While there was not a cliffhanger in between the seventh and eighth season on The Walking Dead, as there was last year, Robert Kirkman and showrunner Scott Gimple have nevertheless managed to create some mystery going into the eighth season premiere in October. Out of San Diego Comic-Con, the trailer for the upcoming season ended with a mysterious scene that saw Rick Grimes — older but well rested — lying in bed. The scene — along with the shot of a walking cane that precedes it — is straight out of the comics, and those familiar with the source material know exactly where it fits in.
That scene is the first in a time jump of two-to-five years that comes right after the All Out War ends. Rick is sporting a walking cane because at the end of the All Out War, Negan falls on Rick and breaks his leg.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Robert Kirkman seems to concede that the scene does refer to the time jump in the comics, but throws comic readers off balance by suggesting that we’ll find out more about that scene in the season premiere. That is an odd statement to make because the time jump doesn’t come until after the All Out War, and the All Out War is just getting started as season eight opens.
“You’re supposed to be talking about that, and that is an intriguing tidbit that we did throw out there on purpose, and we’re hoping that people continue to question how it is that fits into the storyline and what it is,” said Kirkman. “Comic book fans know where a scene that looked like that would fall, but it also doesn’t seem like we would be getting to that just yet if you were a comic book fan, so there’s a mystery to that.”
So, are Kirkman and Co., skipping the All Out War and going straight to the time jump in the premiere?
“We all know it’s the All Out War storyline. Season eight, we’re trying to do a more fast-paced, action-packed season really focusing on momentum,” said Kirkman. “Over the first seven seasons, we’ve set all the characters into place, and now it’s time to break them, to a certain extent.”
So, what exactly is going on? My guess is that season eight will begin with a flash forward. The season will begin with the time-jump scene, and most likely within that scene create another mystery (such as the fate of an unknown character), and then jump back into the All Out War, which will ultimately lead up to the time jump again in the season eight finale.
What’s also interesting about that time jump is that we’ll probably get to see baby Judith as a four to six year old, and — assuming Maggie survives the season — we may get to see Glen and Maggie’s two-to-four year old baby as well. Carl, assuming he survives, may also be old enough to grow facial hair himself after the time jump. It’ll be interesting to see if he and Enid — who was just promoted to series regular — are an item in the future. It will also move us closer to the pairing of Jesus and his new boyfriend, but sadly, it will also inch us closer to another major death from the comic series.
We’ll find out when The Walking Dead returns on October 22nd.