving with Heath, Glenn and Maggie have a "no goodbyes" goodbye. "I thought if I didn't say it, you'd have to come back," Maggie tells Glenn, who assures her: "Nothing is going to keep me from coming back to you and Sophia. Nothing. You'll see. I'll be back before you know it." 


"For whatever reason, I'd earmarked Glenn for death by this point," Kirkman writes in the Cutting Room Floor feature included in the colorized reprint version of The Walking Dead Deluxe #71. "He just seemed like the character most ripe, whose death would lead to the most story... but Glenn would most certainly NOT die next as I would continue to change my mind... again... and again."

Issue #75 picks up with Glenn and Heath trapped on a rooftop above an alleyway swarming with walkers. The two supply runners watch in horror as a group of raiders called The Scavengers push one of their own men into the zombie horde as a distraction, leaving him to be eaten alive as the others escape. While rummaging through a pharmacy, Heath shoots a roamer before it can bite Glenn — who survives the issue. But that wasn't always the plan.

"I had actually been planning to kill Glenn in issue #75, but felt that I had more to do with the guy," Kirkman told Daily Dead in a 2012 interview. "I found myself trying to shoehorn that into the storyline back when I was in the 60's of the run. I plot what's going to happen in the book, which people are going to die, and how they are going to die, but every now and then I throw myself a curve ball and change my mind."

One of those curve balls comes in The Walking Dead #100 when — spoiler alert — Negan bludgeons Glenn to death with his barbwire-wrapped baseball bat.

"The idea behind [Glenn's] death was just to portray it as such a random event. Negan is so dangerous because he can do anything to anyone at any time. To me it is terrifying to have a guy standing in front of you saying 'I'm going to kill one of you.. I don't know which one it's going to be and I don't really care,'" Kirkman said. "That's horrifying and having Rick experience that and being powerless in front of this guy is really going to fundamentally change the book in huge ways. I think that makes Glenn one of the more important characters in the life of the series."

The Walking Dead Deluxe #71 is on sale now from Image Comics.