9:00am PT by Samantha Leffler
'Walking Dead': 6 Pivotal Comic Book Plot Lines to Look for in Season 7
[Warning: This story contains spoilers from The Walking Dead comic book series that inspired the AMC drama.]
Season six of AMC's The Walking Dead ended with Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) beating a member of Rick’s (Andrew Lincoln) group of survivors to death with Lucille — his barbed-wire-covered bat — though the victim wasn’t revealed.
Season seven picks up immediately in that moment, meaning viewers will finally learn who the show’s newest big bad beat to death in front of his friends and family.
Given that showrunner Scott M. Gimple — a longtime fan of Robert Kirkman's source material — takes a "remix" approach to the comic series, THR presents a primer of six storylines from the graphic novels that could make their way into the AMC series when it returns in October.
Maggie moves to the Hilltop
In the landmark 100th issue of Kirkman’s comics — which played out in the season six ender — Negan kills Glenn, (Steven Yeun) leading an angry Maggie (Lauren Cohan) to leave the Alexandria Safe Zone for the Hilltop community after she blames Rick for her partner’s death.
Although Maggie’s decision to leave is contingent upon Glenn’s passing — and we're putting our bets that the TV series won't stray from the comics with his shocking death — the Hilltop move serves her well. Maggie eventually becomes the de facto leader of that community heading into the two-part All Out War saga.
Dwight switches sides
New series regular Austin Amelio's Dwight killed Denise (Merritt Wever) in season six and is firmly on Negan’s team — at least for the time being. But in the comics, Dwight turns on the ruthless leader and tells Rick and Ezekiel that he can help them defeat the mega-villain.
The world gets bigger
Speaking of Ezekiel — the charismatic leader of The Kingdom, another community teased in the final episodes of season six — he is one of many new faces viewers should expect to meet come season seven. ”I don't know when or where or how or who. But it does seem like the world is growing,” Lincoln told THR.
Carl and Negan form a bond
In the comics, Carl (Chandler Riggs) sneaks off to the Saviors' compound and manages to kill several of Negan’s men. Rather than execute the teenager, Negan opts to spare Rick’s “badass” son and the two start an interesting relationship. “It may be very brief, but we will absolutely see them have a pretty intense moment,” Gimple told THR when asked about the pair’s unique bond. “There's going to be a bit of remixing and there may be another character involved who takes some of it. Whether it's with Carl or not, I cannot say. But I absolutely want to explore Negan having that kind of respect for someone, which is the hallmark of that relationship.”
Negan kills more of Rick's band of survivors
Rick's band of survivors will start season seven reeling from Negan (and Lucille’s) first victim, but the baseball-bat-swinging baddie is just getting started. In the comics, Negan kills Spencer by slashing his stomach after the Alexandrian suggests he would be a better leader than Rick.
Rick tries to kill Negan, kicking off the "All Out War"
After some preliminary planning with Hilltop leader Gregory (new series regular Xander Berkeley) and Ezekiel, Rick makes a bold move and attempts to kill Negan as he leaves Alexandria after one of his hauls. Unbeknown to Rick, Negan travels with a hidden security detail — Savior Snipers — so his assassination attempt is easily thwarted. Negan then returns to his compound and tells his men they’re going to war — an All Out War to be exact.
Based on the pacing of the series thus far (seasons one through six have covered issues 1-100) the AMC series could tackle the comics' All Out War arc (which spans issues 115-126) as a solid season seven finale. However, viewers will have to wait and see how everything plays out. It's worth noting, though, that star Lincoln has said he’s “excited” about the bloody battle that (spoiler alert) ends in Negan’s capture — though it definitely doesn't mark the end of Negan's journey.
Season seven of The Walking Dead premieres in October. For more Walking Dead coverage, go to THR.com/WalkingDead.