Somehow, it feels like Jeffrey Dean Morgan's Negan just showed up on The Walking Dead to make life as miserable as possible for Rick and the rest of the non-Savior survivors. (Which is a group Eugene is still no longer a part of, apparently.) But no, the entirety of Season 7 is but a thing of the past, and our focus has now turned to the show's future and how topsy-turvy the action of the All Out War will get in Season 8.
And so here we are, at the top of our comprehensive guide for everything that'll be happening in The Walking Dead universe during Season 8, and we'll be focused on everything from story elements to casting reveals to first looks. Put your best "get revenge on Negan" face on and don't forget to bookmark the page so you can check back for more updates. If it wasn't already obvious, spoilers for Season 7 are all over the place, as are some spoilers for the corresponding comic book arcs, so be warned.
When Will The Walking Dead Season 8 Premiere?
AMC will unleash its undead beasts when The Walking Dead Season 8 makes its grand debut on Sunday, October 22, at 9:00 p.m. ET. It'll be something of an extended episode, as the episode itself is around 47 minutes, making the actual airtime last for an hour and seven minutes. The premiere will, of course, be followed by the season premiere of Chris Hardwick's Talking Dead.
What Have We Seen From The Walking Dead Season 8?
With the Season 8 premiere of The Walking Dead right around the corner, the show has gotten pretty gung ho about releasing new clips and new footage, although a lot of it comes from the very first trailer that got released back at San Diego Comic-Con. You can watch that trailer below.
Since that trailer was released, AMC has put out a handful of other and less involved previews, and most of which recycle visuals and voiceover from that first big preview. There are a few new moments in other trailers, of course, but nothing that got fans' blood pumping quite like that one. Although I have to say that this year's bath of reused clips still come across better than they did last year, when the show was still trying to keep a tight lid on who Negan killed, which meant they could only show moments from Negan's still-going intro, and other characters that weren't in his lineup.
Now we can't wait to see more trailers featuring footage from episodes beyond the season premiere.
What Will The Walking Dead Season 8 Be About?
It took the majority of Season 7, but The Walking Dead finally reached one of the source material's biggest arcs: the All Out War between Rick and Negan. Though the build-up was handled slightly differently for live-action, with Sasha's big sacrifice flipping things around for the inciting factor, the story is still set for Season 8 to showcase the bulk of the big battles between The Saviors and all the other communities. We have tons of questions about what will happen when the show returns, and there have thankfully been some hints as to what we can expect.
For one, executive producer and finale director Greg Nicotero says that Season 8's storyline launches off from a big moment within Season 7's capper: when Rick and Negan are staring each other down before Shiva arrived, in a way that was completely opposite from how they faced each other in the season premiere. Rick is no longer afraid of Negan and his showboating evil, and he's gathered all the troops he believes is necessary in order to turn the tides in an action-packed way. That plays into what Scott Gimple has stated about the way Season 8 will change things up completely from Season 7, with the impending war making episodes a lot "more kinetic and fast-moving," with a larger focus on bringing the characters together more, as opposed to separating everyone, as it went with Season 7's standalone entries.
We'll get to see Morgan reverting back to his more murder-friendly days. We'll see Daryl on a mission for revenge. We'll see Carol step back into the fold while returning to her more badass days. And all in all, a lot more militia-based action will get the focus in Season 8's premiere, titled "Mercy."
We're not necessarily sure if the All Out War will last for the entire season, or if The Walking Dead will handle things in a way that allows the last episode or two to close the battle-heavy story out. And considering the Old Rick flash-forward we saw in the pilot, there are definitely going to be fans waiting to see if that's indicative of a legitimate future for Team Family, or if it will just be a dream sequence of some kind. (You know, since Rick lies to have optimistic daydreams and all.) But at least we don't have to worry about it all being a big coma fantasy.
What Comic Events And Characters Will The Walking Dead Season 8 Probably Cover?
