The Walking Dead season 7 finale offers 'great pay-off' as Rick goes to war with Negan

IBTimes UK exclusive: Cast members and director Greg Nicotero defend slow-paced season seven.

Rick will lead his group of survivors to an undoubtedly bloody attack on villain Negan in The Walking DeadAMC

The Walking Dead cast have promised a "great pay-off" in the season seven finale. Viewers are itching to see if murderous villain Negan will get his comeuppance after making Rick, Daryl and the other survivors endure death and excruciating misery for weeks.

The climactic events will unfold in forthcoming episode, The First Day Of The Rest Of Your Life, where Rick will hopefully lead his group of Alexandrians to victory against Negan and the tyrant's loyal Saviours.

Teasing what to expect from the anticipated episode, Josh McDermitt, who plays Eugene in the hit zombie series, told IBTimes UK: "It was a fitting finale. I was very happy with it, I think the fans will be happy. The fans, and even as actors, we lack patience sometimes but if people stick with it they will be happy with the finale and excited to see what happens next."

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Actor Tom Payne, who plays Hilltop resident Jesus, added: "There are some great pay-off moments. I really enjoy the different tones the story takes and they do a great job with how many characters are on the show now, giving everyone their specific parts and the pay-offs that happen throughout the show. Everyone needs to be patient sometimes, it can't be the same every episode."

Longtime viewers of the AMC series are hoping for an action-packed finale after many criticised the slow-paced nature of season seven. In October, fans were thrilled with the gripping premiere episode, which saw Negan kill popular characters Glenn and Abraham, but viewing figures have declined since then.

Defending the pace of the season, director Greg Nicotero stated: "If you put the same show in front of people over and over again, they would watch and be comfortable with it because it feels familiar. We go to great lengths to not make the show feel familiar and when it goes into uncomfortable territory, people get uncomfortable. That's not bad filmmaking. We're artists, we want to paint amazing pictures, we don't want to paint the same pictures every single time."

Josh McDermitt (right), who plays Eugene, promises the season seven finale will be "fitting"Gene Page/AMC

Ross Marquand, who stars as Aaron, praised the "emotional severity" of the first half, stating that this set season seven apart from its predecessors. Father Gabriel actor Seth Gilliam agreed, adding: "I like the idea of the heroes being beaten down to the point of non-existence and trying to rediscover their fight and inner fire."

Some viewers feel that the Negan storyline has been dragged out, with the character first introduced towards the end of season six and wreaking havoc throughout the whole of season seven. However, actress Alanna Masterson, who plays Tara, says if Rick and co. killed Negan earlier on, it would have made for the "most anti-climactic show in the world".

Watch a teaser of The Walking Dead's season seven finale:

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