This weekend at New York Comic Con, The Walking Dead's Scott Gimple once again reiterated something he's been saying a lot during the show's hiatus: that Season Five will be more heavily based on the comic book source material than ever before.
Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard's The Walking Dead is nearly 150 issues in at this point, and what's been on the small screen has really only scratched the surface. The show is maybe about a third of the way caught up with the comics, but of course, since both are ongoing, it would take years to really catch up at this rate, if they ever did.
They've said, though, that key moments and well-known stories from the comics are likely coming up sooner than later, which made us wonder: what are some of the most likely ones to turn up?
Here's what we came up with...!
For quite some time now, The Walking Dead's audience has been waiting for The Hunters.
Many believe -- especially with some of the evidence we've seen onscreen already -- that Terminus will be a modified version of the Hunters storyline.
The Hunters were a roving band of cannibals, were headquartered out of an isolated, rural house in the comics. They would stalk, trap and kill other survivors for their meat, eating them slowly and putting tourniquets on their wounds so that their victims would last longer in a world without refrigeration.
Keeping their victims alive as long as possible also had the added benefit of preventing them from reanimating before the meat was off the bone.
The cannibals of the St. John Dairy Farm, meanwhile, "feel" a bit more like the Terminians because they lure people into their web rather than pursuing people in the outside world.
She and her family are characters original to the games, who appeared in Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead: Season One episode ”Starved For Help,” and seem much likelier candidates to be the denizens of Terminus than do The Hunters.
Aside from the fact that, like Mary, she’s a slightly-older-than-middle-aged woman who’s kind and welcoming to strangers, there’s the fact that the St. John Dairy Farm cannibals operate out of (wait for it) the St. John’s Dairy Farm. It’s a single, central location for their operations and rather than hunting people and then taking victims back home as the Hunters did, they allow people to come to them. Like Terminus.
So far, we don't know much about the background of Eugene, Abraham and Rosita. We know that Abraham is a committed guy whose belief that he can still save the world -- using Eugene's inside information of governmental disease-control policy -- keeps him grounded and focused.
At New York Comic Con, actor Michael Cudlitz, who plays Abraham, explained:
“Right now, it really is saving the world” that drives Abraham, Cudlitz said. “At this point, hope drives the show. Breaking points for any of these characters is that point when hope seems at its smallest and if you lose hope, that’s a very dangerous world.”
What could cause him to lose hope? Well, what if it turned out that Eugene was totally full of crap all along and that this whole time he'd been protecting an impostor, even at the expense of other survivors who could have been more use to him?
That's just what happened in the comic; Eugene wasn't really a genius, just enough smarter than Abraham to pull off a long con.
The blow this was to Abraham in the comics is hard to communicate in the context of the show; he had assumed a kind of co-leadership position with Rick, which he vacated after the revelation that he'd been taken in by a liar. He also broke things off with Rosita, claiming that he never loved her, although whether that was true or just a defense mechanism was never entirely cleared up prior to Abraham's death.
Jesus is coming
The Walking Dead recently cast Tyler James Williams as Noah, and as unlikely as it is, my first thought was, "What if Noah is Jesus?"
Biblical names aside, there's been speculation that a network TV series might not be able to manage a gay character called Jesus -- it's something he received complaints about even in the comics.
Either way, it seems inevitable that this character -- or a version of him -- is coming sooner than later. He popped up for the first time in #91, quite a while after any of the events adapted in the TV show so far (some of the events of the Season Four finale were adapted from The Walking Dead #57.
It would seem unlikely, then, that they would end up at Jesus anytime soon...except that showrunners have already admitted that they're giving thought to Negan-centric storylines. That character, who first appeared on the page in #100, is tied into Jesus's backstory pretty firmly.
A larger world
Jesus brought with him into the series a major revelation: that there were a great deal of other survivors making their way in the world of The Walking Dead...and many of them were living in settlement camps where they could unite to defend themselves against walkers and even create little economies.
The seemingly-ideal situation would, of course, turn out to be far from that, as some of the settlements didn't play well with others...!
The Introduction of Negan and the death of Glenn
In one of the rare instances where The Walking Dead seemed to operate like any other comic, Kirkman and Adlard introduced Negan in The Walking Dead #100, using the anniversary issue as an opportunity to introduce a deadly new villain and kill a major character -- Glenn.
There had been a ton of speculation that Glenn might die in the season premiere, given the fact that there's someone hanging out behind him with a baseball bat (what Negan killed him with) -- but it's hard to believe that they'd kill him in the same way, but without Negan...and Steven Yeun recently addressed the idea, too.
"What I will say is, with someone like Negan, there's no way we're not going to have him on the show in some capacity either soon or later," Yeun told us last week. "And I think that goes to show, Kirkman wrote a great, great jumping-off point. Because of that, Scott, who's helming the whole thing, is making sure to really tell the story in the right way. So there's no way we can avoid Negan and so for me personally, it's like, 'Bring him on. We'll see what happens.'"
Asked about whether he thinks the story will unfold as originally written or if they might change it for TV (as they did with Tyreese's death scene from the comics, which was given to Hershel), Yeun wasn't sure.
"I think that, but then I also think, how great and iconic is that moment?" He said. "Sometimes you just have to deliver it the way it was intended. We'll see what happens but I feel like the way that Kirkman wrote that end for him was magical in a way. You don't get to have a long speech or you don't get to have a whole diatribe about where you're at as a character at that point in time and then be killed, it's just you're done. And I think that's so ruthless and brutal and so apropos for the show."