As we've already discussed, the overall Season 8 arc will likely center on the fight for post-apocalyptic supremacy, with Alexandria teaming up with The Kingdom and Hilltop to remove Negan from his place of power as the domineering head of the Saviors. That ongoing conflict should provide plenty of instances taken from the source material, and The Walking Dead comics are the best place to look for what we might see next in the TV series. (No guarantees, though.)
For one, Negan and Rick's first TV battle didn't almost completely destroy Alexandria like it did on the page, and that was a very important element for Team Family's situation and motivations. So I'm definitely hoping to see this central location take more of a beating in the future, though this could easily be one of several cases where a huge moment from the source material has to be reworked to fit the budget. Which means other community-wide attacks could also see limited adaptations. But even if they aren't quite as large as the Season 7 finale's third act, the clashes should still be a blast to watch. There's one particular tactic that Negan uses, specifically regarding weapons, that should make for some interesting moments that don't require huge effects.
Assuming things play out somewhat similarly, Dwight should have an even bigger role to play in Season 8. Now that he's aligned himself with Team Family, he's capable of engaging in intrigue-heavy spy-work for Rick, along with utilizing any other advantages he can as one of Negan's trusted Saviors. I'm hesitant to believe that Dwight's story will be identical to the comics, as there's something about the live-action version that makes me believe he won't ever really fully be anyone's team player but himself and Sherry.
Outside of Rick and Negan's circle, we can hopefully anticipate Maggie taking on more of an official leadership role within Hilltop, as her rivalry with Gregory will grow. This all seems likely, considering Gregory was too eager to flock to the Sanctuary once he got his precious ego bruised over not having killed any walkers before. We could see Maggie's BFF Jesus start up a relationship with someone, now that his sexuality has been confirmed. As well, it would make comic sense to have Eugene return to the world of the protagonists here, since that's how it went on the page, but Josh McDermitt's iteration of the character is far more loyal to Negan than Comic Eugene was, so it's unclear where the hell that's going.
To be expected, characters will be coming and going during Season 8, too, though the introductions aren't so plentiful as they were last year. (I cannot wait until we get a live-action Earl the blacksmith, for instance.) And interestingly, a handful of the people who bite the dust during this arc of the comic series have already been killed off of the TV show, such as Nicholas and Richard, who went out in more dramatically satisfying ways on TV than they did on the page. Of course, Andrea is also still alive in the comics, while Carol isn't, so other characters will almost certainly be filling those Richard and Nicholas spots as new victims. Let the speculation begin.
What New Characters Will The Walking Dead Season 8 Introduce?
Similar to how we still haven't seen any new footage just yet, neither The Walking Dead nor AMC has come forward with any announcements about what new actors and characters we can expect to see in Season 8. Honestly, the show could really go a while without having to worry about bringing any new faces into the narrative, since Season 7 went completely overboard when it came to introducing different communities filled with new blood. Not only did we meet some new Hilltop residents, but we also got Ezekiel and his entire Kingdom -- including Jerry! -- as well as a ton of new Saviors whose names are basically interchangeable outside of Simon, Arat and Gavin.
Then there was the episode where Tara stumbled upon the female-exclusive Oceanside community, with leader Natania and her less scowl-worthy crew. And as if all those folks weren't enough, the back half of Season 7 introduced a second set of survivors that didn't come from the source material, at least not in a clearly stated way. with Jadis and the junkyard-dwelling Scavengers. Hopefully both of these groups will get explored further in the new year, and Rick can get some kind of revenge for the Scavengers' backstabbing.
Who Won't Be Returning For The Walking Dead Season 8?
Because this is The Walking Dead, there will obviously be a significant character turnaround from one season to the next, just as there has been since the shortened first season bowed out. And that won't be an exception for Season 8, which will be missing quite a few big names that were taken away in Season 7. Let's spend a few moments remembering the more notable deaths below.
