When The Walking Dead May Bring Negan's Reign To An End

walking dead rick and maggie in hilltop

With years' worth of comic book storytelling left in the tank, AMC's The Walking Dead has finally come upon what is arguably the most exciting arc in the comics, the "All Out War" between Negan's Saviors and "just about everyone else." We know that the show will get a tad more light-hearted thanks to the energetic reprisal of Team Family in Ass-Kicking Mode, and a new season synopsis has been revealed by the network, which teases Negan's villainous stronghold may soon becoming to an end. Check out the relevant parts of the synopsis below, which we'll immediately pick apart right after.

This season, Rick brings "All Out War" to Negan and his forces. The Saviors are larger, better-equipped, and ruthless -- but Rick and the unified communities are fighting for the promise of a brighter future. The battle lines are drawn as they launch into a kinetic, action-packed offensive.Up until now, survival has been the focus of Rick and our group, but it's not enough. They have to fight to take back their freedom so that they can live. So that they can rebuild. As with any battle, there will be losses. Casualties. But with Rick leading the Alexandrian forces, Maggie leading the Hilltop, and King Ezekiel leading the Kingdom -- Negan and the Saviors' grip on this world may finally be coming to an end.

First, let's all applaud the fact that The Walking Dead TV show for actually using "All Out War" in that synopsis, since neither the creative team nor the marketing has been very reliant on it, despite it being the most synopsis-friendly arc title from the comics. I mean, there was a point when showrunner Scott Gimple was making it sound like the television series was gearing up for a storyline that might not have focused on the war as much, so we're thankful that big battles are approaching. And if Negan fails to make it all the way to Season 9 as Rick's brawl-worthy opponent, that would be exciting, too.

Truth be told, TV audiences don't even fully know how long Negan and the Saviors have had their deadly grip on the world, though we know that Lucille has been gripped for more than a few statement-making skull-crushings. But while past attempts to shut them down did not go well -- See: Oceanside -- that was but one community attempting to revolt, while there are three well-populated areas making a stand in Season 8, and with Rick, Maggie and Ezekiel co-leading the cause, it shouldn't be nearly as troublesome to bring the Saviors down. (Except for Steven Ogg's Simon, who should be immortal.) And what's more, we might not even have to wait until the end of the season to see Negan's downfall happen.

dwight negan and eugene season 8 walking dead

After all, we're only at the beginning of September, and it's very likely that the back half of Season 8 hasn't even been fully formulated and written. So there's definitely a possibility that the first half of Season 8 could cap off with Team Family formally gaining the upper hand by "winning" the war. And as comic fans know, winning doesn't mean killing every single enemy. So while the casualties are definitely coming, we might not see THAT many dead bodies before Negan and the Saviors face a proper defeat. (At least dead bodies of characters that we're familiar with, as opposed to nameless Hilltop residents and the like.) Things can only go better for Rick & Co. once Dwight gets more into his double-crossing duties, which will hopefully also bring Eugene back into the good guy fold.

Should Negan's reign come to an end even one full episode before Season 8 is complete, it will be extremely interesting to see how The Walking Dead follows it up, considering there was that pretty notable time jump in the source material. I mean, even if it doesn't happen until the last moments of the finale, we'll still be wondering how the hell Season 9 would start off. And that flash-forward shot of Older Rick from the first Season 8 trailer has to be tied in, right? Even though that'll get referenced in the premiere, it still seems relevant.

Sure, Jadis and her junkyard dawgs will likely become a nuisance for some of all of our dutiful protagonists, and there's always that whole walker threat happening. So we're definitely not saying it'll be easy for Team Family to shut Team Negan down, but it might happen sooner than later.

While we'll be pondering what characters will be taken down for the count in Season 8, we'll get to see all the still-standing survivors when the show returns to AMC on Sunday, October 22, at 9:00 p.m. ET. And to see everything that'll be shambling around the small screen before and after that, head to our fall premiere schedule.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native and an Assistant Managing Editor with a focus on TV and features. His humble origin story with CinemaBlend began all the way back in the pre-streaming era, circa 2009, as a freelancing DVD reviewer and TV recapper.  Nick leapfrogged over to the small screen to cover more and more television news and interviews, eventually taking over the section for the current era and covering topics like Yellowstone, The Walking Dead and horror. Born in Louisiana and currently living in Texas — Who Dat Nation over America’s Team all day, all night — Nick spent several years in the hospitality industry, and also worked as a 911 operator. If you ever happened to hear his music or read his comics/short stories, you have his sympathy.