The Walking Dead returns for the second half of Season 8 on Sunday, Feb. 25 with a batch of episodes that will conclude the war between Rick Grimes' (Andrew Lincoln) militia and the Saviors, led by charismatic madman Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan). As Season 8A ended, Rick and his people were in a bad spot, forced to retreat into the sewer beneath Alexandria to protect themselves from a Savior onslaught as Rick's son Carl (Chandler Riggs) slowly succumbed to a walker bite. The Kingdom had fallen, and the Hilltop was fortifying itself against an impending Savior attack as Maggie (Lauren Cohan) prepared herself to lead the militia's final stand.
This newly released key art (via Comicbook.com) drives home "The Last Stand" as a theme. One piece has that phrase emblazoned over Rick, Daryl (Norman Reedus) and Michonne (Danai Gurira) as they brandish their weapons on top of a pile of junkyard rubble (clearly, we haven't made our last trip to the Heap just yet) as zombie hands reach up to grab them.
The other piece teases the final showdown between Rick and Negan as the generals meet on a smoky battlefield.
AMC also released a detailed synopsis of what will be at stake when the series picks back up: Rick has to deal with one of his main motivations for living being taken from him, Maggie will face some impossible decisions that have to be made as a leader and Negan will have to deal with dissension in his ranks.
Here's the full synopsis.
All out war has had a devastating impact on every person involved. The communities themselves are fractured. Alexandria has been destroyed, the Hilltop finds themselves pinned, and the Kingdom is shattered — half of them dead, the other half controlled by the Saviors.
At the very center — Rick, having been distracted by the conflict, has just returned home to learn that Carl, who heroically shepherded the Alexandrians to safety during Negan's attack, has been bitten by a walker. Once his sole motivation in this otherwise stark existence, Rick is forced to deal with this reality. Carl has always been a beacon of hope, a symbol for the remaining thread of humanity — lessons that the survivors around him would be wise to take with them as this war surges onward.
But Rick isn't the only person who's living in peril. Aaron and Enid are in a dire situation at Oceanside — unclear if they're in friendly territory, or if they've just made new enemies. Father Gabriel will do his part in attempting to smuggle Dr. Carson safely back to the Hilltop and a pregnant Maggie is wrestling with the many moral gray areas that come with leadership during war. In a standoff with the Saviors, she must decide how to proceed with the dozens of POW lives she's currently in control of, as well as new complications that come with being a leader.
In addition to the war, Negan continues to deal with struggles within his ranks as workers, traitors, and others' thirst for power cause conflict at the Sanctuary. Having gifted the Saviors a major victory, Eugene's loyalty is repeatedly tested as new obstacles present themselves.
As all-out-war consumes us, the line between good and evil continues to blur. People fighting for what they believe in. Everybody working together for something bigger — to feel safe and have a world worth living in.
Season 8B of The Walking Dead kicks off with a supersized midseason premiere Sunday, Feb. 25 at 9/8c on AMC.