In Skybound's latest mailbag, Walking Dead insider Johnny O'Dell revealed Rick will face continued "resentment" and other problems as result of allowing Negan to be saved after Rick slit his throat in 8x16, 'Wrath.'
Asked who will be a bigger threat for Rick going into season 9 — Maggie and Daryl or the yet-to-be-seen comic book villains the Whisperers — O'Dell teased, "Rick will face a lot of challenges when we return for Season 9 this Fall."
"As for your question," he added, "we saw in the Season 8 Finale that Maggie, Daryl, and Jesus were very much against Rick's decision to save Negan — and that resentment will continue to cause problems in Season 9."
Season 8 ended with Daryl, Maggie, and Jesus cloaked in shadow in an ominous secret meeting, vowing to show Rick he was wrong to single-handedly reach his verdict that Negan should be kept alive and imprisoned within Alexandria.
"We have a lot to do. We have to build this place up. Make it work better than before," Maggie told an agreeing Jesus. "Make it thrive for the people who who live here. We need our strength. The ability to defend ourselves better. We have to have that."
"But Rick and Michonne? Rick was wrong to do what he did. Michonne too," Maggie said. "So we're gonna bide our time, wait for our moment, and then we're gonna show him."
"Yeah. We will," said Daryl, who already previously clashed with Rick earlier in season 8 over Rick's merciful handling of the Saviors.
Of Rick allowing Negan to live, O'Dell added the Alexandrian leader is "in the minority of people who agree this lesson is worth it" — and Negan's imprisonment could drive Daryl out of Alexandria altogether.
In the mailbag for June 21, O'Dell was asked if Daryl still lives in Alexandria or if he's moved to the Hilltop with Maggie and Jesus. "Neither," O'Dell answered, "and that's all we'll say about that."
Daryl could have relocated to the Kingdom with close friend Carol, but as O'Dell revealed in the June 14 mailbag, post-war will find our characters "more separated than ever" — suggesting a bigger fracture in the group than previously believed.
The Walking Dead executive producer Scott Gimple clarified Maggie and Daryl are out to get Negan, not Rick, but warned of "potential conflict" and in-fighting over the ousted Savior leader.
"What Maggie has said to Daryl and Jesus was, 'The Hilltop is going to flourish… I'm going to lead this place and make it work. But after that, I have this little thing on my to-do list, and it has to do with Negan,'" Gimple told TV Line.
"That's the main thing. It isn't like, 'I wanna get Rick!' or something like that, it's about Negan," Gimple said. "Make no mistake, no one is getting in front of Maggie to stop her. That's where there is danger and potential conflict."
Rick Grimes actor Andrew Lincoln will be famously exiting the series this coming season — he'll be gone by the midway point — but before he goes, his character will have to contend with the damage Rick's decision to spare Negan has had on the relationships with his closest friends.1comments
"I think there's a very strong ideology from Rick that there's problems," Lincoln told ComicBook.com in April. "Are those cracks gonna be able to mend or are they gonna move apart even wider? That makes for interesting drama, certainly."
The Walking Dead premieres its ninth season this fall on AMC.