'The Walking Dead' Season 7 DVD exclusive: How they broke Rick Grimes

To celebrate the Oct. 22 Season 8 premiere of  The Walking Dead — the series’ 100th episode — Yahoo TV will be posting a new TWD-related story every day through the season opener.

Even after Negan’s brutal murders of Glenn and Abraham in The Walking Dead Season 7 premiere, the show was tough to watch, as beloved heroes like Rick Grimes and Daryl Dixon were broken down mentally, physically, and certainly spiritually, by Negan and the Saviors

In the exclusive clip above, from the Season 7 DVD and Blu-ray release (Aug. 22, Lionsgate and Anchor Bay Entertainment), producers and cast members recall exactly how Negan dismantled Rick’s confidence and leadership, and how it set the scene for a very bleak first half of the season.

“Rick actually gets to the point of… he’s willing to chop off his own son’s arm to appease Negan to keep other people from dying,” says co-executive producer and writer Matt Negrete. “And that to me really shows that Rick is in a place of total submission.”

Adds TWD showrunner Scott Gimple, “I think that by the end of that first episode, you believe that Rick is broken.”

Norman Reedus, Danai Gurira, Seth Gilliam, and Rick himself — Andrew Lincoln — chat about the distraught Rick, who “walks around like a muted animal,” Lincoln says in the DVD featurette.

At one point, again with the singular goal of keeping as many of his people alive as possible, Rick gathers the Alexandrians in the town church and tells them, “Let me put this to you all as clearly as I can: I’m not in charge anymore.”

“Rick’s the leader of this community, and here he is saying, ‘We’re not going to fight back, we’re going to do what Negan says because I don’t want anyone else to die,’” Negrete says.

A half season of pure torment began to pay off in the second half of the season, as members of Rick’s group, who had been scattered into various nearby communities, reunited. With the family back together, a reinvigorated #TeamRick began to plot a new way to deal with the Saviors, which included a brilliant, flying Shiva entrance in the Season 7 finale, and what promises to be the “all out war” of the comic books when the Alexandrians and their Kingdom and Hilltop cohorts continue to fight back against Negan in Season 8.

“You have to take a hero and you have to take him to his lowest depths,” Reedus says in the video, “so that he can rise back up even higher.”

In other words, Saviors, you’ve been warned.

The Walking Dead: The Complete Seventh Season DVD and Blu-ray will be released on Lionsgate and Anchor Bay Entertainment on Aug. 2; The Walking Dead Season 8 premieres Oct. 22 at 9 p.m. on AMC.

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