New Walking Dead Pictures Might Be Telling Us Who Season 8’s Most Important Characters Are

the walking dead title
(Image credit: Image courtesy of AMC)

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:

the walking dead season 8 carol portrait amc

(Image credit: Image courtesy of AMC)

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!

the walking dead season 8 eugene portraint amc

(Image credit: Image courtesy of AMC)

Unlike Carol, Eugene is not on the side of the good guys as of the end of The Walking Dead Season 7. He assimilated into the Saviors pretty quickly after being kidnapped by Negan, and he's found a comfortable place for himself among Negan's ranks. He's not the most despicable Savior, as he did attempt to help Sasha in his own way, but he's also not somebody that Rick and Co. are probably going to go out of their way to help. Eugene doesn't look too happy in this picture, which could point toward some internal conflict as war brews between the various sides.

the walking dead season 8 simon portrait amc

(Image credit: Image courtesy of AMC)

Simon has never been on the side of the good guys. As Negan's right hand man on the show, he's arguably the second worst Savior to make an enemy of in the zombie apocalypse. As long as Simon is alive, it will be hard for anybody to get to Negan. Furthermore, Simon has made it abundantly clear that he intends to gets his hands on Daryl after Daryl killed Fat Joey and escaped from the Sanctuary. We already knew that Steven Ogg has been promoted to regular status for Season 8; the incredibly creepy picture above indicates that he'll be doing plenty of harm in his time on screen.

The Walking Dead returns to AMC on Sunday, October 22 at 9 p.m. ET. Swing by our breakdown of what we know so far about Season 8 for a peek ahead, and don't forget to take a look at our fall TV premiere guide.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel, but will sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation.