The Walking Dead launched its action-packed eighth season late last month, and All Out War against Negan and the Saviors is fully underway as Rick Grimes leads a multi-pronged attack comprised of the united Alexandria, Hilltop and Kingdom communities. The good guys are finally back on top — for now — but to complicate matters, one member of Team Family is in mortal danger and Rick just ran into a familiar and unexpected face from season 1 (and he's no longer an ally).
Executive producer Greg Nicotero, who directed the season 8 premiere — also the series' landmark 100th episode — will also be directing the season 8 finale. Speaking to ComicBook.com on the season 8 premiere red carpet, Nicotero was asked if the quicker pace of the first few episodes will continue to carry throughout the season.
"It does," Nicotero said. "The pace stays right on par with where we start. For me the trick is, we're just about into episode 15, and I haven't seen the outline for 16. We really haven't — we haven't been pitched the second half of season 8, we don't know. And I'm kind of excited to not know!"
Nicotero previously told us this 16 episode run of the hit series will be "dramatically different" from past seasons, where the front half of the season would begin with more of a kick.
"Traditionally, the way The Walking Dead works is we kind of set up our first half of the season to lead us into this second half," Nicotero said. "Usually the second half of the season kind of shoots us off into space, so when we lay these little seeds and as things start to germinate, something that happens in episode two may not pay off until episode 13. I feel like this first half is going to feel like the second half of most of our seasons where we're already kind of taking off and I think people are going to be blown away by it."
"It was dense," Nicotero said. "This was such an intense episode. There was so much going on. The premieres are always tricky because you gotta set the stage for everything that's gonna happen, and you gotta get everybody on the right path."
The show will also not be dragging out the conflict between the good guys and the Saviors, showrunner Scott M. Gimple said, who promised All Out War will end by episode 8x16. While we still don't know what that end will look like, expect it to be big — especially with Nicotero in the director's chair.
The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9/8c on AMC.