Warning: The following story may contain spoilers
Glenn Rhee, a beloved character played by actor Steven Yeun, made a brief surprise appearance in the emotional series finale of AMC’s “The Walking Dead” aired over the weekend.
The final episode of the hit zombie drama series, titled “Rest in Peace,” was aired on Sunday. As part of the finale, the show's executive producer and episode director Greg Nicotero included a montage briefly showing scenes of characters from throughout the seasons, both living and dead, according to Entertainment Weekly.
Some of the characters featured in the montage played over the repeating voice-over line “We’re the ones who live” are Carl Grimes (Chandler Riggs), Maggie Greene (Lauren Cohan), Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus), Yumiko Okumura (Eleanor Matsuura), Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and Glenn.
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Yeun was part of the main cast from Season 1 up to the first episode of the seventh season, when he met his brutal demise at the hands of Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and his barbed-wire-wrapped baseball bat Lucille.
Even though Negan was the one who killed Glenn, Maggie, the latter’s wife in the show, still managed to find a way to reconcile with her tormentor in the final episode in an emotional monologue.
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In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Cohan said it felt "good to be able to talk about Glenn" after so many years, even though it was not pleasant considering the brutal way he was killed.
“The line I remember is ‘Glenn was beautiful.’ And I feel like that's all I said,” Cohan told EW. “And in those three words, you have to remember how wonderful a person was and celebrate them and stay open and keep your heart open.”
When asked if Cohan also pictures Yeun’s face when she delivers emotional lines like the one in the finale, the actor said, “When you ask do I picture Steven's face, I picture what it feels like to really love something. And I don't know what I picture, but I just know that it's like standing on a cliff and knowing you'll fall, but hoping you'll be caught. It's so cheesy, but it is really what it is to love.”
The montage was not the first time Glenn was featured in the show following his gruesome death. AMC released an extended dream sequence in August 2017 showing “what could’ve been” if he had not been killed in the seventh season premiere. Yeun, 38, is equally as beloved by his fellow cast in "The Walking Dead" as an actor as he is by the fans for his character.
Speaking to the Los Angeles Times, showrunner and writer Angela Kang said Yeun was the first actor she became friends with on the show, sharing that the two would sometimes hang out and go to dinner and share their experiences as Korean Americans in the industry.
“We talked a lot about being Korean Americans in the industry and what are the struggles, but also how do you continue to improve? That definitely personally affected me, but [also] a lot of people in the cast. He was such a leader,” Kang said.
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Other cast members shared some of the moments they had with Yeun during filming of “The Walking Dead," like how Melissa McBride (Carol Peletier) and Yeun spent time looking for furniture. He was also the first actor to message Josh McDermitt (Eugene Porter) before he arrived on the set for the first time, McDermitt told the Los Angeles Times.
Following his stint on “The Walking Dead,” Yeun went on to star in several critically-acclaimed projects, including the award-winning drama “Minari,” Jordan Peele’s sci-fi horror “Nope” and Bong Joon-ho’s upcoming sci-fi thriller based on the 2022 novel “Mickey7.”
“Steven ... I love him so much,” McBride told the Los Angeles Times about her former co-star. “He’s so talented. I love watching his career since he left, but what a loss for us. I miss him a lot.”