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[Warning: Spoilers ahead from the Walking Dead season eight premiere and the comic the AMC drama is based on.]
“Our first victory will allow our second. Our second will deliver our third. And we will not lose one of our ranks!”
Well… somebody hasn’t read the comic books.
In the new trailer for season eight of The Walking Dead, released following the season eight premiere episode “Mercy,” Khary Payton’s King Ezekiel rallies his troops in his signature regal manner. But all of the bravado and actual confidence in the world can’t change the fact that when it comes to his prediction about walking away from “All-Out War” without a scratch, he’s sadly mistaken.
During this arc in the books from Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard, Ezekiel leads a squad during one of the phases of Rick Grimes’ (Andrew Lincoln) war against Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and the Saviors… and it does not go well for everyone involved. Indeed, there are two notable casualties over the course of the battle, including Eric (Jordan Woods-Robinson), Aaron’s (Ross Marquand) boyfriend who first appeared in season five. Given Aaron’s future in the comics, it’s very likely that Eric will die on the show as well in order to keep the Alexandria scout leader’s story on track.
Watch the trailer for season eight in the video below.
Aside from Eric, there’s another powerful loss on the horizon: Shiva, Ezekiel’s ferocious pet tiger, who dies while battling a pack of walkers in a forested creek — a slice of forest that looks very similar to the one where Ezekiel is giving his speech in the season eight trailer. Not a great sign for Ezekiel’s best friend, if not exactly a surprising one. Considering how much Shiva’s continued presence would impact the show’s effects budget, it makes sense for the TV series to stick to the comic book script when it comes to her death.
Elsewhere in the trailer, Negan is seen speaking before a gathered crowd, which would strongly imply that he’s going to survive his current predicament, trapped inside of a trailer on the Sanctuary compound alongside unlikely company in Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam). Then again, it’s possible that it’s flashback from Negan’s rise to becoming the King of the Saviors, if Gabriel is somehow involved in getting that backstory out of Negan in his capacity as a priest.
Finally, there’s a scene from the upcoming episode of the season, “The Damned,” that features Jesus (Tom Payne), Tara (Alanna Masterson), Dianne (Kerry Cahill) and Morgan (Lennie James) on the edge of one of the Saviors’ satellite stations, preparing for battle. Morgan makes an interesting comment: “I wasn’t here last time,” referring to the fact that he wasn’t on hand when the Alexandrians first shed blood against Negan’s crew. But it’s interesting on another layer as well, considering Morgan wasn’t even alive at this point in the comics, making his presence in the “All-Out War” arc even more of an X-factor than usual. Add in the fact that Tara and Dianne are also show-only inventions, and it’s anyone’s guess as to what’s going to happen when they move in on the Saviors next week.
Watch the clip from “The Damned” in the video below.
What are your predictions for the future of season eight? Sound off in the comments section below, and check THR.com/WalkingDead for more theories, interviews and deep dives.
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