AMC’s hit zombie series The Walking Dead returns just in time for Halloween on October 23. But while zombies walking the earth are scary enough, it’s been the people who’ve been keeping Rick’s band of survivors up at night.
Season 6 introduced us to one of the most notorious figures in the comic book while leaving many unanswered questions. Season 7 looks like it will keep us all glued to our chairs.
If you haven’t been keeping up with the news since the last season, here’s all you need to know before you tune in on Sunday.
If you missed the second half of Season 6, there’s only one thing you really need to take away from it: Negan.
He’s the charismatic dictator who leads the Saviors. The character originally made his appearance in the 100th issue of The Walking Dead comic with shock and awe. He was the cause of two major turning points in the comic, and looks to do the same in the show.
Negan has a very Darwinist approach to the world, as he lives by the code survival of the fittest. His team is larger, so the smaller feeds the bigger. While Rick’s group has faced, zombies, cannibals, the wolves, and the governor, Negan is the real villain of the comic.
Somebody Gotta Die
The last scene of Season 6 finds Rick’s group on their knees at the mercy of Negan and the Saviors. Negan proceeds to tell them how things will be from now on, and to start things off, somebody has to die as an example.
He then plays an eerie game of “Eenie, Meenie, Miney, Moe” (which sounds almost as eerie as that damn 1-2 rhyme from Nightmare on Elm Street that kept me up until I was 17) and proceeds to beat one of them to death with his beloved Lucille. The cliffhanger? No one knows who got it.
If you’re a fan of the comic it can be 1 of 2 people. Speculation has been that it’s someone completely unexpected — as the show has had the tendency to veer away from the book’s plot to keep you guessing — but some have even said it could be more than one death.
The Saviors are Negan’s marauders. They are like the gang in The Road Warrior, and Negan is Lord Humungus. They are loyal, organized, and violent, and have bought in to Negan’s Darwinist theory of survival in the zombie apocalypse — especially since, with him, they are the top of the food chain.
If you remember Eugene, Abraham and Rosita were on the way to Washington DC to find a cure for the zombies before they got sidetracked and joined Rick’s group. If they hadn’t gotten distracted, they would have probably come across The Kingdom. The Kingdom was one of the communities that was under the control of Negan, similar to the Hilltop.
The self-proclaimed king of the community known as the Kingdom, Ezekiel is a former zoo keeper who’s as charismatic as Negan — without the homicidal tendencies. If you saw the trailer, he’s the dude with the dreads and the tiger. In the comic he plays a pivotal role in Rick’s interactions with Negan and other members of the group. But if you didn’t read it, we don’t want to ruin it for you.
Lucille & Shiva
Part of what makes The Walking Dead such an amazing series is the characters. We find ourselves rooting for them or wishing for their violent demise. Without the development of the characters, it would be just another zombie show.
Two of the most interesting non-human characters in the show are Lucille and Shiva. Lucille is the spiked bat wrapped in barbed wire that Negan carries around. We’re first introduced to her at the end of Season 6, and will probably see a lot of her in Season 7.
Shiva is the pet tiger of King Ezekiel. Shiva knows Ezekiel from when he was a zookeeper. She attacked him, and knowing she would be destroyed, he didn’t report it. The two later formed a bond that lasts through the zombie apocalypse.
Carol & Morgan
In the second half of Season 6, Carol had a sudden bout of conscience and couldn’t deal with things anymore, so she left Alexandria and the group.
To be honest, no one in the show has been through as much as Carol. She went from being abused by her husband to losing him in a zombie attack. Her daughter was separated from the group, only to learn that she was killed and had become a zombie. She was kicked out of the group because she took it upon herself to try to stop the spread of flu that was killing people, by killing people. She became a de facto mother to two very weird little girls — one of which killed the other and threatened to kill Rick’s baby, leaving Carol with the task of killing the other girl. Carol has been through the ringer, so this is the second time she is on her own, albeit by her own choice.
Morgan left the group to go find her. The last time Carol was on her own, she ended up saving the group, and it looks like they could be in need of some saving. This time she at least has some backup if Morgan finds her. And Morgan seems to have run into another group that could be friend or foe.
PHOTO CREDIT: Gene Page / AMC
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