The Walking Dead is one of the most intense shows on television, and hiatuses between seasons can feel almost painfully long. We're still a month away from the premiere of Season 8, and not a whole lot of new footage has been released about what's to come, aside from the epic (and somewhat confusing) trailer. Luckily, AMC has released a set of new pictures that could tell us at least which characters of the ensemble are going to be especially important moving forward.

AMC released portrait photos of six characters: Rick (Andrew Lincoln), Carl (Chandler Riggs), Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), Carol (Melissa McBride), Eugene (Josh McDermitt), and Simon (Steven Ogg). While it's no surprise that Rick, Carl, and Negan got their own special pictures, the other three are more unexpected. The Walking Dead has a pretty vast ensemble of characters at this point, and even the occasional bloodbath culling of the survivors hasn't done a whole lot to thin out the cast. Instead of pics of Daryl and Michonne and Maggie, we get Carol, Eugene, and Simon. The new photos indicate that these are characters to watch when the new season hits the airwaves.

Carol is firmly on the side of the good guys, as she was part of the crew that fought off the Saviors and the Scavengers in the Season 7 finale. The battle saw the groups from Alexandria, Hilltop, and the Kingdom joining forces against their common enemies. She was quite an important part of the Season 7 story, as it was through Carol that we got our first good looks at King Ezekiel and the Kingdom. Now that Ezekiel has joined the fight, it was possible that The Walking Dead would nudge Carol out of the spotlight and focus on him. Fortunately, the portrait of Carol released ahead of Season 8 indicates that this is not the case. Check her out:

Carol looks locked and loaded and ready for all-out war. Showrunner Scott Gimple teased that Carol's whole journey over the years so far has prepared her for what's to come, and she'll show strength, bravery, and ingenuity in Season 8. Unlike Ezekiel, she knows the brutality of the zombie apocalypse world, and he won't be able to deal with it as well as she can. If the photo is anything to go by, we'll get to see plenty of the next stage of her journey in Season 8.

Head on over to the next page for a look at the new image of Eugene in The Walking Dead Season 8!

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