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‘The Walking Dead’ Finale Ruined Negan’s Debut With Its Worst Cliffhanger To Date

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Last night, The Walking Dead had a chance to bring to life the single most iconic, memorable, horrifying moment from the comics.

Instead, they took that moment, stretched it out, chopped it up, and turned it into an entirely unnecessary cliffhanger that mangled the debut of their new villain, and upset their entire fanbase, who had already come to terms with the fact that someone was going to die that night.

The signs that The Walking Dead would pull something like this sort of seem obvious now in retrospect. In season six, the show has enjoyed toying with its audience to an almost cruel degree. First, there was the whole Glenn-dumpster drama, where that “cliffhanger” was if Glenn would indeed turn out to be alive after a sequence very clearly meant to trick people into thinking he was dead.

After that, it was the less egregious, yet still irritating cliffhanger in the season 6a finale, where comic readers were waiting to see the episode end on Carl’s iconic “Dad?” moment, and yet they stretched out that sequence of events and pushed it off until the season 6b premiere.

But this? This is a new level of stupid.

The problem was that this single decision ruined what was otherwise a pretty good 90 minute episode. I loved the way the show finally made the Saviors look scary at long last. How they toyed with the Rick and the rest of the crew all episode, and made it clear that they were in way over their heads. When they turned one of the final corners on the road and saw a barricade with about fifty guys manning it, it was breathtaking, terrifying.

Photo: AMC

And so was Negan’s actual appearance, once the gang is captured and put in the weird whistle-circle. We have been waiting all season for Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s debut as Negan, and he did not disappoint (though the phrase “pee pants city” doesn’t really translate well from comic to screen). His speech was great, and the famous “eenie-meenie-miney-moe” sequence where he’s choosing which group member to kill was incredibly tense, with the quick cuts of the camera, as you waited for it to stop on the unlucky soul.

And then everything goes to hell.

We only see the first person view of who was chosen, and Negan effectively beats the camera to death. Now, we are supposed to wait six months until next October to figure out who Negan actually killed, and this is far and away the worst creative decision the show has ever made.

All it would have taken was one shot. A single shot of Negan’s bat finally landing on the unlucky soul in question. And then they could have done the whole “beat the camera to death” shot if they really wanted to (as it may have been too graphic otherwise, I suppose). But at least we would know who was chosen.

Now? We will learn who dies, but probably not from the season seven premiere. Over the next six months, the internet will be flooded with leaks, real and fake, claiming to know who is dead, but ultimately, if enough set shots are leaked (and they always are) we will know who is dead simply by who is no longer filming, or who is turning up on a new show, or something like that. The cat is going to be let out of the bag somehow, and unless you stay off the internet for half a year, you’re probably going to hear who was actually killed that night.

I don’t understand the decision-making process here. The Walking Dead is still a huge hit. An enormous hit. Are they really so desperate not to lose viewers from season to season that they think they have to orchestrate an enormous, entirely unnecessary cliffhanger like this? Do they really think that if Glenn or Daryl or Abraham or Michonne or Rick was beaten to death, that audiences wouldn’t tune in next year to witness the aftermath of that? It’s absolutely insane, and a damn shame that the showrunners and writers decided to destroy such an iconic sequence from the comics for the sake of a cheap cliffhanger.

Photo: AMC

Is there anything that can be salvaged from this? I suppose we can just keep guessing. Some of my picks from last night have been ruled out, including Carol and Morgan, who had their own separate little storyline where they meet up with (comic spoilers begin) members of The Kingdom, another settlement we’ll see next season.

As I thought, the group of possible victims did expand by the end of the night, far past Glenn, Daryl, Michonne and Rosita, who were captured last week (and weirdly not seen at all this week until the last five minutes of the episode). Joining them are Rick, Carl, Abraham, Sasha, Maggie, Eugene and Aaron. That’s a pretty big selection.

The only person we 100% know for sure isn’t dead is Carl, as Negan say “if anyone moves, cut the boy’s other eye out,” implying the person being beaten to death is not Carl. Past that, it’s anyone’s guess really. There are “logical” answers (more comic spoilers), namely Glenn (who dies in this scene in the comic) and Daryl (who is not in the comics but may indeed die here), but I don’t exactly trust AMC to make the right decision here at this point, so I can pretty easily see how they might go with someone like Aaron, in order to ruffle exactly zero feathers and keep the entire main roster intact. Rick, Michonne and Maggie are off the table entirely, I’m still convinced, due to their importance to the story. I also don’t think Rosita or Sasha would be killed this brutally (Negan loves his women, after all). That leaves, Abraham, Aaron, Glenn, Eugene and Daryl.

