Spoilers below for anyone who hasn't read The Walking Dead comics and doesn't want to know where the story is going, though the larger details surrounding these moments have been left out.
Cable shows that make it to their seventh seasons are usually limping out or are running on fumes, but The Walking Dead is currently telling one of its most vicious storylines, with expansive world-building coming in the past eight episodes. And because franchise creator Robert Kirkman has kept the comic books flowing as consistently as the blood from Spencer's belly buster, there are still tons of mega-moments and intense situations left to come in however many years the TV series has left.
As such, we've rounded up 12 upcoming beats from The Walking Dead's comic books that the TV show definitely needs to use in some way, even if there's some remixing by way of which characters get which moments. This first entry, however, would be pretty impossible to apply to any bipedal survivors.
Shiva In Battle
I don't want to sound greedy when it comes to a magnificent creature such as Shiva, but now that we've seen her skulking around The Kingdom a few times without immediately sinking her big jaws onto an enemy's arm or torso (or leg or head or whatever), it feels like it's time for something more. As the principle of Chekov's Post-Apocalyptic Tiger states, if we meet a terrifying feline, then that terrifying feline is going to get used for something memorable, and the comics have just such a moment in store for Shiva and her owner Ezekiel.
Holly's Last Days
In the early part of the All-Out War between Rick's group and Negan's Saviors, the comics' Holly made some interesting and impulsive decisions to avenge the death of her lover Abraham, leading to one of the series' most unique ways of killing off a main character. Seeing as how The Walking Dead TV show doesn't have a direct counterpart for Holly, it shouldn't be so easy to guess which TV character would get her memorable last days on the page. But given the Abraham connection and everything involved with Sonequa Martin-Green's Star Trek: Discovery role, it's totally Sasha.
Negan's Big Attack On Alexandria
Admittedly, Negan's clever and deadly offensive on Rick's community follows in the immediate aftermath of all things Holly, but the TV show would likely dedicate an entire episode solely to the explosive mayhem and hysteria that Negan's Savior army unleashes on Alexandria as part of the All-Out War. (One would hope that this would be the Season 7 finale or the Season 8 premiere.) While not the biggest or most drawn-out action sequence The Walking Dead has ever delivered, it's perhaps the most Hollywood blockbuster in nature, and should be pretty wild in live-action.
Note that I'm not talking about any long-winded collapse within Negan's Sanctuary walls that ruins the bat-wielding villain's reputation at a glacial pace and eventually gets him impeached and ousted from leadership. I'm referring to that one specific moment between Negan and Rick that completely changed The Walking Dead comics moving forward, and it was a moment in which Negan literally fell down. At this point, I mainly can't wait to see Rick and Negan in any situation together where Rick and his sweaty curls aren't subserviently avoiding everyone's else's gaze, but especially this brutal turning point.
Eugene Finding Love
Romantic and sexual relationships in the walker-filled world aren't the most plentiful, for obvious reasons, but there are still survivors that fans want to see finding happiness through significant others, and Eugene is definitely one of those characters. Thankfully, the mullet-rocking ammo maker of the comics does end up with a long-lasting courtship (by Walking Dead standards, anyway) with Rosita, although if that coupling is indeed happening for AMC, it's taking longer to develop than it did in the source material. Considering how it all ends up further down the road, though, maybe Eugene should find another mate.
Following the All-Out War storyline, Robert Kirkman made the completely unexpected decision to shift The Walking Dead ahead two years, eschewing reconstruction for an immediate window back into civilization. But when the story picks back up, Team Family has gone on without co-leader Michonne, who has been away on her own predictably dangerous and distressing adventures that served as the material for one of Telltale's Walking Dead games. Regardless of whether the TV series introduces the time jump or not, has Michonne and Rick's romance snuffed out her taking exile? Or could Rick possibly be the cause of it?
The Whisperers' Introduction
For a comic that thrives on twists and turns, The Walking Dead's villains (up to and including Negan) have largely bypassed mysterious personas and exuded brash and perverse ones, but that changed upon the arrival of The Whisperers. AMC's Walking Dead has made more of an attempt to add enigmatic elements to baddies like the Terminus crew and the Wolves, but The Whisperers are in a whole new universe of thought where confounding survival is concerned. Posing as walkers by wearing their skin and walking amongst them, The Whisperers could be The Walking Dead's scariest addition yet.
Carl Getting His Eye Socket Licked
Following that two-year jump, Carl Grimes got more awkward looking, more unrelentingly badass, and also became a bigger hit with the ladies. Lydia, whose backstory we'll skip over, took quite a liking to the increasingly surly chap, and during one unpredictably loony entanglement between the two, Lydia makes it physically known that she not only has zero problem licking Carl's eye-hole in a seductive way, but that the act earns her libidinous acclaim. Not a big moment by some standards, but Carl getting a tongue in his eye socket on TV would be EVERYTHING.
Team Family's Biggest Loss
When Glenn became Lucille's first in-issue victim, The Walking Dead took a chunk out of readers' hearts and minds. But when The Whisperers initially proved to Rick & Co. just how dangerous and sadistic and adherent to rules they really were, the comic series took some of my sanity as well. Presumably The Walking Dead's biggest act of premeditated murder in a non-battle scenario, The Whisperers' heartbreaking punishment for Team Family is still reverberating through the comics, and the memorably emphatic way those brutal panels were laid out should a fantastic and disheartening transition to television.
Eugene's New Friend
To be fair, The Walking Dead has introduced so many new people and places in Season 7 that it's fine if no new folks show up until at least the middle of Season 8. (More are on the way, though.) In any case, the prevalence of TV survivors doesn't take away from the extremely intriguing mystery behind Comic Eugene making radio contact with an unknown survivor. It brought technology back into this form of civilization, as well as leaving the door ajar on new narrative puzzler, and that first moment of contact could bring chills in live-action.
Though Negan wasn't killed by Rick in the aftermath of All-Out War, the villain definitely wasn't running around and burning people's faces off as he'd done in the past, mainly because he was stuck inside a jail cell, trying to convince Rick of his evolved trustworthiness. He got his chance to prove it after another character's ill-conceived decision to let him go, and readers' first time tagging along with a post-Savior Negan was beyond fantastic, offering some needed emotional thrust from the leather-loving baddie, as well as another one of the series most ruthless and amazing shockers.
The Whisperers War
I suppose an entire war counts for more than just a "moment," but once the survivors got past the planning and coordination, the actual conflict itself was quite limited. Which isn't to say it wasn't excellent, as the Whisperers' terrifying main weapon beyond their clandestine lifestyle is a thousands-strong horde of walkers used to target the communities. Because the Whisperers fight with stealth and cunning (and with skin flopping around on their faces), this is unlike any Walking Dead battle before it, and one that deserves the scope of Game of Thrones' Battle of the Bastards. Well, almost.
The Walking Dead will return to AMC for the rest of Season 7 on Sunday, February 12, at 9:00 p.m. ET. Head to our midseason premiere schedule to see what else is coming to your TVs in the near future.
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Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.