[Spoiler alert for The Walking Dead Deluxe #77.] Glenn's death in issue #100 of The Walking Dead comic book is iconic: his brains bashed in by Negan's barbed wire-covered, blood-thirsty "vampire bat" Lucille over five graphic pages. After lining up his potential prey for a game of "eeny, meeny, miny, moe" — Rick and Carl Grimes, Michonne, Heath, Sophia, and Glenn's wife, Maggie — Negan bludgeoned Glenn to death, a devastating fate for a beloved character who existed in the book since issue #2. And it's one that Glenn might have avoided had creator Robert Kirkman not deviated from his original plan to kill Glenn in issue #75.
Glenn Rhee was always going to die... just not necessarily by Negan's hand. "For whatever reason, I'd earmarked Glenn for death by this point," Kirkman wrote in The Cutting Room Floor feature included in issue #71 of the colorized reprint Deluxe series. "He just seemed like the character most ripe, whose death would lead to the most story. But Glenn would most certainly NOT die next as I would continue to change my mind... again... and again."
While Kirkman has been forthcoming about killing Glenn in the landmark issue, he's been less forthcoming about how Glenn might have died earlier. Would he be eaten by walkers while on a supply run with Heath? A victim of The Scavengers? As it turns out, Glenn might have suffered the fate of Regina Monroe, the wife of Douglas Monroe, the then-leader of the Alexandria Safe-Zone.
Who (Almost) Killed Glenn in The Walking Dead Comic?
In The Walking Dead #75, Rick attacks Pete Anderson under suspicions he's abusing his wife and son. The confrontation turns violent and spills out into the streets of Alexandria. In issue #77, a raging Pete confronts Rick... and accidentally kills Regina with a swing of his knife. Douglas then gives Rick permission to shoot and kill Pete in retribution.
"I don't think I'd yet worked out all the details, but Glenn was planned to be killed in issue No. 75," Kirkman writes in The Cutting Room Floor in The Walking Dead Deluxe #77. "It's possible Pete was going to kill him instead of Regina this issue, and it would have happened two issues earlier [in issue #75]." Kirkman notes in his creator's commentary he "wanted to do something big" for the milestone 75th issue.
"But then, I didn't," he writes. "For whatever reason, I just couldn't kill Glenn. Instead, I opted to focus more on Rick and his state of mind for issue No. 75, making that the big moment. And Glenn, well... he just got to go on living."
Who's That Widow in the Window...?
Glenn living meant Kirkman had to rework a plot hinted at on the original cover of issue #77 (below), which showed a shadowy figure watching Maggie undress from outside her window. In the scrapped plot, a widowed Maggie was stalked by an Alexandrian — potentially Douglas and Regina's son, Spencer Monroe.
"The cover to this issue was drawn with a completely different story in mind," Kirkman notes. "That idea was given to Charlie [Adlard, artist] when I thought Glenn would be dead by now. So, the original plot was that with Glenn dead, Maggie was getting stalked. Maybe by Spencer, maybe by someone new. I couldn't remember. She was the new widow that someone had taken a liking to. That was going to be the storyline. Poor Maggie was grieving as someone out there was going to try and force her into a relationship. It definitely wouldn't have ended well for them."
Kirkman amended the cover issue with a line of dialogue. "With Glenn alive, I didn't want to just abandon a perfectly good cover. It had already been printed in a catalog and everything," Kirkman explains. "Instead, I just had Glenn say, 'I feel like I'm on the outside of this relationship looking in.' It wasn't supposed to be Glenn outside the window... but it could have been, and that line of dialogue kind of made the cover make sense... sort of."
The Walking Dead Deluxe #77 is on sale now from Image Comics.