Sunday, October 30, 2016

RIP Glenn Rhee, long live Steven Yeun

Steve Yeun seems to console Lauren Cohen, who plays his onscreen wife Maggie during Talking Dead's special 90 minute show after The Walking Dead Season 7 premiere that saw the end of Glenn Rhee.
IT HAS BEEN a week since Glenn Rhee was killed in The Walking Dead's Season 7 premiere and the fan furor refuses to die.

The character of Glenn Rhee, played by Steven Yeun, was among the last of the original group of survivors in the zombie apocalypse setting in The Walking Dead and was much beloved by the show's fans.

Killing off the fan favorite was more than just a turning point in the storyline, it was doing away with one of the few fully developed and complicated AAPI characters that has ever been on American television. Glenn exposed millions of viewers to an AAPI character that they could identify with, someone they could cheer for and care about.

Since Glenn's death last week, fans have been grieving the loss of one of the character they invested a ton of emotional capital, not to mention their Sunday evenings. A columnist in Arkansas wrote an obituary that was widely circulated.

Written by Andrea Bruner, it starts out, "Glenn Rhee, husband, father-to-be, warrior and friend departed from this world October 23rd. He was 32."

The fan meltdown and subsequent uproar was so great that series creator, Robert Kirkman felt compelled to explain the plot-turn to Entertainment Weekly.

"It’s just that there’s a lot of material that comes from Glenn’s death in the comics,’ Kirkman said. "And while we do try to change things up to keep things interesting for the audience, and for me, this is one that there’s so much that comes from Rick.

"There’s so much with Negan, because that character is someone that he killed, and definitely Maggie is someone that kind of gets put on the trajectory that affects a great number of stories and a great number of characters moving forward.

"So it was kind of essential that that part of the scene at least remained intact, unfortunately," he added. 

The Walking Dead cast says goodbye.
I don't buy that. Kirkman's explanation might carry more weight if he hadn't already substantially diverted from the comic storyline by allowing two (white) characters to continue to live, long after their comic counterparts died: fan favorites Carol, played by Melissa McBride and Daryl played by Norman Reedus. 
So, like so many before them, the producers thought the Asian guy was dispensible so we have to live with the results. It is what it is.

Steven Yeun has been trying to make sure that he is very much alive. He has a movie thriller, Mayhem, coming out in which he plays the hero, a guy who has to fight his way out of a dangerous situation. Hmm, sound familiar?
He is also signed up for another sci-fi project  Okja, directed by Boon Joon-Ho (Snowpiercer). which has an absolutely crazy pollen. It stars Seohyun An as a girl who befriends Okja, a genetically manufactured pig, the plot follows her mission to retrieve her now giant pig after he is kidnapped by the corporation that created him. It sounds like dystopian Clifford: The Big Red Dog.

Yen also scored a cover of Entertainment Weekly. Writes Fusion:
As far as as our research has turned up, Steven Yeun is one of three male Asian actors(and one of two living ones) to have an Entertainment Weekly cover all to himself since the magazine’s launch in 1990. As far as Asian actresses go, Mindy Kaling graced the cover back in 2013, as did Lost‘s Yunjin Kim in 2010. (We’ve reached out to EW for confirmation and will update with their response.)
Yeun has definitely appeared on EW covers before—and technically, he’s been featured on a cover by himself, as one of six different “collectible covers” of the same Walking Dead special issue, released in February of this year. The other five covers were of his Walking Dead costars....
Steve Yeun’s EW cover isn’t just a big deal because it pays homage to one of the most beloved characters in modern television—it’s a disruption, a declaration that your heroes can be Asian, too.
In the meantime, Yeun may have found a new job as late-night host Conan O'Brien. Yeun is a funny guy. He's a frequent guest on Conan, traveling with him to Korea for a couple of shows last year. Watch Yeun's guest stint from last week.