Not only was newcomer to the series Luciana (Danay Garcia) shot and left to an ambiguous fate, Cliff Curtis' Travis Manawa finally snapped and killed the two young boys responsible for his son's death in a show of his brutal capabilities. When the show returns, it will keep up such tones and add to them according showrunner Dave Erickson's account.
“Travis has become sort of the apocalyptic warrior,” Erickson said. “He’s far more ruthless than we’ve seen him be before. And that’s going to ultimately compromise him and the family in ways that they didn’t anticipate. Having killed Andrés, Alicia has been knocked back a few steps… but starting around the fifth episode, she gets to a place where she becomes a bit harder and becomes more of an ally to her mother.”
Madison won't be far behind Travis. She is “going to double down and abandon anything resembling mercy for a time,” according to Erickson. “For her, in this world, you have to sell a piece of your soul to survive. And as we move through the season, Nick and Alicia are going to see that and come to understand what drives her.”
“Madison is going to suffer for some of the choices she makes,” Erickson said. “Not to say we’re going to fragment our family again by the end of the season, but there’s going to be a tension between them that didn’t exist before, because of the things that they’re going to deal with over the first half of this season.”
Then there are the newcomers: Jack and Troy Otto, along with their father who had been prepping for the world's doomsday all along. Erickson reveals they are “incredibly dangerous and incredibly violent," as the group is set to head to their family ranch. "There is an ugliness that pervades this ranch and an ugliness in Jeremiah Otto and his youngest son, Troy."
"They’ve been knocked around quite a bit,” Erickson tells TVLine of the core group. “They went from the boat to the hacienda to the hotel, Nick went to the colonia, and what they’ve seen is that everything in this world is impermanent. Every time you try to get a hold on something, it goes away. So moving into the season, the group is far more assertive and stronger.”
“So it’s a somewhat tenuous existence for them,” the showrunner said.. “But they’re going to find a toehold and take control of their circumstances. The fundamental question is, how dirty are they willing to get?”
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The Walking Dead will return for its eighth season in October of 2017. The first trailer is expected to arrive at San Diego Comic Con in July. For complete coverage and insider info all off-season long, follow @BrandonDavisBD on Twitter.