Production for season eight of The Walking Dead might be delayed due to the increasingly-real possibility of a Writers Guild of America strike, but the creative team is chugging along like it’s business as usual. The AMC series just added two new characters to the cast: Dillon, who TVLine describes as a “sexy, blue-collar twentysomething whose survival skills include sarcasm” (so, Spencer?), and Abbud, “an innately likable Muslim American whose nerves are, let’s say, jangled, because he’s flown solo for too long in zombieland.”
There’s no word on which side — Alexandria or the Saviors — the newbies will be on, or how long they’re signed up for, although “the casting notice for the roles hints that the actor chosen might get picked up for subsequent seasons.” The loser will, presumably, be thrown into a furnace by Negan.
In other Walking Dead news: showrunner Scott. M Gimple told Entertainment Weekly that season eight will fix one of the show’s biggest story-telling problems. “By virtue of the fact that the narrative has turned into one of pretty intense conflict,” he said, “it’s going to affect the structure in ways that make it a bit more kinetic, a bit more breakneck — shifting away from entire stories in one episode, and sort of fractured over several episodes, with little pieces of each story coming together.” Gimple continued, “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.”
Some of the best episodes of the series have been dedicated to a single character — like the Morgan-centric “Here’s Not Here” — but that structure has also given us many of the most boring, like Tara’s Oceanside visit. Not only does it feel like a plot-stalling diversion, it also sidelines the rest of the cast. The Walking Dead should never go more than two episodes without Carol again. Gimple’s plan for season eight (and beyond) should fix that.