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Anyone hoping that the first full trailer for The Walking Dead‘s seventh season would reveal the identity of Negan’s (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) baseball bat victim, the answer is a big fat eenie-meenie-miney-nope.
But what the trailer lacks in concrete answers about the horrific murder at the end of season six, poised to launch the story of season seven once it premieres on Oct. 23, it more than makes up for by shining light on other shadowy corners of the Walking Dead universe.
Here are THR‘s takeaways from the season seven trailer:
1. Welcome to the Kingdom
So speaks King Ezekiel, one of several new faces populating the zombie apocalypse. Khary Payton, best known among the comic book crowd for voice work in projects like Teen Titans, plays the role, a fan-favorite figure in Walking Dead lore. Without spoiling too much, consider him one of the “benevolent” leaders Gale Anne Hurd referenced during the show’s Comic-Con panel — but only toward those who are worthy of his benevolence. Oh, and the reason why people love him so much? Well …
2. The Eye of the Tiger
Your eyes do not deceive you: Ezekiel comes equipped with a tiger, instantly making him the most action figure-able character on the show. The tiger’s name is Shiva, serving as Ezekial’s trusty sidekick. It turns out that Negan’s intimidation tactics aren’t the only ways to send someone to “Pee Pants City.”
3. Gone Caroling
Carol (Melissa McBride) and Morgan (Lennie James) serve as our eyes and ears into the new world of the Kingdom, at least in the trailer. Both characters were confirmed to survive the season six finale, and here they are in this new world, populated by knights serving their king. There’s a reason why Carol comes across so loopy in the trailer, saying, “I don’t know what’s going on in the most wonderful way!” Pretty much the warranted reaction, given the Kingdom’s out-there rulebook.
4. When the Saviors Come to Town
Ezekiel and the Kingdom are not the only major new forces in the Alexandrian orbit. The Saviors are seen invading Rick Grimes’ (Andrew Lincoln) home turf, with Negan at the helm. “There is no door number four,” Negan says at one point, making it clear that it’s his way or the highway — and at the very least, his way involves sipping on some ice-cold lemonade with Olivia (Ann Mahoney), one of the still surviving Alexandrians.
5. Battle at the Hilltop
Elsewhere in the world of Walking Dead, the members of the Hilltop remain alive and well … well, maybe not so well. The community is seen consumed in flames during a scene in the trailer, with Jesus (Tom Payne) doing his level best to battle back the walkers, while leader Gregory (Xander Berkeley) watches from his window. Payback for the Hilltop aligning with Alexandria against the Saviors? It’s not a bad bet.
6. Fist Bumps in the Road
With the fate of so many heroes up in the air, at least one remains alive for now: Tara Chambler (Alanna Masterson), last seen heading out on the road alongside Heath (Corey Hawkins), unaware of her girlfriend’s death. Even without knowing about Denise (Merritt Wever), Tara has plenty of problems of her own, seen at the end of the trailer hiding from unknown forces. Even when there aren’t baseball bat-wielding maniacs around, it’s never a safe day in the zombie apocalypse.
7. Batter Up
Of course, the biggest item on the docket is the thing we don’t see: Negan’s victim. The trailer opens up with a minute-long montage featuring all of the main players last seen with Negan’s bat staring them in the eye, culminating in a shot of a horrifically gory Lucille. As if there was any doubt that someone’s on the receiving end of Negan’s wrath, the bloody bat makes it clear that someone’s life is about to end. As for clues? They’re few and far between, except for one thing to note, and it’s a major comic book spoiler: The first person featured in the montage is the same person who dies at this moment in the comics. Gulp.
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