To celebrate the upcoming 100th episode of The Walking Dead, Yahoo TV will be posting a new TWD-related story every day through the series’ Season 8 premiere in October.
Warning: This post contains spoilers.
The Walking Dead Season 8 is, well, let’s be real, it’s still a few months away. But that doesn’t mean intel on the new season hasn’t already been brewing, especially in our little walker-lovin’ minds. Below, 17 things we know (or think we know, or desperately want to know) about the season ahead.
1. The basics: Season 8 will premiere in October, and will consist of 16 episodes, broken up into two blocks of eight episodes each. The Season 8 premiere, which will be the 100th episode of The Walking Dead, will be directed by Greg Nicotero, who has directed every season premiere since the Season 4 opener. The exact premiere date will be announced July 21 at the show’s San Diego Comic-Con panel, where AMC will also debut the first trailer for Season 8.
2. Actors Steven Ogg, Pollyanna McIntosh, and Katelyn Nacon have been promoted to series regular status, meaning we should expect big storylines involving Simon, Jadis, and Enid. Like, say, maybe we’ll finally find out the big secret Enid has been keeping lo these many seasons?
3. Given that Season 7 ended with a battle between the Saviors and Rick and his allies — including Ezekiel and his Kingdom cohorts and the good people of the Hilltop (plus Gregory) — it’s a safe bet that some, or all, of Season 8 will revolve around the storyline known as “All Out War” in The Walking Dead comics. The two-volume collection of comics (volumes 20 and 21, issues 115-126) finds Rick, the Kingdom, and the Hilltop attacking Negan and the Saviors at the Sanctuary, where they trap Lucille’s owner. But things take a bad, bad turn when Rick and company go after the Saviors’ other outposts, allowing Negan to plan his own attack on Alexandria.
4. Also in “All Out War”: Michonne and Ezekiel have a thing. With apologies to Carol and Daryl’s Caryl shippers, could the TV version of “Michekiel” find “Carekiel” as a new couple?
5. When last we saw Eugene in the Season 7 finale, he was retreating back to the Sanctuary with Negan and the Saviors after the flying entrance of Shiva brought a swift end to Negan’s attack on Alexandria. Will Eugene still be a #TeamNegan in Season 8? Was he ever really on Negan’s side? Or will Sasha’s ultimate sacrifice inspire Mr. Porter to overcome his fears and re-pledge his allegiance to Alexandria?
6. Though the events of Season 7 made it feel like Rick and the others were being tormented interminably, not that much time passed. How do we know? Maggie’s preggers, but as of that great speech she made in the Season 7 finale, she still wasn’t showing.
7. Speaking of Maggie and the little Rhee she’s carrying, the baby’s birth could mean Glenn’s return, i.e. the return of one of fans’ all-time favorite cast members, Steven Yeun… via flashback or dream sequence, of course. But again, that’s if Baby Rhee is born in Season 8. Maggie and Glenn’s baby in the comics was born post-“All Out War,” during a two-year time jump. Will a time jump factor into Season 8? And when Lil’ Rhee is born, will the baby be a son named Hershel, like in the comics?
8. And about a possible time jump, TWD showrunner Scott Gimple told The Hollywood Reporter, “For the people who read the comics, they’re going to be expecting this. We’re doing the book, we do all sorts of variations on it, and then we do things that are inspired by it, and then we change things up with a remix. But I will say there are things that happen in that time jump that are referred to that are super interesting. And thus we might see some of that stuff; it might not be the same sort of jump, or we’ll do that two to five years in real time.”
9. Now that 24: Legacy isn’t moving forward with a second season on Fox (at least in the immediate future,), Corey Hawkins might have time in his schedule to resume his performance as Alexandria supply runner Heath. When last we saw Heath in Season 7’s “Swear,” he appeared to have survived the walker swarm on a bridge, but fellow supply runner Tara found nothing but his glasses and some sort of electronic pass with the letters “PPP” on it, near some tire tracks. Could Heath pop up at one of the Saviors outposts in Season 8?
10. Will Negan die in Season 8? The TV show often diverges from and brilliantly remixes storylines in the comics, but it should be noted that in the comics — which are currently at issue 169 — Negan is still very much alive. Major comics spoiler: Rick does get the upper hand on Negan during the war with the Saviors, but instead of killing Negan, Rick locks him in a cage. Wouldn’t that be a perfect use for that sturdy cell Morgan went to all that effort to construct in an Alexandria basement on the TV series?
11. Negan’s much-abused minion Dwight (Austin Amelio) made efforts to switch his loyalties to the Alexandrians at the end of Season 7. After Negan and Jadis’s surprise attack on Rick’s people, Dwight even left behind that little hand-carved wooden statue with the words “Didn’t Know” written on it to ensure the Alexandrians he hadn’t been aware the attack was going to happen, which begs several questions for Season 8: How far over to the other side will Dwight go? Why didn’t Negan tell him about his alliance with Jadis? Is it because Negan suspects, or flat out knows about, Dwight’s attempts to convince Rick and Daryl he wants to join up with them? Without getting too spoilery with comic book specifics, suffice it to say that in the book, Dwight plays a significant role in “All Out War.”
12. A Dwight-adjacent storyline: Where’s Sherry, Dwight’s ex-wife, Negan’s apocalypse wife? In Season 7’s “Hostiles and Calamities,” we learned she had fled the Sanctuary after helping Daryl escape, but she could still be alive, which means she could also return and have a hand in the #TeamRick vs. #TeamNegan battles ahead.
13. And one comic event that has fans worried about the possible implications for the series in Season 8 or beyond: In the comics, Andrea is, er, was, still alive and was Rick’s girlfriend… until a recent issue, that is. Andrea’s death in the comics was a major tragedy for readers, who now worry that storyline could translate to the death of Michonne, TV Rick’s girlfriend, in the AMC series. In the comics, Andrea’s death comes after “All Out War,” which means Michonne is likely safe for Season 8. Unless one of those divergent/remixed storylines happens…
14. Despite the war-torn episodes sure to come, TWD co-executive producer Denise Huth tells Entertainment Weekly that the new season will be much less dark than Season 8, with its deaths of Abe and Glenn and the aftermath of that, and the ongoing torture of the rest of Rick’s group, which included many of the main characters being separated from each other for chunks of the season. “It’s like night and day compared to how we had to start last year,” Huth said while production got underway for the Season 8 premiere. “[The cast] all came back so super excited, and it’s a big year. These episodes are coming in huge… there’s just a sense of excitement because the characters aren’t in that dark, down place. It was really hard last year. It was hard for the cast, it was hard for the crew, it was hard for all of us. It was a really essential part of the story, and I think we needed to go through that pain to have what we’re doing now be so satisfying. If everything we are doing now had happened in the third or fourth episode last year, it would still be cool, but it wouldn’t have the impact… and for a lot of these actors, it’s the first time or one of the first times they’re having the opportunity to work together, because they were so split up last year. So it is exciting for us to integrate a lot of the newer characters with the OGs and see them all come together and take on this one challenge that they share. It makes it a really, really exciting way to begin a season.”
15. TVLine.com reports the show has added two new characters for Season 8: Dillon, “a sexy, blue-collar 20-something whose survival skills include sarcasm,” and Abbud, “an innately likeable Muslim American whose nerves are jangled, because he’s flown solo for too long in zombieland.” The description of Abbud appears to match up pretty closely to TWD comic book character Siddiq, a Miami native who traveled up the east coast post-apocalypse and met up with the Oceanside folks. He worked with them as a fisherman before moving on again and settling in Alexandria, where he told Rick about the Oceansiders, which led to Rick and his partner communities setting up trades with the Oceansiders for their seafood.
If Abbud is Siddiq, or Siddiq-ish, that could also signal the return of the Oceanside crew, the very capable women who would certainly be much-needed allies for Rick and company in the war against the Saviors.
16. Some TWD fans were not, well, fans, of Season 7 episodes focused on individual characters, namely the Tara-intense “Swear,” which also introduced the Oceanside community (an important introduction, obviously, as it led to Rick and company getting their hands on the Oceanside’s cache of weapons, some of which were used against Alexandria — via Jadis — in the Season 7 finale). Scott Gimple told EW the pace of the action in Season 8 won’t allow for many, or maybe any, such episodes. “We knew we wanted to mix it up in [Season] 8, and we knew what 8 was going to be and how that would dictate a very different kind of structure,” he said. “So, yeah, things are going to move, and possibly not have the kind of deep dives into characters in single episodes, but rather laying out the pieces as we go on.”
17. Andy Lincoln, to the Los Angeles Times, on the season ahead: “I’m more excited for Season 8 than I’ve ever been [for a season]. I think it’s going to be big, but it’s also going to be terrifying. And I mean that from the very depths of my cynical soul.”
The Walking Dead Season 8 premieres in October on AMC.
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