Before last night, I would have said Glenn, but now after this cliffhanger? I honestly don’t know. Given that all comic readers already “know” about Glenn’s death, what would be the point of keeping everyone in suspense an extra six months if he was the one to actually die? That makes me think it’s changed.

Photo: AMC

And again, given that Norman Reedus and AMC are like BFFs at this point (he stars in Walking Dead video games, he has his own motorcycle reality show), it’s pretty clear to me they’re not going to kill Daryl, and certainly not in a way that requires a six month cliffhanger. Honestly at this point I genuinely believe it’s down to Abraham, Eugene and Aaron, and I’m leaning toward Aaron of all people, just because of how stupid AMC has made this process, and how afraid they’ve been to kill major characters for a long time now.

This was a poor, poor creative decision, and one they can never get back. No matter what happens in the season seven premiere, this moment will have lost almost all of its impact. Stories have specific arcs and narrative climaxes for a reason. You do not make your biggest reveal/death of the series into something that’s pure rising action, and then fracture the climax into something incomprehensible for the sake of…what, blackmailing viewers into tuning in next season premiere? They were going to show up anyway!

This is just a frustrating end to a frustrating season, which had many good moments, but its desire to trick and toy with the audience has mangled most of the storylines this year, and ruining Negan’s debut like this for the sake of yet another cliffhanger is simply unforgivable.

Entrepreneur, contributor, writer, and editor of Sostre News. With a powerful new bi-lingual speaking generation by his side, Sostre News is becoming the preferred site for the latest in Politics, Entertainment, Sports, Culture, Tech, Breaking and World News.

ENTERTAINMENT

Emmy Nominations 2019: See The Full List

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The 2019 Emmys have arrived. The 71st annual Primetime Emmy Awards will air live on Fox this Sunday, September 22, at 8 pm Eastern / 5 pm Pacific, and honor some of the biggest television achievements of the past year.

As usual, the major awards will be split into separate categories for comedy and drama. On the drama side, the 2019 nominations are both dominated by Game of Thrones — which is expected to set a new record for most Emmy wins by a single season — and unusually wide open. Many shows that would otherwise be contenders — including The Crown, Stranger Things, and The Handmaid’s Tale — did not air during the eligibility window (June 1, 2018 through May 31, 2019), either because they wanted to avoid competing against Game of Thrones or because they simply couldn’t produce a new season in time.

The thought held by many was that Game of Thrones would turn in an unbeatable swan song and the race would open up again in 2020. In hindsight, that final season was widely criticized and not nearly as unrivaled in its Emmy worthiness as many expected it to be. Nevertheless, Game of Thrones is still the frontrunner in multiple drama categories.

Game of Thrones is also the only show to be nominated in all seven drama categories. In addition to nods for Outstanding Drama Series, Directing for a Drama Series, and Writing for a Drama Series, stars Kit Harington and Emilia Clarke are nominated for Lead Actor in a Drama and Lead Actress in a Drama, respectively.

And the show has pretty much overwhelmed the final two drama categories, with Gwendoline Christie, Lena Headey, Sophie Turner, and Maisie Williams all nominated for Supporting Actress in a Drama, and Alfie Allen, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, and Peter Dinklage all nominated for Supporting Actor in a Drama. In total, between the Primetime Emmys and the Creative Arts Emmys, Game of Thrones’ final season earned 32 nominations, the most received in a single year by any show in the history of the awards.

Having already won 10 awards at the Creative Arts Emmys — which were held last weekend and mainly honor the technical elements of TV production like cinematography, editing, and visual effects — Game of Thrones needs just two more to tie its own record for most Emmys won by a single season of any show. It needs only three to break that record.

The few contenders looking to upset Game of Thrones include This Is Us, Better Call Saul (returning to the race after being nominated in 2017 and sitting out last year), Killing Eve, Pose, Succession, Ozark, and Bodyguard.

Perhaps the biggest player on the comedy side is the final season of HBO’s Veep. After star Julia Louis-Dreyfus’s cancer diagnosis and treatment, Veep, the reigning comedy champ, sat out the Emmys in 2018. And in its absence, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel took home the major awards.

