No matter what you might have thought of The Walking Dead premiere— whether you quit the show over the brutality of the episode or whether you were one of those annoying “What did you expect?” guys (like myself) — there was one undisputed winner in the entire saga: Steven Yeun.
Not only does Yeun leave the show at what is probably its highest point (or lowest, depending on your view of the premiere), but an Asian-American will always be remembered for one of television’s most iconic moments.
In fact, that’s what Yeun is most proud of about his stint on the series, as he tells GQ:
Honestly, the privilege that I had to play an Asian-American character that didn’t have to apologize at all for being Asian, or even acknowledge that he was Asian. Obviously, you’re going to address it. It’s real. It’s a thing. I am Asian, and Glenn is Asian. But I was very honored to be able to play somebody that showed multiple sides, and showed depth, and showed a way to relate to everyone. It was quite an honor, in that regard. This didn’t exist when I was a kid. I didn’t get to see Glenn. I didn’t get to see a fully formed Asian-American person on my television, where you could say, “That dude just belongs here.” Kids, growing up now, can see this show and see a face that they recognize. And go, “Oh my god. That’s my face too.”
It doesn’t hurt that Yeun is also a superior human being.
Hopefully, Yeun will continue to play characters who don’t “have to apologize at all for being Asian, or even acknowledge that he is Asian.” He will be starring in Joon-ho Bong’s Okja with Jake Gyllenhaal and Lily Collins (in fact, many had rightfully speculated that Glenn would die when Yeun left for South Korea to shoot the film over the summer) and there are also (unfounded) rumors that he could play Nightwing in Affleck’s Batman film. Personally, I’d prefer he stay away from the superhero genre; I’d rather see Nikolaj Arcel find a place for him on the Dark Tower franchise.
Dude is gonna be alright, and will hopefully be the first The Walking Dead actor to truly break out in his post-The Walking Dead career.
there is only gratitude here. thank you.— steven yeun (@steveyeun) October 25, 2016