When your TV show is based on one of the most popular comic books in the modern era, you’ve got to be ready for a king’s ransom of rumors and speculation to follow you around, and The Walking Dead showrunner Scott Gimple is becoming a seasoned vet at deflecting plot-specific inquiries about AMC’s hit zombie drama. Arguably the biggest question going into Season 5 is, “What’s the story with these Terminus people?” While popular guesswork identifies them as a group of blood-thirsty cannibals, Gimple still isn’t wholly giving into that notion. Is he playing coy, or have all the fans been duped here?
In an interview with EW, Gimple is asked to comment on Terminus, the safe haven that served as a narrative goal for part of Season 4, and the rampant fan speculation about what these train car-dwellers are really about.
It’s totally fair to go there. I probably would have gone there myself. But I would say, though there is stuff from the comics this season, there is also some stuff that is very much from the imagination of the writers, who include Robert Kirkman, that is not from the comics. It can be inspired by the comics, it can be totally different from the comics. Terminus simply wasn’t in the comics, and it’s its own thing. It might circle back to aspects of the comic, it might be more of a long road to other things in the comic.
That’s about as wishy-washy as someone can get, right? I choose to think of it as him saying the non-comic-related Terminus and its squad came from the imaginations of the writers, which leaves their cannibalistic intentions still available to come from the comic world. (Specifically, the non-negotiating people-eating Hunters that caused quite a leggy fuss around Issue 61.) Not only does the timing vaguely match up, as both occur during Rick & Co.’s trek to Washington D.C., but there have been quite a few clues hinting at the Terminus group’s diet.
Even without looking for deeper meaning in non-obvious visuals, the Season 4 finale gave viewers a handful of hints that make a non-cannibal outcome seem preposterous. For one, Terminus Mary has a BBQ stand (with some suspect meat on it), despite there not being a whole hell of a lot of meaty animals running around the train yard and its nearby crops. Plus, there are all the bones and mystery meat parts on the ground that aren’t immediately recognizable as those of pigs and cows. Rick’s last line of the episode, “They’re fucking with the wrong people,” is an even more blatant nod to the Hunters storyline, as it’s almost exactly what Comic Rick said in reference to the Hunters toying with the group in Issue 64.
While I don’t really have much at stake in either side of this, I’ll be pretty intrigued by whatever explanation Gimple and his writers have if Terminus ends up NOT being a cannibal resort. Find out (possibly) what these guys are all about when Season 5 of The Walking Dead debuts on AMC starting Sunday, October 12. Until then, curb those hunger pangs with a flesh burger or three.