The Walking Dead has officially signed off 2015 by Sunday’s most recent midseason finale “Start to Finish,” but if you’re anything like us, the first half of Season 6 produced some strong reactions. Now, showrunner Scott Gimple defends the show’s credibility after the big Glenn fakeout, as well as its introduction of Negan, and what to expect in the 2016 return.

You’re warned of full spoilers through The Walking Dead’s “Start to Finish” finale, as well as the remainder of Season 6 and a few comic beats as well, but Scott Gimple had some strong words regarding recent reactions to Glenn’s miraculous survival this season. Speaking with The Hollywood Reporter, Gimple denied that Glenn’s dumpster salvation strained the show’s credibility, blaming critics for changing the conversation among fans:

I saw a lot of line for line repeat sentences between a lot of these [critics]. On that side, people said things like that but that wasn’t the message I was getting from the fans at all. From the comments on those very sites, I don’t think the majority of people who watch the show were feeling that [loss of credibility].

It’s hard for me to answer that question directly in as much as I don’t agree with the credibility thing. That’s a very interesting way to look at it, that people are telling the audience how to watch the show and what to believe. We’ve had instances of people in a very emotional state — Tyreese jumping into the middle of a large herd and fighting his way out; a man cut off his own hand and fight his way through a department store full of walkers. These things are part of the world. Glenn had the bad luck of being knocked off that dumpster by Nicholas, ending his own life but [Glenn] had the good luck of Nicholas landing on him.

There’s a lot of very specific facts about it that I think a lot of people have sort of gotten wrong. But breaking it down shot for shot … I think we’re past that point. I don’t think this is any sort of new instance that broke the rules of our show at all. I think it’s very much in line with everything we’ve done before. I don’t think there’s a credibility issue. It seems like in this growing sort of divide between the people who watch the show and the people who write about the show. There’s not a wrong way to watch it; nobody is doing anything wrong. I’m getting a lot different messages that are diametrically opposed.

Gimple also defended the decision to structure the finale more fluidly with its 2016 premiere, rather than construct any specific resolution to leave fans with, including the two-minute Negan prologue that ended up as an extra-long post-credits scene airing with Into the Badlands. For now, TV viewers only know Negan’s name, though Gimple also offered a few details of Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s villainous presence to TVLine by comparing him with The Governor:

In my opinion, The Governor is more despicable and damaged. Negan is terrifying in that he isn’t a psychopath. He’s charismatic and funny. And even sort of friendly. But he just kills, and it doesn’t bother him. He’s the star of his own movie and we’re all Red Shirts. He’s not nuts. But you can’t reason with him because he’s got it all worked out. He knows exactly the way the world works. And he’s the one in control. Negan also has a bizarre sense of empathy. He actually recognizes your bad luck in you running into him, yet it doesn’t change a damn thing. Robert [Kirkman] has created one of the great pop culture characters of the past 20 years. And we desperately want to get him right.

Of course, “Start to Finish” left plenty of outlying cliffhangers as well, including the fate of Morgan’s lone surviving Wolf and his new hostage Denise, though executive producer Greg Nicotero may have tipped his hat toward the immediate aftermath of that storyline in an interview with TVInsider. It sounds as if the thread might connect with Rick, Carl, Jessie and her children out in the street, which itself could produce an infamously gruesome comic moment:

Now that we have a guy with a gun in his hand leading Denise out of that jail cell and into the overrun Alexandria, I would be concerned about who he would potentially run into on the streets because he just might open fire.

You can read more about that theory at the link above, while other reports tease a more linear narrative in the back half, but does Gimple succeed in justifying #GlennGate, or The Walking Dead finale’s seeming lack of closure? Will Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s Negan out-villain The Governor? Stay tune for more from The Walking Dead Season 6's 2016 return, and rewatch the prologue below.

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