It’s been a long 200 days since The Walking Dead‘s sixth season left us frustrated and angry with a finale that many fans of the series hated. Apologies have since been made, and we were all given assurances that the cliffhanger was all part of a bigger plan that we’d understand after we saw the seventh season premiere.
That time arrives on Sunday night. Will The Walking Dead deliver on its promises and make it up to us? Or will the season seven premiere leave us even more disappointed? Before we get to the season premiere, however, we have several questions that we’d like it to answer.
Who Does Negan Kill?
This is the big question and, for many, the only question that matters about The Walking Dead season premiere. Who is on the receiving end of Negan’s baseball bat, Lucille. Will it make sense in the context of Negan’s heartbreaking backstory? We know who it was in the comics. Will Scott Gimple stick to the source material, or will he throw us for a loop? We know from interviews with the episode’s director, Greg Nicotero, that it will be disturbing, and we also know that the choice was not unanimous among those in the writer’s room, but they did choose someone who would create ripples for the remaining survivors. We have our theory, and after six months of waiting, we’re finally going to find out whether the biggest television cliffhanger in years will pay off for AMC.
Will There Be More Than One Death?
There have been mixed signals about whether Negan would kill one or two people with Lucille. Jeffrey Dean Morgan, who plays Negan, suggested as much, but he backed away from comments the next day. There were rumors early on — when the series was filming the premiere episode — that two people would die, and Greg Nicotero has also suggested that there will be “deaths” in the premiere episode. However, more recent speculation has suggested that the second death may arrive in a separate storyline. We do know that the episode is designed to leave viewers devastated.
Will Rick Lose His Hand?
Based on a more recent clip from The Walking Dead , we also know that Negan will make use of a hatchet in the premiere episode. There is speculation that Negan will use it to cut off Rick’s right hand. Rick did lose his hand in the comics, but I would temper expectations where Rick’s hand is concerned. AMC chose not to cut off Rick’s hand early in the series because of the hassle and expense of removing Rick’s hand in post-production. That issue still exists for a character that’s expected to stick around for many more seasons unless, of course, The Walking Dead decides to kill off its lead character this season.
Are Carol and Morgan Killers Again?
When last we left The Walking Dead, two of the show’s most skilled and lethal killers had gone on a no-death strike. Morgan had bought into a philosophy that all life is precious, and he refused to kill even the most dangerous of threats, a belief system that ultimately cost people their lives and endangered others. Carol eventually bought into that belief system herself, after the weight of so many kills — some of them relatively innocent people — began to take its toll. However, in last year’s season finale, Morgan finally broke his vow and killed someone to save Carol. Was that kill a one-off? Or will it open the murder floodgates for both Carol and Morgan. Will they become the Mickey and Mallory of The Walking Dead? They are much more exciting characters when they are taking out threats, so let’s all hope so.
When Will We Meet Ezekiel?
In the season finale, we also saw Carol and Morgan meet a new colony of people called The Kingdom. They ride horses and wear armor. Morgan and Carol are expected to join The Kingdom — at least temporarily — in season seven. Their leader is a man named Ezekiel, who has a pet tiger named Shiva. Ezekiel is exactly what this series needs right now, and it’s not a question if we will meet him this season, but when. Hopefully, we’ll at least get a glimpse of him in the premiere.
Will Alexandria Fall Apart with Father Gabriel In Charge?
So much focus during the hiatus has been paid to Negan and Ezekiel that many viewers have have forgotten that the series still calls Alexandria home base, and right now, Father Gabriel has been left in charge. This is important because we know from the season seven trailer that Negan will eventually invade Alexandria. We don’t know if that will happen in this episode or the next, but Gabriel is obviously not the ideal choice to defend their home. We can assume that he’ll be overrun. What we don’t know is whether he will survive it.
How Will the Alliances Shake Out?
When Negan takes control of Alexandria, new alliances may form. Negan is a stone-cold killer, but remember, he’s also charming. He also has a lot of men under his control. Chances are, he’s going to want to continue to build his army of Saviors, and if there’s one guy in Alexandria poised to switch sides, it’s Spencer. His family is dead; he’s a thorn in Rick’s side; and not even the woman he is sleeping with — Rosita — seems interested in him. Spencer seems like exactly the kind of suck up who will turn on Alexandria and join The Saviors.
Where Are Tara And Heath?
Tara and Heath left on a supply run for two weeks and missed everything when Negan arrived. We don’t know where they are right now, but there has been some debunked speculation that they are primed to meet a future villainous group called The Whisperers. We can also safely assume that Heath doesn’t survive the season — and maybe not even the season premiere — because the actor who plays him, Corey Hawkins, was cast as the lead in Fox’s reboot of 24. It’s also worth nothing that Tara does not yet know that her girlfriend, Denise, was killed by Dwight. That’s going to be a heartbreaking reveal.
Will the Hilltop Colony Survive?
There are big changes coming to this season of The Walking Dead, as it expands into The Kingdom and into Savior country. In addition to Alexandria, there’s also the Hilltop Colony. Tom Payne and Xander Berkley, who play the leaders of the Hilltop Colony, Jesus and Gregory, have been upped to series regulars this year, so we can expect to see a lot of them. However, Jesus was MIA in the season finale, and there are shots from the season 7 trailer that suggests that The Hilltop Colony may not survive much longer. Is a colony consolidation on the horizon? Will the Hilltop Colony join forces with Alexandria (and The Kingdom) to go to battle with The Saviors?
Is Enid Still in the Closet?
The question weighing on the minds of almost everyone as the season seven premiere approaches is whether Enid will be able to escape from the closet Carl locked her in at the end of season six. Jesus, Gregory, Negan, and Dwight were all elevated to series regulars for the seventh season, but Enid was noticeably missing. Is her life in peril? Will she become the Gendry of The Walking Dead: A character no one even notices is missing? Will she starve to death in the closet and be discovered, as a zombie weeks into the future when Carl finally checks the closet for his missing pudding?
Tune in to AMC this Sunday night to find out.