With less than a week to go before Season 7 of The Walking Dead premieres, it's time to reach back through the foggy recesses of your mind to try and remember just what happened in Season 6... Because a lot went down. And once we get past the inciting incident of Season 7 (more on that in a second) a lot more is about to go down.
And as you've probably gathered so far about The Walking Dead, nearly all of those things that are about to happen are going to be very, very bad things for our cast of post-apocalyptic survivors. With that in mind, here's everything you need to know about TWD Season 7:
Spoilers for The Walking Dead past, and future beyond this point.
There are zombies!
Just getting this out of the way: the dead have started to walk the earth, and they're hungry for flesh. If you get bitten, you turn into a zombie (unless you cut off the part of your body that was bitten, real quick). If you die any other way... You also turn into a zombie. For you see: we are all the walking dead!
Oh, also the word zombies doesn't exist, so everyone calls them walkers, biters, infected, or whatever else comes to mind.
Somebody is gonna die!
When we last left former sheriff Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and his gang of best friends, they were trapped in a forest clearing by a baseball bat wielding maniac named Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), and his large group of followers (called The Saviors). Previously, Rick and the Saviors had clashed, usually with Rick's gang coming out on top.
Not this time: 11 members of the group were lined up on the ground, and Negan killed someone in the Season 6 cliffhanger. We'll find out who when we return, probably in the opening minutes of the show.
Maybe multiple people are gonna die!
There's been a persistent rumor that Negan will kill more than one member of the Grimes Gang. In the comics, Glenn (Steven Yeun) is the one that kicks the bucket; but given he "died" mid-way through Season 6, fans think a swerve might be coming. Could Maggie (Lauren Cohan), who was pregnant and very sick, get the short end of the bat — killing two "people" if you include her fetus, if you count a fetus as a person. (Related: let's please not have a discussion about this in the comments?)
Okay, fine, let's talk about dat fetus.
The whole reason Rick and the gang were on the road was to save Maggie's life... Grimes had previously holed up his group at a protected neighborhood called Alexandria. Despite frequent attacks last season, the walls were finally standing firm, and the group was beginning to meet people from other safe havens. Then Maggie started to get pale and sickly, and they assumed something was wrong with the baby. So it was off to Hilltop to visit a doctor... Only they got a little waylaid by the Saviors.
Wait, what's Hilltop? Are there elves on this show? That sounds like an elf village.
No, there are no elves. Hilltop is literally on a hilltop (who would have thought the people who call flesh-eating undead monsters "walkers" would be so uncreative with their naming structure?), a small tent village built around a palatial mansion. Grimes and co. met the Hilltop community last season, thanks to a ninja-style badass named Jesus (Tom Payne) who travels around looking for other groups to trade with.
Hilltop is run by kind of an a-hole named Gregory (Xander Berkeley), who agreed to trade with Alexandria if they took care of Negan for him. As of right now, it certainly seems like there won't be a lot of trade happening, what with the whole Negan having the upper hand thing.
What's Hilltop's deal with Negan?
More accurately, what's Negan's deal with Hilltop? It's pretty simple, and the same deal Negan offers everyone: give Negan half your s--- and he'll leave you alone. It's a protection racket that allows the Saviors to live like kings, and be better armed and fed than everyone else in the area. With winter fast approaching, Hilltop is in a serious A Bug's Life situation, running out of supplies while Negan's grasshoppers are demanding more to feed themselves. Won't someone call the circus???
Hold up: when you say Negan offers the same deal to everyone...
Now we're getting to it! As Jesus told Rick last season, "Your world's about to get a whole lot bigger." Hilltop and Alexandria are just the tip of the iceberg. Currently, we only know of one new area we'll be visiting this season — the Kingdom — but there are a lot more out there.
Tell me about the Kingdom! Are there elves there?
No, once again, there are no elves on this show. However, the Kingdom is ruled by a flamboyant man named Ezekiel (Khary Payton). He sits on a throne, and has a tiger as a pet. It's pretty cool.
Sweet, a tiger! Ezekiel must be a total badass then.
...I wouldn't place any significant bets on that. Stay tuned to find out, but suffice to say Rick may find him a harder nut to crack in his fight against Negan than Gregory was.
