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Spoilers below for anyone who isn't caught up with The Walking Dead through Episode 15.
While each season of The Walking Dead has myriad ups and downs for its characters and plotlines, everything usually comes together in spectacular ways for the finales, and Season 8 looks to be no different, with the All Out War's denouement now so close that we can smell it. (And it's pretty gross.) But while we know that it'll be an exciting and game-changing experience, there are still so many situations that have yet to be cleared up, with more mysteries presumably being introduced during the finale itself. Before we start considering Season 9's enigmas, though, let's take a look at all the big questions we have about the Season 8 finale, titled "Wrath."
Will Negan Actually Die?
As TV has taught us time and again, war really only ends when either the good leader or the bad leader gets killed. The Walking Dead can't quite boast a "good" one, but Negan is probably worse in comparison to Rick, and while instincts would say that the big bad will meet his maker in the Season 8 finale, that's not at all how it goes in the source material. Will the TV show stay faithful to Negan's comic fate, or will fans have to bid Jeffrey Dean Morgan a pants-shittingly fond farewell?
Our Guess: Rick will have mercy on Negan, but someone else will deliver the unwanted death blow.
What Makes Morgan Leave?
For months now, we've known that Lennie James' Morgan Jones would be the first character to cross over from the flagship series to companion series Fear the Walking Dead, but all involved have been a lot less open about why that was going down. That outcome is likely tied to the fact that Morgan is regularly having hallucinations, sometimes of dead people and sometimes of living people as if they're dead. So things will almost definitely come down to him killing someone he shouldn't have, or not killing someone that he needed to.
Our Guess: As mentioned above, Morgan will probably kill Negan (or some other important character) against others' wishes, and he'll exile himself.
Will Jadis Ever Get Her Helicopter Ride?
After being introduced as a silent menace, Pollyanna McIntosh's Jadis finally got time to shine after her group was brutally massacred, and she's a lynchpin in the big helicopter mystery that's gotten more relevant recently (but won't be explained yet). Negan may have thwarted her latest chances for escape, but was that the only time window for her to leave, or does the helicopter's unidentified pilot make regular scouting trips to seek survivors? And either way, will Jadis be one of the few Rick-crossing characters to make a clean getaway, or will she get killed off before making an airborne exit?
Our Guess_: _ No one survives a Rick betrayal for long, so we think she'll meet her maker, but probably not in the heat of a battle or helicopter crash.
How Much Carl Will We See?
Thanks to early photos released by AMC, we know that The Walking Dead's Season 8 finale will feature a flashback of some kind, likely tethered to Carl's memories in his letter to Rick. And when I'd asked Chandler Riggs about other scenes he'd filmed popping up later in the season, his lack of a straight answer made it seem very possible. (I do realize Riggs' letter-reading voiceover may have been what he avoided talking about there.) But at least one iteration of Carl Grimes will be in the episode, and we want to know how big of a presence he and his utopian ideals will have.
Our Guess: Rick will probably have fleeting thoughts or dreams about his son's memories, free from any major new Carl scenes.
Will Rick Survive?
A couple of years ago, no one would have doubted Andrew Lincoln's beard still partially leading the way into The Walking Dead Season 9, but Rick's fate has gotten much more malleable since then, especially after Carl's death. We know he gets severely injured at some point and hangs out against that stained-glass tree, but is he suffering from a mortal wound, or a survivable one? In this dark universe, it stands to reason that Rick could very well switch paths and show mercy to his enemies, only for it to lethally bite him on the ass. Could Judith be the only remaining Grimes when Season 9 starts?
Our Guess: Rick may get injured in a way that leaves him with permanent disfigurement, but we don't think he'll be killed off just seven episodes after Carl. And not in an episode that'll feature so many other deaths.
Will This Be The End Of Maggie's Story?
This question is unique in that it involves some real-world machinations as well. Maggie Rhee's reign of power within Hilltop, while still a relatively new thing, has given Lauren Cohan more moments to shine. But because of contract renewal disputes, Cohan could very well be leaving The Walking Dead before next season. She's already got a pilot lined up for series contention, and the finale was almost definitely filmed before all this began in earnest, so Maggie's story likely wasn't designed to end in a way in which any subsequent absence could be explained. Could this end up looking even worse than the Heath debacle?
Our Guess: Even if Lauren Cohan does decides not to return to The Walking Dead as a series regular for Season 9, she would probably still return to close out Maggie's story in a meaningful way.
What Will Happen With Dwight?
TV Dwight shares a few things in common with his comic counterpart, such as the burned face, the Sherry relationship, and the double-crossing. But beneath those overarching similarities, many details have been changed, making Dwight's current situation nearly impossible to predict using the source material. Negan knows everything now, and Dwight will (at least temporarily) be a shoddily dressed prisoner instead of a corpse like Simon, but how long will that last? One would assume Negan will instantly kill him for even nodding in the wrong direction at this point, so Dwight can't afford any mistakes. But is his hatred for Negan strong enough for an impulsive self-sacrifice?
Our Guess: Dwight's consistent polarization within Team Family doesn't bode well for him surviving long enough to match his comic iteration's arc.
Will Daryl Take Over Dwight's Comic Story?
