Those who follow regular The Walking Dead coverage know that the off-season is often full of hype about the upcoming season. Barely a week goes by without Andrew Lincoln, Norman Reedus, Scott Gimple, Robert Kirkman or one of the other many cast and crew members of the series proclaiming that the next season is the best so far, or the most intense. Or that it will make the planet explode.
This off-season has been a little different because so much of the focus has been on one scene: Negan’s kill. When it comes to The Walking Dead, it’s all anyone can talk about, and that was by design on the part of The Walking Dead’s production team. The show, of course, has taken pains to hide the reveal, filming episodes out of order and filming multiple versions of the kill scene. AMC has even threatened legal action against spoiler groups. So far, the identity of Negan’s victim has been kept under wraps, if you ignore the baseless rumors. However, the obsession with the victim of Negan’s baseball bat, Lucille, has been so overwhelming that very little attention is being paid to what comes after.
Robert Kirkman did intimate that the reason the kill wasn’t revealed in the sixth season finale was because the sixth season was all about Rick’s “loss of confidence.” It was about “changing their mindset,” and “tearing Rick Grimes down.” On the other hand, the identity of Negan’s victim was withheld because it sets up the season seven storyline. Amid all the speculation on who will die, we have lost focus on what that season seven storyline will be.
We do know, thanks to a Digital Spy interview with Greg Nicotero, that it won’t be a literal adaptation of what happens in the comics:
I don’t think we would be doing the material justice if we just regurgitated it word for word. There are iconic moments, and there are things that we will pay tribute to, and even if we don’t do it exactly the same way that we find it in the comic book, we will find a way for fans of the graphic novel to feel like they are getting their money’s worth.
What can we expect? The sixth season finale offered some clues. Carol and Morgan have hopefully broken out of their no-kill funk, and they look to be joining another colony, The Kingdom, where we will meet their leader, Ezekiel, and his pet tiger, Shiva. Interestingly, we still don’t know who will play Ezekiel. We should also find out if poor Enid is still stuck in the closet that Carl left her in at the end of season six.
Beyond that, we don’t really know what’s going to happen, although we can assume that Negan will be in the driver’s seat and that Rick will finally feel the power of helplessness. We also know, thanks to Greg Nicotero, that next season will be “very different.”
The next season is a very different Walking Dead from the one we are accustomed to. I think that people will enjoy that the show continues to change direction and doesn’t just deliver the same thing over and over again. It’s the logical place where our show should go.
What exactly that means we won’t know until the seventh season premieres, but hopefully it means the series will rely less on “supply runs” to move the plot. Hopefully, it will also take a break from the soap-opera driven romantic entanglements of the survivors. It will be exciting, however, to see Rick and his crew under the thumb of another character. As great as Rick Grimes is, the man could use a little humility.
It should also be interesting to see The Walking Dead move away from Alexandria, and spend some time in other camps. The Hilltop Colony still has a place in the series, Negan’s camp will become a focus, and the Kingdom will feature heavily into the seventh season. Hopefully, that will also mean that the series can play less attention to some of those Alexandrian red shirts in the pantry that often seemed to fill the gaps in the sixth season.
(Via Digital Spy)