Steven Yeun Reflects on His ‘Walking Dead’ Demise: ‘I Was Always in Service to This Larger Narrative’
The zombie apocalypse that hit television in 2010 was very, very good for Steven Yeun.
To say that "The Walking Dead" was Yeun's breakout role would be an understatement so powerful it could revive a corpse.
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Yeun had a handful of onscreen credits to his name before he was cast in the role of Glenn Rhee on the AMC series. The character immediately proved to be central to the series as he first rescued Andrew Lincoln's Rick Grimes from zombies in the second episode of the series, making the character part of the group that formed the core of the series.
Although Glenn was just a pizza delivery boy before the events of the series, he quickly became a fan favorite after showing a willingness to risk his life to protect others. It didn't hurt either that he was allowed to star in a legendary season 1 scene in which he races out of a ruined Atlanta in a fire-red Dodge Challenger to distract the zombies and hide the group's escape.
“I think it was a huge blessing for me to get 'Walking Dead' because not only did I meet incredible people who taught me some incredible ways to control life - to be professional, to be an actor, one Take job seriously - but also just submit to a beast like 'Walking Dead', ”Yeun told Variety.
"The Walking Dead" rose in popularity from the start and became the top rated show on television for several seasons. Although the show has a large cast, Yeun has been an integral part of that success. The character Glenn went from being a brave young member of the show's central group to a true action hero and sex symbol.
Fans of "Walking Dead" could hardly name a more intense scene than that in the third season, "When the Dead Come Knocking", in which Glenn is tied to a chair and locked in a room where a zombie is going on. The scene ends with Glenn somehow managing to kill her and uttering a very real and raw primal scream.
Additionally, fans also looked at Glenn's tender side after Yeun and costar Lauren Cohan, who plays Maggie Greene, became the first couple in the zombie apocalypse. The two characters forged a love affair in season 2 and managed to stick together through any number of life and death situations.
All the affection and admiration of the fans came from the incredibly strong backlash when Glenn was gruesomely killed (it was a baseball bat wrapped in barbed wire) at the season seven premiere in October 2016.
The death was not entirely unexpected, as the character dies at the same moment in the comic series that inspired "The Walking Dead". But the show's fans were still not too happy about it, and some even vowed to watch the show from that moment on. Still, Yeun doesn't have any hard feelings. Seven seasons in a world-class primetime series left him more confident about his skills and more determined to commit to the job.
"Leaving [the show] when I had any strange feelings was mostly because I hadn't taken the time to understand who I was and maybe my voice and what I was saying," says Yeun. “I was always somehow in the service of this larger narrative. And in a way, that reflects how I grew up in my early years. I think i'm done I think I want to try the other side. "
(Pictured: Steven Yeun and Lauren Cohen in "The Walking Dead.")
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