The Walking Dead

The Walking Dead fans can gorge on the AMC zombie drama's Season 2 premiere on Oct. 16. Until then, we offer an exclusive first look at the new season's (clue-filled) poster as a tasty appetizer.

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The first question that comes to mind: Why is Rick (Andrew Lincoln) all alone? The poster certainly continues the theme established by the striking Season 1 image of Rick riding into an abandoned Atlanta on horseback. But now that Rick's been reunited with his family and the other survivors, why is he still seen flying solo?

Our educated guess after screening the 90-minute season opener: This season will test Rick as a leader, and his decisions may end up isolating him from the other survivors. That's a concept Lincoln saw developing at the end of Season 1 when Rick led the group to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention only to learn it was far from a safe haven.

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"There are no right answers, there are no right decisions made," he told us after the Season 1 finale in December. "Everything seems to be a compromise at the moment, and it's just about how good a compromise you can make. The fascinating thing about this group dynamic is that it's constantly changing. In one episode, a person can be the villain and in the following episode they can be the savior."

Take a look at the full-sized poster below, and scroll down for a few more Season 2 hints.

Rick is running, not walking: Although it appears Rick is heading for safety in the farmhouse (more on that below), notice that he is definitely on the run — and his gun is drawn. "It's going to be intense," Robert Kirkman, who created the graphic novels on which the show is based, explains. "This world will get more dangerous. In the first season, there was a lot of time spent at that camp when they were fine. Now we've taken that away from them. ... We're really going to just expand the world a little bit. We're hitting the road, they're moving, and it's going to be a lot of cool stuff."

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Welcome to Hershel's farm. The house in the photo belongs to Hershel Greene, a farmer who will be played by Scott Wilson. Producers promise a good chunk of the season will take place at Hershel's farm, where we will also meet Hershel's daughter Maggie (Lauren Cohan) and his field hand Otis (Pruitt Taylor Vince).

Rick's on a long and winding road. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem that Hershel's farm will be much more of a safe haven than the CDC was. Notice that the twisty road doesn't end at Hershel's house, but goes off into the distance. Looks like our group of survivor's will simply be making a (prolonged) pit stop before eventually moving on.

The 90-minute Season 2 premiere of The Walking Dead airs Sunday, Oct. 16 at 9/8c on AMC.

What other clues do you see in the poster?