The Walking Dead showrunner Scott Gimple says the looming season 8 finale will bring a "conclusion" to the ongoing war between the Saviors and the AHK alliance.
“We will see a resolution of the war,” Gimple tells TV Line. “It might not be what people are expecting. It might not be what some of the characters even want. But it is a conclusion, and they have to deal with its aftermath.”
Will fan-favorites Glenn and Abraham be avenged by war's end? Gimple is aware it will be tough for any resolution to the strife to completely satisfy viewers, but, Gimple says, "I pray to God that they are satisfied.
“I really hope they are. It is a war. There are casualties along the way, and it is incredibly tough business. But it only shows just how deeply connected these characters are and how their fates are tied together, even if some of them don’t want them to be.”
The Walking Dead tends to kill major characters in its most pivotal episodes — season openers, mid-season finales, mid-season returns and season closers — but the death of Carl in 8x09 doesn't mean All Out War has seen its last victim by season's end.
“I would never tell the audience that it was safe to exhale,” Gimple says. “It is a devastating world that these characters live in, but there is still beauty and hope.”
Gimple previously told Entertainment Weekly the "very big" finale doesn't just wrap up season 8, it "very much sets up the start of the next story."
Fans familiar with The Walking Dead comic books may be anticipating certain beats, but how things play out in the show will be "quite different in a lot of ways."
"There are some big changes that change the very outcome of certain aspects of the story — still trying to be true to the emotions of the story, but changing some big parts of it," Gimple said. "It plays out very differently.”
The executive producer will exit his post as showrunner come season 9, following his promotion to chief content officer for the entire Walking Dead brand for AMC. Writer and producer Angela Kang, who has been with the series since its second season in 2011, takes over as new showrunner for season 9.
The extended Walking Dead season 8 finale airs Sunday, April 15 at 9/8c on AMC, immediately followed by the Fear The Walking Dead season 4 premiere.