Beware: if you haven’t seen the previous six seasons of the show, spoilers lie ahead…
Precisely whose skull arch-villain Negan will introduce to Lucille, his barbed wire-wrapped baseball bat, is something we will only learn when season 7 premieres in the US on October 23rd. Until then, here are five of the hottest rumors about what’s to come for Rick Grimes and co.
- Negan is far from finished
- A new leader must be found
- The Kingdom comes
- Carl switches sides
- The Saviours go under
1. Negan is far from finished
For months Negan was teased as by far the show’s worst and most brutal baddie ever. Next to him, The Governor or the cannibals of Terminus look as innocent as choirboys. To meet the high expectations that the hype has fuelled, Negan will have to deliver, and that has to be more than the murder of just one central character.
In that regard, there is a persistent rumour that he will strike more than one of our heroes with Lucille in the new season’s opening scene. Glenn and Abraham are the current favourites for death by bat – yet everything remains to be seen.
2. A new leader must be found
In six seasons of The Walking Dead, Rick Grimes has lost a lot and consistently made mistakes, yet he’s rarely been held fully accountable for them. This time, he’s unlikely to emerge unscathed should one of his few remaining friends and co-survivors die because he led the group to ruin at the hands of Negan. It’s quite conceivable that Rick will step down as the group’s leader, just as he did when he temporarily turned into a peace-loving gardener after the death of his wife Lori.
If so, who will take on his role? Assuming she survives, Maggie has always had the stuff to become the new boss – Rick himself has repeatedly endorsed her leadership credentials. Should it really be Glenn that Negan slays, the Saviours will certainly have one extremely angry widow to deal with.
3. The Kingdom comes
When Carol and Morgan were met by two mysterious knight-like figures during Season 6’s finale, it was clear that the fabled Kingdom of The Walking Dead’s comic book incarnation would not be long in coming. In the teaser trailer for Season 7 we got a first look at King Ezekiel and his house tiger Shiva – and every indication that this group has the potential to be an epic new addition.
4. Carl switches sides
We know that Carl’s childhood spent growing up in the zombie apocalypse has left him extremely hardened and liable to go rogue if he thinks his father has shown too much weakness. If Rick really does capitulate, his relationship with his son will undoubtedly be weakened – possibly leading the latter to seek out another father figure.
In the comic books, Carl succeeds in sneaking into the Saviours’ camp and killing several of them. Instead of punishing the boy, Negan decides to spare him, leading an interesting bond to develop between the two of them.
5. The Saviours go under
No matter how brutal and well-armed Negan and his accomplices are, Rick’s group has repeatedly rescued itself from the direst of situations and proved it is not to be trifled with. Together with the survivors of Alexandria, the Hilltop community and the Kingdom’s residents, they are likely to form an extremely strong alliance that has what it takes to topple the Saviours.