With Veep back in contention this year — and for its final season, no less — the series easily snagged a nomination for Outstanding Comedy Series. Its fellow contenders in the category include last year’s winner, Mrs. Maisel; returning nominee Barry; and newcomers to the race Russian Doll, The Good Place, Fleabag, and Schitt’s Creek.

Louis-Dreyfus is also nominated for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy, an honor she has as already won six times for her role as Selina Meyer (on top of a Lead Actress in a Comedy win for The New Adventures of Old Christine and a Supporting Actress in a Comedy win for Seinfeld). She’ll go head to head with Russian Doll’s Natasha Lyonne, Mrs. Maisel’s Rachel Brosnahan (who won last year), and Schitt’s Creek’s Catherine O’Hara, among others.

Here’s the list of 2019 Emmy nominees in all the major categories:

Outstanding Comedy Series

Barry

Fleabag

The Good Place

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Russian Doll

Schitt’s Creek

Veep

Outstanding Drama Series

Better Call Saul

Bodyguard

Game of Thrones

Killing Eve

Ozark

Pose

Succession

This Is Us

Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie

Mahershala Ali, True Detective

Benicio Del Toro, Escape at Dannemora

Hugh Grant, A Very English Scandal

Jared Harris, Chernobyl

Jharrel Jerome, When They See Us

Sam Rockwell, Fosse/Verdon

Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie

Amy Adams, Sharp Objects

Patricia Arquette, Escape at Dannemora

Aunjanue Ellis, When They See us

Joey King, The Act

Niecy Nash, When They See Us

Michelle Williams, Fosse/Verdon

Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie

Ben Whishaw, A Very English Scandal

Stellan Skarsgard, Chernobyl

Paul Dano, Escape at Dannemora

John Leguizamo, When They See Us

Michael K. Williams, When They See Us

Asante Blackk, When They See Us

Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie

Emily Watson, Chernobyl

Margaret Qualley, Fosse/Verdon

Patricia Clarkson, Sharp Objects

Patricia Arquette, The Act

Marsha Stephanie Blake, When They See Us

Vera Farmiga, When They See Us

Lead Actor in a Comedy Series

Anthony Anderson, Black-ish

Don Cheadle, Black Monday

Ted Danson, The Good Place

Michael Douglas, The Kominsky Method

Bill Hader, Barry

Eugene Levy, Schitt’s Creek

Lead Actress in a Comedy Series

Christina Applegate, Dead To Me

Rachel Brosnahan, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep

Natasha Lyonne, Russian Doll

Catherine O’Hara, Schitt’s Creek

Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Fleabag

Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series

Stephen Root, Barry

Henry Winkler, Barry

Anthony Carrigan, Barry

Alan Arkin, The Kominsky Method

Tony Shalhoub, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Tony Hale, Veep

Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series

Sarah Goldberg, Barry

Sian Clifford, Fleabag

Olivia Colman, Fleabag

Betty Gilpin, GLOW

Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live

Alex Borstein, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Marin Hinkle, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Anna Chlumsky, Veep

Lead Actor in a Drama Series

Jason Bateman, Ozark

Sterling K. Brown, This Is Us

Kit Harington, Game of Thrones

Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul

Billy Porter, Pose

Milo Ventimiglia, This Is Us

Lead Actress in a Drama Series

Emilia Clarke, Game of Thrones

Jodie Comer, Killing Eve

Viola Davis, How to Get Away with Murder

Laura Linney, Ozark

Mandy Moore, This Is Us

Sandra Oh, Killing Eve

Robin Wright, House of Cards

Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

Jonathan Banks, Better Call Saul

Giancarlo Esposito, Better Call Saul

Alfie Allen, Game of Thrones

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Game of Thrones

Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones

Michael Kelly, House of Cards

Chris Sullivan, This Is Us

Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

Gwendoline Christie, Game of Thrones

Lena Headey, Game of Thrones

Sophie Turner, Game of Thrones

Maisie Williams, Game of Thrones

Fiona Shaw, Killing Eve

Julia Garner, Ozark

Outstanding Reality Competition Series

Amazing Race

American Ninja Warrior

Nailed It

RuPaul’s Drag Race

Top Chef

The Voice

Outstanding Variety Talk Series

The Daily Show

Full Frontal

Jimmy Kimmel Live!