It's a natural follow-up question to the above, right? Ever since Dwight first appeared and stole all Daryl's shit, the characters have maintained parallels that largely make Dwight the character feel irrelevant, even if Dwight's arc itself is important. With the semi-Savior closer than ever to pushing up post-apocalyptic daisies now, Daryl has a solid chance of finally reaching a point where he can take over specific comic stories and moments. In the comics, post-War Dwight heads up a group of rehabilitated Saviors that are mostly glad to be rid of Negan, and the still salty Daryl would be a good choice to oversee the Hilltop's Saviors and other repentant villains.
Our Guess: Since we fully expect Dwight to get killed off, it only makes sense to port his comic arc onto a surviving TV character with a crossbow.
Who Gets To Kill Gregory?
Though I honestly couldn't be more amused and enthused by Xander Berkeley's histrionic performances as Gregory, the character himself is overly ripe for a broken nose and a shallow grave. Because TV Gregory was ousted as Hilltop's leader long before Comic Gregory was, it doesn't seem like the live-action series will be adapting the remainder of that storyline to the letter. (Someone else can fill some of those shoes.) So without anywhere to put the flip-flopping sumbitch, Gregory should find himself the victim of a particularly memorable murder. But who will get the privilege of making it happen?
Our Guess: While Maggie would be a prime choice to push him off a roof, I'm betting Gregory gets ended by a really weak and easy-to-kill walker.
Will Eugene Kill Someone In Team Family?
Eugene used to be one of meekest characters on The Walking Dead, and by "used to be," I'm referring to just two episodes ago. But now that he has been ridiculed and had his life threatened by Rosita (and Daryl, but mostly Rosita), Eugene is apparently motivated to rain hell down upon his former friends. But for all the shitty things Eugene has done while within the Sanctuary, he hasn't intentionally brought harm to any of the protagonists, as that would almost definitely ruin him in viewers' eyes. So will he cross that line in the Season 8 finale, or will he possibly find redemption?
Our Guess: The Walking Dead has worked hard to push Eugene out of hero mode, so I think he'll do the damned thing, regardless of the consequences.
What's Up With Father Gabriel, For Real?
Because The Walking Dead's current timeline has stretched a relatively short time period out for so long, it's difficult to grasp that Father Gabriel hasn't really been sick for months on end. But it feels like ages to viewers, and the sickness' existence hasn't really done much to affect the narrative, besides making Gabriel look like an instrument of Godlike abilities. So is he really just suffering from some common ailment that'll eventually clear up? Does he have some fatal sickness due to covering him self with walker guts erroneously? Is it radiation poisoning? What is the deal here?
Our Guess: This truly feels like one of those Walking Dead mysteries that will never get an answer, regardless of what happens to Gabriel.
How Will Oceanside Quickly Get Relevant?
Aaron made it his mission to sway Oceanside to help win the war, and Negan revealed that Simon was actually the one responsible for massacring the community's male population. With that kind of set-up, they're obviously going to play a big role in the finale, but in what way? With Simon dead, will the women be all the more eager to fight the Saviors? And will their impact be visible in any meaningful ways besides the fact that they have a lot of weapons? I certainly hope so, because Oceanside has so far not lived up to the promise of its interesting history.
Our Guess: It'll probably just be about the weapons, but perhaps some or all of the Oceanside women will join the main groups for Season 9, which could be cool.
Will Georgie Return?
When Jayne Atkinson's Georgie first appeared on The Walking Dead, it was a breath of distinctively less pungent air. Her talk of music and other communities unlocked the world outside the All Out War's perimeter, which is also being done on Fear the Walking Dead, and she quite possibly hinted at the arrival of the comic book's current New World Order arc, which would be another first for the franchise. But will Georgie already make good on her promise to Maggie by already returning in The Walking Dead's finale, or will we have to wait until Season 9 to learn more about the mysterious civilization restorer?
Our Guess: Considering what she told me, I do expect to see her in some form, possibly in a future where the schematics in her book have come to life.
Will There Be A Time Jump?
Rather than showing a full reconstruction period following the All Out War, The Walking Dead comics employed a time jump that introduced new benchmarks for the modern society, and fans have long questioned whether or not the TV show would follow suit. With the finale serving as that bloody line in the sand, and with exiting showrunner Scott Gimple teasing all the new elements coming in Season 9, one wouldn't be crazy to hypothesize such a time jump will indeed occur in live-action. But will we indeed see a sign of it in the finale, possibly with Georgie involved? Or will we have to wait for the real-world future?
Our Guess: The finale will start and end with moments that reflect points in the somewhat distant future, something like Carl's dreamt-up future.
Could The Whisperers Get Teased?
Depending on who you ask, we might have already gotten subtle references to the Whisperers, the Walking Dead comics' first big villain after Negan, but we're talking about something far more forthright. Such a reveal wouldn't necessarily need to involve a time jump, but that would allow a certain someone to bring the grody-ass group to power, should the creative team choose to do so. It might not be such a great idea to end a season-long ordeal by introducing the next big threat, but there are lots of Walking Dead fans out there who dread it when Team Family is living peacefully.
Our Guess: At least one indirect moment that could be considered a Whisperers clue if you really want it to be.
Technically, we have lots of other questions, like whether Carol and Ezekiel will finally hook up, or if Henry is going to die and totally ruin that mood. And whether Hot Savior Alden is going to die with his shirt off. But we'll stick with just the ones listed above for now. Tune into The Walking Dead's Season 8 finale on AMC on Sunday, April 15, at 9:00 p.m. ET. And to see when other shows will be popping up to watch when it's gone, head to our midseason premiere schedule and our summer premiere guide.