The Walking Dead
Still showing Negan's bat Lucille from leaked trailer of The Walking Dead season 6 finale episodeFox/AMC

Season finales ending on a cliffhanger clearly seems to be the flavour of the day — First, Game Of Thrones and now The Walking Dead. AMC's popular zombie drama ended its season 6 run with the much-talked about brutal killing scene involving Negan — but it didn't play out in the way fans expected.

Warning: TWD season 6 finale spoilers ahead

Jeffrey Dean Morgan made his grand entrance as Negan and wasted no time in terrifying fans by lining up all fan-favourite Walking Dead characters and choosing one to hit with his barbed-wire bat. The big twist was that viewers didn't see who he chose; they only viewed from the character's perspective as his/her head was brutally bashed in. Check out the scene below:

TWD creator Robert Kirkman and the show's executive producer Scott M Gimple spoke about this rather unusual way of ending the season, citing their love for cliffhangers as one of the main reasons behind this move.

"As a fan, I love cliffhangers," Kirkman said on the Talking Dead (via E! Online). "I love that tension. If you read the comic books, pretty much every issue ends with a cliffhanger. I think that's a lot of fun."

Gimple and Kirkman also explained how this cliffhanger will play a major role in the season 7 storyline. "The cliffhanger isn't the story," Kirkman said, explaining that this whole episode was designed to set up "how confident Rick was going into this."

"This episode is about the loss of that confidence. It's about tearing Rick Grimes down, and that's the conclusion of this episode. The story of who died, of what comes next, of who Negan killed, that's really the story of season seven."

Gimple also promised that The Walking Dead season 7 will make it up to the fans for the season 6 finale. "We have to do an episode that justifies it to you," Gimple said of season 7. "We have to do something so great and so intense that you're like, OK, all right, fair play, and that's the challenge that we have. We're going to do it, we're going to deliver you something fantastic. We want you to be one of those people in that lineup. We want you to feel that suspense, that terror, and that pain, and we're going to deliver you a story next season that justifies it."

The Walking Dead season 7 premiere date

There has been no official announcement regarding the release date for TWD season 7 but current rumours suggest that the show will return on 1 October 2016 (via the show's wikia).

For previous seasons, the premiere dates for The Walking Dead were: 31 October, 2010 for Season 1, 16 October for Season 2, 14 October for Season 3, 13 October for Season 4, 12 October for Season 5, and 11 October for Season 6.

So, if not on 1 October, fans can definitely expect the season 7 premiere episode to air by 8 or 15 October.