Last Week Tonight With John Oliver

The Late Late Show With James Corden

The Late Show With Stephen Colbert

Outstanding Variety Sketch Series

At Home With Amy Sedaris

Documentary Now!

Drunk History

I Love You, America With Sarah Silverman

Saturday Night Live

Who Is America?

Outstanding Television Movie

Bandersnatch

Brexit

Deadwood

King Lear

My Dinner with Hervé

Outstanding Limited Series

Chernobyl

Escape at Dannemora

Fosse/Verdon

Sharp Objects

When They See Us

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Disney’s Live-Action ‘Aladdin’ Looking at $100M+ In Memorial Day Riches

UPDATED, 1:17 PM: At this time we can tell you that Disney’s Aladdin is off to a healthy start at the domestic box office with a $28 million-$30 million Friday (including $7 million in Thursday’s previews). It is now expected to hit $80 million over three days and $95 million over the full four-day Memorial Day holiday weekend frame.

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UPDATED, 1:17 PM: At this time we can tell you that Disney’s Aladdin is off to a healthy start at the domestic box office with a $28 million-$30 million Friday (including $7 million in Thursday’s previews). It is now expected to hit $80 million over three days and $95 million over the full four-day Memorial Day holiday weekend frame.

Some see the Guy Ritchie film besting Solo: A Star Wars Story‘s four-day Memorial Day start of $103M last year with a potential $104M gross, but this holiday is so wonky it is too soon to call it at that. There can be fall-off as people become distracted by holiday activities.

Regardless, it’s a better than anticipated start for Disney’s latest live-action remake, on which critics are divided but exit polls show audiences love. Aladdin is a brand that is fresher than Dumbo and hipper, being a fave of Gen X and Gen Y audiences.

We will have more box office updates later today.

PREVIOUSLY, 7:36 AM: Disney’s Aladdin is off to strong start after $7 million in Thursday night previews that began officially at 6 PM yesterday, preceded by 5 PM fan events. That figure is exceedingly better than the frumpy Thursday night start of Dumbo, which only snorted up $2.6M for a $46M weekend.

Last night was also the best preview start for director Guy Ritchie at the domestic box office; two summers ago, his King Arthur: Legend of the Sword tanked with a $15.3M opening, leading to a $39.1M domestic finish and $148.6M global off a $175M production cost.

Tracking is between $73M-$85M on Aladdin over the Friday-through-Monday stretch of Memorial Day weekend. Critics are split about the live-action reboot of the 1992 Disney classic at 60% fresh. We’ll see whether the die-hard Aladdin fans dominate or remain divided as the weekend continues.

So far, so good: ComScore/Screen Engine PostTrack exits show general audiences giving Aladdin 4 1/2 stars and a solid 69% definite recommend. Females over 25 lead at 34% (98% positive grade), followed by females under 25 at 25% (97% grade), men over 25 at 21% (88%) and Men under 25 at 20% (83%). Parents gave the pic four stars after turning out at 12%, and kids under 12, who repped 20% of the crowd and loved it at 4 1/2 stars.

If those figures maintain, Ritchie is bound to see his best opening at the domestic B.O. after 2009’s Sherlock Holmes ($62.3M). We went into the weekend projecting on the low end, given the funkiness of moviegoing over the Memorial Day stretch. Since Marvel movies have taken over the earlier part of the month (or late April), Memorial Day has increasingly become anti-climactic at the box office. Disney has traditionally tanked over Memorial Day weekend with its event attempts, but this year might be different.

Aladdin‘s Thursday also bests that of Disney’s 2017 Memorial Day attempt Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales ($5.5M off 7 PM shows for a $78.4M four-day opening) as well as late May 2014’s live-action Sleeping Beauty spinoff Maleficent ($4.2M previews from 9 PM and midnight, $69M opening). Many are comparing Aladdin to the female-skewing Cinderella, and Prince Ali also beat her 8 PM Thursday showtimes of $2.3M, which turned into a $67.8M opening.

Among the preview nights for the live-action remakes of Disney’s toons, Beauty and the Beast is still the fairest in the land with a huge $16.3M from March 16, 2017 shows.

Those who’ve seen the top sheet of Aladdin say it cost around $182M net, which is cheaper than Pirates 5 ($230M production cost net before P&A), and a little higher than Beauty and the Beast ($160M).