Though it would soon get eclipsed by Glenn's mashed brains, Abraham's death was just as powerful in the moment, as it was a stark variation from the comics. It was also gross as all get out, with all the post-mortem twitching inspiring far more chills than the bloody special effects. Fans thankfully got to revisit Abraham in the season finale, but that was likely his last appearance.
Quite possibly the most discussed death in all of The Walking Dead's many grisly demises, Glenn's exit from the show was extremely gruesome and about as faithful to the character's iconic comic death as could be. Except way more disgusting because it was a "real" eyeball being reverse-gouged from his skull. Showrunner Scott Gimple recently hinted at a possible return from Glenn, but we won't be counting on it until it happens.
The only member of the Monroe family to make it to Season 7, Spencer didn't add a lot to The Walking Dead during his stint, but he at least managed to give Rosita's narrative a much-needed boost in the end, as their temporary flirting came to a dead stop with his stomach being sliced open by Negan. It was in the middle of the street and next to a pool table that Spencer died, not as he lived, surrounded by his own innards.
Po' lil Olivia. The Alexandrian was mostly a background character until Negan arrived and targeted her on several occasions for one reason or another. She did more harm to Negan than just about everyone else when she slapped him across the face that one time. She paid the ultimate price later, serving as a random victim of Savior Arat in the aftermath of Rosita's ill-timed assassination attempt.
Dr. Emmett Carson
As one of the few known medical practitioners still living in The Walking Dead's universe, Dr. Emmett Carson was a valuable asset to Negan and The Sanctuary. But not so valuable that Negan wouldn't sentence him to death by throwing him headfirst into a furnace, all because Dwight lied and blamed Carson for letting Daryl escape. Luckily, he's got a brother in the same field.
A character without much of a story going for him, Benjamin was a protégé of Morgan, who saw much promise in the young lad. Of course, that was all cut short thanks to Richard's shitty melon plan, which resulted in Benjamin's death via Savior Jared's bullet. As if that wasn't bad enough, he has a younger brother that probably won't live too long if he's ever seen again.
A loyal soldier in the comics, TV Richard started out with virtues and managed to lose most of them by the end, as he let his obsession with taking a stand destroy what was a pretty decent existence within The Kingdom to that point. He first threatened Carol in front of Daryl, and then his foolhardy plan which got Benjamin killed was too much for Morgan, who strangled Richard to death in front of others.
Savior David was one of the biggest pieces of shit to ever show up on The Walking Dead, and it would surprise no one if it turned out he was related to Joe the Claimer. David had zero redeeming qualities, which is saying something, even for a Savior. He creeped Enid out, beat the shit out of Aaron and likely would have sexually assaulted Sasha, had Negan not stepped up and shanked him through the throat like a boss.
A huge twist from the source material, at least when allowing for the fact that Sasha took Holly's comic fate, Sasha's death (and her mental state just prior to it) were handled quite beautifully, as she reminisced about Abraham and others while waiting to die from her suicide pills. And though her plan to kill Negan in her walker form didn't work, it was still an awesome scene.
Where Can I Watch The Walking Dead Season 7?
Currently, The Walking Dead Season 7 is available to stream on Netflix, as are Seasons 1-6, so fans can definitely get their binge-watch on whenever free time comes up. As well, the season is currently out on Blu-ray and DVD, complete with a Sanctuary-load of special features. AMC's website is sometimes a good bet for those without Netflix or an urge to buy Blu-rays, as all 16 Season 7 episodes are available right now with commercial interruption. And, of course, AMC will be hosting a mega TV marathon leading up to Season 8's premiere, with the entirety of Season 7 airing throughout Sunday, October 22. (The Season 7 finale will even have an extended scene not previously shown to TV audiences.)
So there you have it, Dead lovers. Even though that's all we know at the moment, things could definitely change soon, so keep checking back to see what else has happened while you were away. And, in the meantime, when you're not reading through our Facebook and Twitter pages, head to our midseason premiere schedule and our summer TV guide to see what's coming to the small screen in the near future.