Oh, so Ezekiel will meet Rick?
Okay, remind me what's going on with Carol and Morgan? Don't they hate each other?
For a while, they did. Morgan's strict "no killing humans" rule conflicted with Carol's strict "kill all humans" rule, and they clashed. But as life settled down in Alexandria, Carol started to feel the full weight of the lives she took, and left the safe haven. Morgan decided to track her down while simultaneously struggling with the idea that maybe, occasionally, you do have to kill some people.
They met in the middle as Carol lay bleeding in the street, attacked by one of the Saviors. Morgan shot him six times. Morgan is probably going to have a hard time dealing with this. Carol, meanwhile, is going to have to recover from her multiple wounds. Regardless, they seem to be on the same page(ish) now, so chances are they'll team up to figure out the surprising secret of the Kingdom.
Is it elves???
I'm not answering that.
Anything else cool about The Kingdom?
Yeah, you've actually seen a few people from there already. They wear SWAT armor and ride horses, like knights. Expect a few other medieval style flourishes as we get to know the new area better.
Okay, back to Negan... After he kills someone (or someones), he's done, right?
No way, dude or dudette! Negan is just getting started. In fact, in a clip released from the premiere, it looks like Rick may lose something beyond his "right hand man" in the premiere. Comic book readers know that Rick is missing one significant appendage, courtesy another villain (that would be The Governor), and AMC and company are certainly trying to make you think the same thing will happen here.
After that, Negan's going to make his way to Alexandria and follow up on that whole "give me half your s---" policy, which is bad news for everyone still holed up at home.
Who is still back at Alexandria?
Honestly, barely anyone. Spencer (Austin Nichols) is back there, as is Father Gabriel (Seth Gilliam) and Tobin (Jason Douglas). Enid (Katelyn Nacon) is still locked in a closet. And Baby Judith is probably hanging around somewhere. So, you know, the brain trust. They'll be able to stop Negan, for sure! It's like the Avengers of zombie apocalypse survivors.
Where are Tara and Heath? They're pretty capable.
Tara (Alanna Masterson) and Heath (Corey Hawkins) left on a supply run several episodes earlier, by which I mean Masterson gave birth to a baby, and Hawkins gave birth to a 24 spin-off. We'll catch up with them a few episodes into the season, though, to see where they've been.
Back to the clearing... If anyone can die, who am I supposed to care about going into the new season?
Well, there's actually a surprising new character you can start caring about: Dwight (Austin Amelio). He's been a villain up to this point, stealing Daryl's (Norman Reedus) bike and crossbow, killing Denise (Merritt Wever), and shooting Daryl in the shoulder; not to mention being on Negan's team. But we're about to learn a lot more about the man, including why he's now horribly burned on one side of his face. Without getting too much into spoilers, Dwight is a key character going forward. Pay close attention to what he does from here on out.
Imagine that everyone is going to survive Negan's bat, what's going on with the rest of the cast?
Well, Rick is feeling helpless and useless. Carl (Chandler Riggs) is actually doing pretty well, other than the whole missing an eye and being threatened by a maniac thing. Daryl was shot in the shoulder, as mentioned — and in scenes we've glimpsed, Dwight is wearing his signature jacket... Not to mention his blanket is lying abandoned on the ground post-Negan kill.
Michonne (Danai Gurira) is in a relationship with Rick, and has found some sort of balance between killing people with a sword, and having a happy domestic life. Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green) is struggling with everyone around her dying, but has struck up a semi-romance with Abraham (Michael Cudlitz). Eugene (Josh McDermitt) has started to prove his worth, figuring out how to manufacture bullets for the group. Rosita (Christian Serratos) was heartbroken after Abraham broke up with her, but is dealing with it. And Aaron (Ross Marquand) is also there.
Anything else I need to know?
Probably that Negan's kill is just the beginning. We're ramping up to one of the biggest storylines The Walking Dead has ever done, and given how intense last season was, you know they won't be slowing down anytime soon. From here on out, it's a lot less wandering around/wondering what life has become, and more epic action movie. Everything before Season 7 was just a prelude for the main event: welcome to pee pee pants city.
The Walking Dead returns to AMC on Sunday, October 23 at 9/8c.