With only eight episodes left in its seventh season, the tone of the show is about to see a drastic change by comparison to the last eight of 2016. What started as Negan pounding the skulls of Abraham and Glenn in front of everyone they know and love became eight weeks of Rick Grimes being bullied and oppressed.
For the first time, Rick showed signs of defiance against Negan and the Saviors when he marched into the Hilltop and got his gun back from Daryl. Now, that pair of survivors along with Maggie, Tara, Carl, Enid, Sasha and others will finally beginning plotting to put themselves in charge again.
On the following slides, we run through everything we know about The Walking Dead Season 7B so far.
The official synopsis for The Walking Dead's next eight episodes has been released, teasing the unity of several communities and a war with Negan.
Rick’s group will find out yet again that the world isn’t what they thought it was. It’s much bigger than anything they’ve seen so far. While they have a singular purpose - to defeat Negan - it won’t come easy. More importantly, victory will require more than Alexandria. They need the numbers of the Kingdom and the Hilltop, but, similar to how Rick felt, Ezekiel (Khary Payton) and Gregory (Xander Berkeley) do not want bloodshed. To convince them otherwise will take more than speeches. The lengths Rick and the group will have to go to in order to find weapons, food and new fighters is nothing short of remarkable.
We’ll meet new survivors in incredible places. We’ll see Rick and the group tested in ways we’ve never seen before. We'll see treachery from people we trust. Rick is confident as he will see his group and many others band together with the common goal of taking down Negan. But no amount of planning will prepare the group for all-out war with Negan and his army.
Showrunner Scott Gimple says the ending of Season 7 will be drastically different from the horrifying beginning which saw Negan killing two key characters and tormenting the rest of the group.
"I will say 7B's vibe is very different from 7A's vibe. The ending of 7B is very different than the beginning of 7A," Gimple said in an interview with ComicBook.com. "Just the vibe in 7B, I was just talking about it with Andy [Lincoln] last night. It's just a very, very different half season than the half season that preceded it. Even with structure, what we're doing right now with the episodes and seeing where everyone is at, the structure is very, very different than the back half. There's a lot more variety to the structure. It's just a very, very different situation, but 6, 7, 8 ... Wow, we're really close, aren't we? I would say the end of 7A is very different than the beginning of 7A. That's the thing that kind of launches that different tone of 7B."
According to Daryl Dixon actor Norman Reedus, the back half of Season 7 will see some battles reminiscent to those of Seasons 3 and 4 when Rick's group was at war with the Governor and Woodbury.
"There are a bunch of groups, and like everything on this show, everything comes to a head eventually," Reedus said. "There are definitely scenes shot that are as epic and as large."
"It's crazy," Reedus added.
As for the group meeting Ezekiel and his pet tiger Shiva, Reedus can't confirm if he has acted alongside the animatronic beast himself as to avoid spoilers, but shares a bit of insight from the cast's reactions.
"I think it's been basically awe," Reedus said. "It's so well done and it's such a complicated thing to do. I think it's always a little odd, I guess, for whoever's doing that, but when you see it put together, and you see how much work it takes to do that, it's pretty f---ing amazing, to be honest. It's kind of mind-blowing."
Do The Finale Jig
Unlike other season finales, which typically prompt teases of darkness and horror, the Season 7 finale sounds like it will be ending on a high note for our beloved survivors.
"I promise you, there is one beat in 16, I dropped my script and started punching the air and did a little jig," Rick Grimes actor Andrew Lincoln said in an interview with EW.
This is an incredibly contrasting take on the Season 7 finale than that of the Season 6. By now, we all know how that went down, Negan cliffhanger and all, but for the weeks leading up to Episode 6x16, it seemed like every cast member was sharing their dark and horrifying perspective of the closing moments of the show's sixth season.
For Andrew Lincoln to finally be excited again and dancing for a moment involving his Rick Grimes character is a great sign for the dedicated fans of a series which has truly pushed them to their limits through the first eight episodes of Season 7.
Perhaps he will finally got that shot at Negan we're all hoping to see. After all, he did get his python back in the midseason finale.