By now, fans of The Walking Dead know what to expect in the seventh season premiere. Negan is going to take his baseball bat, Lucille, and bash someone’s head in. What viewers are less sure of what’s coming after the major character death. What we should not expect is a big huge action sequence, like we saw in the fifth-season premiere in Terminus, or in the sixth-season premiere with 2,000 zombies in the quarries, executive producer Greg Nicotero — who directed the seventh-season premiere — tells Entertainment Weekly.
Given the nature of the episode — the loss of a beloved character — we can expect a heavy season premiere:
You know, the first episode, obviously, was pretty intense and pretty brutal, and pretty sad and emotional and definitely a challenge for everybody involved to sort of take us to this different place, but the show has a lot of really unique flavors to offer.
Nicotero also said the season premiere is still being edited, so we won’t necessarily find out who Negan kills at the beginning of the episode.
However, after the death, the season will quickly pick up the pieces and move on. “It’s going to happen pretty rapidly and pretty dramatically as we get into episodes 1, 2, 3, and 4,” Nicotero told EW. The death will be an “anchor point,” that will “propel the characters forward” and into exciting “new worlds.”
Those worlds will definitely include a return to The Hilltop Colony. The show will also spend a lot of time with Negan and the Saviors in his community. The other new community will be The Kingdom, led by King Ezekiel, although no announcement has yet been made on who will be cast in that role. We are “going to get a chance to meet a lot of new people,” Nicotero says, and that includes at least one bad-ass grandma, Naomi, as well as Beth 2.0.
In other words, there’s a lot to look forward to in season seven beyond finding out who Negan’s victim will be. There will be some big changes, and among the best reasons to watch will be the continued presence of Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s Negan.