When season six of "The Walking Dead" came to an end, fans of the series were left with months to mull over the identity of Negan's (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) first victim. With just days left before the season seven premiere, fans are chomping at the bit for that reveal. Executive Producer Greg Nicotero has made it clear that it will change the state of the show.

Where 'The Walking Dead' left off

The final moments of season six saw nearly all of the main characters for the series, including community leader Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and several characters who have been present since the first season of the show, lined up with no means to defend themselves against Negan and his trusty Lucille.

Lucille, with his bat wrapped in barbed wire, was poised to meet one of the main cast head-on as the finale faded to a bloody version of black.

While Negan might have been cavalier in his choice, even using the same "eeny, meeny, miney, moe" technique he employed in the graphic novels to pick a victim, the writers couldn't afford to do the same. With most of the cast in the same scene, they had to weigh their options carefully.

Some fans might have thought the writers hadn't even made a choice before the events of the season finale, but Nicotero revealed that's not the case in a recent interview with ComicBook.Com.

Why 'The Walking Dead' writers chose their victim

Nicotero told reporters the decision for which of Rick's friends would meet Lucille was made before the writers even "got into the finale." As has been the case with big deaths in the past on the show, like Shane (Jon Bernthal) or Herschel (Scott Wilson) meeting their ends, Negan's first victim will "change the direction of the show." The decision to get rid of one character in such a brutal manner wasn't just for shock value, or simply following the comic books, which the show has deviated from in the past.

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Instead, Nictotero promises fans that the introduction of Negan and the death of this person will provide us with a pretty substantial course change."

Find out just how substantial when "The Walking Dead" returns for season seven on Sunday, October 23, at 9PM on ABC.

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