Atom Tickets saw Aladdin presales outstrip those of Dumbo and Mary Poppins Returns. Based on Atom’s recent Summer Movie Survey, Aladdin was in the top 10 Most Anticipated Summer Movies list in addition to the top 5 Most Anticipated Family Summer Movies. Of those that voted for Aladdin as their top summer movie, they also said they are most excited to hear the song “A Whole New World” from the movie. The majority (70%) are really excited to see Will Smith as the genie. In terms of the survey demographics, 50% were 25-34 years old, 26% were in the range of 35-44, and 12% were 45-54. Also based on the survey, fans of the movie also skewed more female (~60%), which was what tracking spotted and what last night’s exit polls indicated.

Sony Screens Gems/The H Collective has the James Gunn-produced superhero horror pic Brightburn, which drew $950,000 last night from 7 PM shows at 2,257 locations. Pic’s opening is projected at $8M over three days and $10M for four days. That’s ahead of Warner Bros’ R-rated July 2015 horror pic The Gallows, which opened to $9.8M. Brightburn cost an estimated $6M before marketing and distribution costs.

United Artists’ release of Annapurna’s Olivia Wilde-directed teenage comedy Booksmart took in $875K in previews. The R-rated film is tracking towards a domestic four-day weekend opening in the mid- to high-single-digits.

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Aaron Rodgers Goes on Epic Rant Blasting Game of Thrones Ending

The “Game of Thrones” series finale arrived on Sunday and let’s just say that plenty of fans and critics had problems with the ending.That includes a man who actually made an appearance on the show, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

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The “Game of Thrones” series finale arrived on Sunday and let’s just say that plenty of fans and critics had problems with the ending.

That includes a man who actually made an appearance on the show, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

(Warning: Several “Game of Thrones” spoilers are mentioned here, but you were smart enough to know that.)

Aaron Rodgers blasts ‘Game of Thrones’ finale

Speaking with reporters during Packers OTAs, Rodgers was initially asked to clarify where he actually showed up in “The Bells,” the fifth episode of the “Game of Thrones” final season.

Rodgers confirmed he was neither the archer (“that person definitely looked like me”), nor the man incinerated by dragon fire (“I’m disappointed in every person who would say that was me … total non-athlete.”) Rather, he was the one by the bell tower.

Once that was settled, Rodgers was asked if he actually liked the ending of the show he has watched for years. What followed was a lengthy, point-by-point takedown of the finale’s biggest decisions.

A full transcript of Rodgers’ comments about the show’s ending:

Were you satisfied with the ending of “Game of Thrones?”

No. I love the show and it was a great 10 years, but no. You come down to the end and Tyrion says the person with the best story is Bran? Who, by the way, three episodes said he wasn’t Bran Stark anymore. No. Jon had a better story. Dany had a better story. Arya had a better story. Sansa had a better story. Tyrion had a better story. Varys had a better story. Bronn, a lot better story. Jaime, better story. Cersei, probably a better story. Any Baratheon, better story.

Who should have been on the throne?

I think Dany should have been on the throne. Here’s the thing, though. Here’s my last theory about it. If Bran, the Three-Eyed Raven, whose all about the health of the realm. Let’s think about what he did. He basically wanted the throne the whole time because he’s the one who told the Starks, knowing that Sansa would tell Tyrion, knowing that Tyrion would talk to Varys, knowing that he’d scheme for Dany’s death, knowing that would piss her off, which led her to be the Mad Queen. So he, the entire time, set the whole thing up and then at the end goes ‘Oh yeah, I don’t want to be king. Oh, but why did I travel all this way to be here?’ No. Look, I love the opportunity to be in the show, which most people probably don’t think I was, but I was there. I love the show, but the writers are also doing Star Wars, so I think they might have been a little busy.

Clearly, Rodgers is a little upset.

Aaron Rodgers is not alone in hating the ‘Game of Thrones’ ending

That last comment alludes to the recent news that “Game of Thrones” showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss will helm the next “Star Wars” movie, which led to backlash from many fans over the perception that the show’s final season was rushed as its top decision-makers prepared for their foray into science fiction.

Really, Rodgers’ comments match up with most fans’ biggest criticisms, mainly the implications of Bran Stark king-taking the throne and the handling of Daenerys Targaryen’s transition into villainy. Petitions have already been started to redo the show’s final season.

“Game of Thrones” is finally over as a television series, but the discussion around the show and story will likely live on for years.

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